Infant Eating

Updated on November 27, 2007
D.O. asks from Saint Paul, MN
36 answers

Hi i am a new mom and my daughter is 2 months i was just wondering when all you other moms out there started feeding your babies cereal and the little gerber food. The doctor said to wait til she is 6 months to even start the rice ereal but i think that it rediculous. Any moms out there have any advice for me..

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M.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

I've read that the intestines really aren't ready for this until 5-6 months. Starting too early could cause intestinal problems later in life. A search on google of when to start solid foods and intestine will give you info about it. Babies really don't need more than milk and study after study shows it really doesn't help them sleep through the night anyway.

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L.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

It's healthy to question doctors, but in this case, she is absolutely correct. Wait till six months.

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Research is showing that the ideal window is between 4 and 6 months. Before or after that and they are more likely to develop diabetes and other health issues. I waited until my son gave overwhelming signs that he wanted to try solid foods (around 4.5 months for him). This varies greatly child to child. If you are breastfeeding, all adding solids does is make their poo stinky. A lot of people believe eating solids help kids sleep through the night but I believe it to be baloney. A child will sleep through the night when they are developmentally ready. My son was only breastfed and he slept through the night (10pm-7am) from 4 weeks on.

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K.W.

answers from Sheboygan on

Babies do not have the digestive enzymes to utilize food until about the time they can sit up by themselves. Therefore, feeding them food means they won't get the nutrition they need, and you are wasting money as the food basically goes right through them.
But the main reason for not giving an infant food other than mother's milk for the first 6 months is that their gut isn't 'sealed' yet. Things that have larger molecules than mother's milk can pass through the gut, and the baby's immature system basically targets those substances and you end up with food allergies. This is why we have so many deadly food allergies in children: they are exposed to the top food allergies when their bodies are not equipped to deal with them.
Dr.Linda Palmer has a great book that discusses food allergies in babies (among other things). http://www.babyreference.com/
Your doctor is right. Giving your baby solids before 6 months could cause so many problems you just don't want to subject your poor baby to.
I'll be giving a free presentation on HypnoBirthing at the Center for Spirituality and Healing in July, as well as a class on the Spiritituality of Birth and early parenting with a viewing of some fabulous films. see www.fcsh.org or the calendar on my website at wwww.kimwildner.com for more info. In both of these presentations, I touch on Nature's plan for birth and early parenting (birth to 3 years).
K. Wildner
[email protected]____.com

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C.K.

answers from Madison on

Everybody seems to be responding to your question about cereal, so I will respond about Gerber. Screw Gerber. If you're a SAHM, make all your baby's food from scratch. I did that working full-time. Not only will it save you money, but it is better for baby. All Gerber does is grind the food up small and put it in cute little jars with added preservatives. If anyone should understand the health benefits of doing this, I would think it's someone who runs a wellness business.

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K.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

I totally agree with Stephanie H's post and totally DISAGREE with what Joy C. had to say. There is a reason why your ped suggested you wait til 6 months. We waited until our twins were 6 months and have had no digestion or allergy problems - now 9 months old.

The digestive tracts of children are not fully developed when they are born, and it takes time for development to complete. If your into health and wellness you should check out the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on feeding. Their advise is based on research - not mood, wives' tales, or convenience. There is also research indicating that children who are introduced to solids at a very early age are also at higher risk of weight problems - which I'm sure is of concern to you.

Trust your ped. He/She knows what rules can and cannot be bent.

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T.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I tried a little at 4+ months, then I waited until 6 months and my daughter still wasn't ready. She would spit it back out (they have a natural reflex) and puke if I got some down until about 6 1/2 - 7 months really. They don't want you to introduce cereal until 6 months so they don't form allergies. They should be exclusively breastfed (or formula) until they are 6 months unless they have weight gain issues and the doctor tells you you need to. I did a lot of reading on this matter when we were gettiong close to that point.

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J.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

There is a good reason why the dr suggested you wait. Science is finding out that babies little tummys can't handle solids before than, they could have a increased risk of food alergies if you start to early, and they have also noticed an increase for obisity. Plus, babies only need the nutrients that are found in breastmilk and/or formula for thier first year of life. So, introducing solids is more for practicing. I would follow your peditrians suggestion... afterall, he's the professional! My ped said we could start at 4 months, but I'd like to let my baby be a baby, and he's not really ready for it either!

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K.

answers from Madison on

I started my son on rice cereal at 4 mo. He loved it from the start, but he hasn't slept through the night since! I'm sure they're non-related, but don't let anyone convince you food will make your baby sleep better. It wasn't the case for us.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

My doctor said I can start rice cereal at 4 months and to feed her that until she's 6 months old and then I can switch her to other cereals and fruits & veggies. I did the same thing with my son and he's 3 years old now. If you have allergies in your family they recommend waiting until 6 months to introduce anything. Since we have no allergies in the family we are planning to start my daughter on cereal next month when she's 4 months old.

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C.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

D.,
The doctor is right...I know it seems weird, I thought so too, but milk is all the need right now.
Good Luck!
C.

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A.M.

answers from La Crosse on

I have to agree with the other moms, two months is probably too young to start cereal. We waited until almost 6 months to start cereal or anything else -- food allergies on both sides of our family. I know right now it sounds like a lot of fun to "feed" your daughter, but believe me, you will miss the days of easy bottles or nursing! lol my son is 9 mos. and feeding him is a real chore some days. Personally I would wait as long as possible. My son showed every sign of being ready to eat, but he didn't like the cereal and he had a difficult time eating right away, so I'm glad I wasn't wasting my energy even earlier. At his 6 mos. appt. the doctor told me if he wasn't eating well, i should just let it go for a week and try again later. I did, and it worked, and now he eats like a horse. Oh, and the rice cereal can be really binding, we basically skipped over it and went right into pureed veggies and fruits. Now he can eat rice cereal, but at 6 mos. his guts just _hated_ it. Wait as long as you can, and good luck!

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A.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

The best thing to do is go by what your little girl is needing. I started my Son on rice cereal when he was 4 months old, because he was going through bottle like crazy. So, I would say that if she is starting to go through bottles like crazy then you could start her on rice cereal. But I would hold off on the Garber foods until she is 6 months. But the rice cereal should be okay at 4 months.

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

All she needs is breastmilk until she is closer to 6 months old. I wouldn't do gerber food at all, I made all our baby food so I knew what was in it, it was pure fruit or veggie, no additives or preservatives. www.wholesomebabyfood.com is a great site. Rice cereal is a binder, so it could cause major constipation and gas, and irritable baby. Its not worth the future possible consquences of allergies, obesity, to start solids this early.

8 weeks is much too young for solids.

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Our doctor said to go ahead and start rice cereal at 4 months. My son did fine with that. She then had us start the baby food at 6 months. Slowly adding a new one after 4 or so days. Once again, he did great with that. He remains a good eater even today, at 2 years. Unless there is some specific reason your daughter should not start rice, most guidelines have them start at 4 months followed by baby food at 6. It worked great for us.

Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Introducing solids earlier than 6 months has shown to increase the likelihood of food allergies. They've also discovered that the stomach is too immature before 6 months to properly digest the food. That means that the cereal will take up space in your babies belly but not give her the nutrition she needs. I'd recommend listening to your doctor and not introducing solids before 6 months.

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L.R.

answers from Appleton on

Actually, your dr. is correct. The recommendation is to not start cereal etc. until 6 months. We started our daughter on oatmeal cereal at 5 1/2 months. (We skipped rice cereal as there are a few studies that indicate it could lead to diabetes later in life). I would definitely wait until at least 4 months for cereal and maybe even 6 months for the gerber foods.

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J.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter was growing a lot on the formula so my doctor recommened that I start the rice cereal at 4 months. At 4 1/2 I switched to oatmeal, because she wasn't taking the rice cereal, and then a 6 months I started veggies.

Doctor's recommend waiting until 6 months for most baby's because of their digestive maturity. I know our parents started us on cereal at 2 or three months, but keep in mind that a lot of other things they did have been disproven now. I would go with what the Dr says, no need to rush into anything. Enjoy the simple days of breast milk or formula only while you can.

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K.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I started Rice cereal with both of my children when they were 3 months old and then started the baby food (mixed in w/ the baby cereal) at 4 months old. Some say its too early but really it all depends on the CHILD. Both my kids were ready at 3 months old for rice cereal your's may not. My friend still can't get her 6 mth old to eat rice cereal so it just depends on the child.

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T.K.

answers from Green Bay on

This was one of the questions that I wasn't sure of for quite some time. When my daughter was first born, most of what I had read/researched said to wait until 6 months at LEAST. I read that you should breastfeed exclusively (which means NO water, NO juice, NO baby cereal, NO baby foods) until at LEAST 6 months old. After looking into it even more as my daughter became older, I found out that the Le Leache League recommends waiting on solids until 8-10 months old, and NONE of the research I had done had shown ANY benefits of starting solids early. Everything that I read said that the earlier you start solids, the more likely your child will have allergies, etc. Then I started taking my daughter to a naturopathic/holistic chiropractor in the area, and I discussed this solid food issue with him. He told me that in his opinion, parents should wait until their children have 6-8 teeth, or are about 1 year old before introducing solids. His reasoning was that until children have 6-8 teeth, they also do not have the correct enzymes to break food down in their mouths so that it is easily digestable. He said that babies have what is called a "leaky gut," which means that there are holes in their gut, and if you feed them solid foods, the solids go through those holes because of how permeable their digestive tract is, and that makes the body produce antibodies to the foods they were exposed to, causing an allergy.

Nothing that I have ever read has shown any benefit to starting solids too early, so my advice would be to wait until your child has 6-8 teeth or is about a year old. My daughter is almost 8 months and is not eating solids, and she is growing just perfectly. Solid food is not meant to help the baby "grow" before they are one year old, especially becase breastmilk has many more calories per ounce than solid foods have.

Good luck.

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S.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

you really sho uld wait till about 5 months.. the reason the doctors say that is because the infants can develop a food alergy if fed to soon. they will take this with them for years can also irritate their bellies.. i neve waited that long but i did wait till at least 4 and half months old when ur child can start sitting up a small amount on his/herown and and can visibly move mouth more than a su cking movement. good luck! ps. if you ask ur dr. why wait hell tell u the same lol

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A.S.

answers from Rochester on

Both of my children where on rice cereal at 3 weeks old cause they were eating multiple 8 oz bottles a day. SO I mixed a little cereal with formula and fed it to them in a feeder bottle. They went down to four ounce bottles and they were less cranky cause they were full and happy. I didn't start them on cereal in a bowl till 5 months when they had mastered keeping the food in there mouths and not push it out with there tongue.

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R.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

We started our daughter on rice cereal at 4 months, and she was really ready for it. We started fruits at about 5 months. I think you probably can wait until 6 months, but I think that's a little overboard. Our pediatrician said 4 months was great. So I think you should just take cues from your baby - if she's interested in your food and you think she's ready, go for it!

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M.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would follow your pedi's advice and wait. Generally speaking babies are not ready for solids before 4-6 months, and the recommendation to wait until closer to 6 months is to avoid potential allergies, sensitivities, and general intolerance. A baby can end up with a serious belly ache if given solids too early (which would make both you and dc miserable). And allergies and sensitivities are awful to deal with.

That said, my DS started getting cereal in his bottles at 3 months because of his reflux. I would never recommend that for a baby who doesn't have reflux though. It's not necessary for babies without that condition, and doesn't add any nutrition - just empty calories.

We started DS on solids (veggies and fruit) at 4 months of age, BUT he met the developmental milestones for solids, and also was rediculously hungry. He could sit independently, was making chewing motions while watching us eat, and showed other signs of interest. He was also drinking 40 oz of formula per every 24 hour period with 40 tsp of rice cereal added to that. So we felt that the fruits and veggies were a better nutritional option than the serious quantities of formula and cereal.

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C.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

Reading some of the advice of the other mothers concerns me, but I think both my kids started on cereal and the gerber/baby fruits and veggies around 4 months of age, and as far as I can tell they are both fine for the most part. Any issues they might have, I don't know if it was from the fruits, veggies, and/or cereal. I'd say to wait until at least 4 months unless your doctor tells you otherwise. It may not be necessary to wait until 6 months, but it may not hurt either.

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J.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I started cereal around 5 months and fruit around 6 months. I know lots of moms start cereal around 4 months but I decided to wait a little longer.
Did you ask your doctor why 6 months? It could be because your doctor is worried about food allergies or your child's digestive system. I have heard of research that waiting longer to introduce cereal etc. can help with those issues.

J.-mom of a 2 year old boy

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I went by my own instincts... On Thanksgiving my dd was 3.5 mos old and had mashed potatoes.

I think I started the rice cereal around 3mos. It's all about each baby. My baby was just always hungry and seemed to need more.

Now I tried regular milk straight at 10mos.(ran out of formula at a friends house) and she didn't digest it at all and got sick.At 11mos. I tried regular milk with her formula like 75%formula 25% milk and she handeled it just fine. By one year she was on straight milk.

I've worked in daycare and have seen some parents not give their kids even babyfood til one year and I've seen some 4mos. olds eating spaghetti.I've seen infants everywhere I go licking their parents icecream cone etc. Technically they donot NEED anything other than formula for the first year.

Just go by your instincts and try a little at first if no bad reactions the next day try some more. 2mos. may be a bit early may not.

They say not to introduce honey,peanut butter stuff like that til after one year to avoid allergies. I never had any problems with that either.

Good Luck!

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S.C.

answers from Green Bay on

My doctor told me to start my daughter with rice cereal at 4 months and then to go slowly through the stage one fruits and vegetables (no combos or meat until 6 mo). If there was no allergic reaction at the rice cereal, then to work our way through the other cereals (rice is the least one to cause an allergic reaction). I wouldn't advise you to giver her cereal until at least 4 months or until she can sit supported in a high chair, be able to hold her head up, and can swallow watered down cereal.

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M.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I tried cereal with my older son at 4 months but he wasn't ready yet so I stopped and started again at 5 months. I started him on baby food around 6 months. I have a 4 month old now that was just at the doctor for his 4 month check up and I was told I could try cereal anytime between now and 6 months. I'll probably wait until 5 months or so with him, too.

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E.N.

answers from San Francisco on

I started my son on cereal, and then mashed avocados and bananas when he was about 5 1/2 months. I planned to wait until six months, but he was nursing so frequently that I needed a tiny break. At first, he only ate about 2-5 oz. of the food one time per day.

Unfortunately, like many babies, the additional food triggered an acid reflux problem in my son that we had to medicate. After a few weeks it calmed down and now at 10 he eats like a horse, but I am glad that I waited to give him solids. He grew like a weed with just his breastmilk.

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N.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

It looks like a lot of Moms are saying you should wait until closer to 6 months.

I disagree.

I think you should start with cereal any time after 4 mo. that you little ones seems ready. We started with a couple of tbsp. of rice cereal just at dinner time when our son was 4 mo. He LOVED it right from the start and did not spit it back out. We slowly increased the amount and then added a second feeding in the morning. We also started alternating between rice cereal and baby oatmeal. -- Our son prefered the banana kind.

We started introducing fruits and veggies around 5 - 5.5 months and also added a lunch feeding.

Now at 8 mo. our son eats 1/2 cup baby oatmeal and dry cheerios for breakfast / 7 oz. breast milk bottle before morning nap / 1 - 2 big containers of fruits or veggies plus finger food for lunch / another 7 oz. bottle before afternoon nap / same for dinner as lunch / and finally another 7 oz. bottle before bed.

Many people talked about the baby not getting enough nutrition with the addition of cereal, but our son continued to get his bottles and we mixed the cereal with breastmilk. Plus he REALLY seemed to like eating.

When we started our son with cereal, I had a few other Moms tell me what I was doing was wrong. But our son is still very healthy and happy. He has not had ANY problems with constipation or rashes or other food sensitivities and he is growing like a weed and has TONS of energy. He also sleeps pretty well through the night (although we did have to do some sleep training).

Sorry, for such a long posting. But I wanted to pass on the advice my Mom gave me....Don't trust everything you read in the baby books and every doctor has different ideas about what is right for children. Trust yourself and your Mama skills. You'll know if something is not right for your child.

Take care.

--N.

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K.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

My pediatrician leans towards more "natural" tendencies like encouraging breastfeeding, has the lowest ceserean rate in the Twin Cities, teaches NFP in her clinic...yet she says to start rice cereal at 4 months, fruits and such at 5-6, cut up foods at 7 months and to be done with babyfood at 9 months all together. We are doing this with our baby (8 months) and she is very happy! It has also reduced her reflux problem. My best advice would be go with your instinct! You'll know if your baby is ready. If he/she responds to babyfood, go for it! My daughter didn't right away so I waited a couple of weeks and tried again. You'll know.

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L.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hello there! I was told by my pediatrician, that if baby is giving signs they're ready to try some food (holding head up well on own, looking interested at what your doing, or mouthing your chewing, etc...) , you can start it as early as 4 months...we did, but i think we were a week or 2 too early - also, it takes baby a bit to get used to solids, so when you do start, do it gradually maybe only supplement one feeding for a day or two, then use the cereal at two of the feedings for a day or two etc... then, after about 2 weeks (or depending on how baby is doing with the cereal) start to add the veggies and fruit into the cereal - maybe like a 3rd or 4th of a jar to start with...go slow/with baby's flow...but always remember when you introduce solids they are to SUPPLEMENT the milk....the breastmilk/formula will be baby's MAIN SOURCE of nutrition until about 10 months...my son is 8 months old now, and we have him drink the breastmilk first, then I mix 2 oz of my milk with some cereal and half a jar of food for his 3 meals...and at bedtime, he gets 8 oz of my milk. I hope this helps! Feel free to e-mail with more questions!

LRC

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J.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter's pediatrician indicated to me that it was ok to put a little rice cereal in her bottles at her 4 month check up. I had started doing this about a week or so before that appointment because I had to start getting her acclamated to it before I went back to work. I then started with a bit of cereal aside from the bottle about 4 weeks later and eventually baby foods (veggies first then fruits). It was something that we kept trying until she eventually got the hang of it.

Pediatricians opinions vary. Just remember, our parents didn't have the guidelines that we have today and we turned out fine.

Good luck!!
J.

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M.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

The reason your doctor recommends this is because your child's digestive system is immature. Waiting is fine. Babies get what they need from breastmilk (or formula).

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M.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I started my first DD on cereal at 4 months but I stopped after a few days because I didn't think she was doing well. I waited until 5 months. My second I started at 5 months. At her 6 month check up my doctor told me to scrap baby food and start table food. She choked on a graham cracker so back to baby food I went. At 7 months I started very small on table foods. She's 8 months and on stage 3 foods and eating puffs. I'd wait until 5 months for baby food but I think at 4 months if you wanted to try cereal try it. I think a super watered down version would be fine. JMO

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