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Most Parents Give Babies Solid Food Too Soon, Study Finds

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Any parent knows it can be difficult to feed a baby sometimes. From refusing to eat to causing a huge mess in the kitchen, babies can be an (adorable) handful in this arena. But there's one thing health experts want all parents to keep in mind when feeding their little bundles of joy: Be sure you don't feed them solid food too early.

A new study, published in the <a target="blank" href="http://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(17)31734-3/fulltext">Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics_, found that more than half of 1,482 babies were introduced to solid food before they turned 6 months old. As it turns out, top health experts recommend that parents should wait until their children hit the 6-month mark before trying to feed them solid — also known as complementary — foods. Only one-third of babies in the study got introduced to the solid foods at the proper recommended time.

The study also found that babies who never breastfed or only did breastfeeding for less than four months were more likely to be introduced to the solid foods too soon. But regardless of whether moms choose to feed their infants breastmilk or formula, the researchers are emphasizing the importance of waiting until the time is right for their babies to eat anything that isn't breastmilk or formula.

"Introducing babies to complementary foods too early can cause them to miss out on important nutrients that come from breast milk and infant formula. Conversely, introducing them to complementary foods too late has been associated with micronutrient deficiencies, allergies, and poorer diets later in life," said lead investigator Chloe M. Barrera, MPH.

What do you think about the study? When did you give your children solid food for the first time? Would you do it differently today?

h/t Science Daily

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