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Thread: Pediatrician recommends 4 months

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2016

    Default Pediatrician recommends 4 months

    I'm a FTM with a 16 week old girl. Our pediatrician recommends introducing solids at 4 months. I didn't question it when it came up because it was just mentioned in passing at the 3 month well visit and I also wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. After doing some reading I'm leaning towards 6 months. I know 4 months is pretty common among pediatricians and was wondering if anyone had any information on why they want you to start early. Has anyone gotten this recommendation from a pediatrician who explained why they should do it? Is there any medical benefits or reasons that could merit starting at 4 instead of 6? I like my pediatrician but I want to understand and make a good decision instead of just taking their advice without thought.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Pediatrician recommends 4 months

    There is no benefit or reason to start solids at 4 months. 6 months is the current recommendation from the AAP. Currently they say "Introduce solid foods around 6 months of age." I will link to those recommendations below.

    Some babies are ready for solids a little earlier than 6 months, and many do not start them until later than that. There are signs of readiness you can learn and look for, but there is no proven benefit to starting solids earlier than 6 months that I am aware of and there is no rush! Like all developmental readiness things there is a wide range of normal. But 4 months is very early, and babies this age are usually not ready for solids as they cannot even sit up unassisted and their gag reflex is still strongly intact (hence the invention of pureed jarred "baby foods" that usually have a low calorie, low nutrition, and high water content - a child that starts solids when they are ready does not need to be fed liquefied "solids" that they drink rather than eat.

    4 months is an outdated recommendation that came into being for complicated reasons when recommendations assumed all babies were formula fed. (And it is not even correct for formula fed babies.) Even as recently as 2011 the AAP said to start solids "between 4 and 6 months." So you can see how a doctor might just be repeating the old recommendations. I had to tell my kid's pediatrician that while he was a telling me (and presumably everyone else) to start around 6 months and start slow, the outdated handout I was getting at the end of the appointment was saying start at 4 months and specifying to start with 3 meals a day! Which was also wrong, in case you are wondering. There is no agreed upon precise rate or timeline in which to start solids, but it is generally agreed that they start slowly and gradually in order to protect the breastfeeding relationship and to ensure baby's entire system is handling them ok. Jumping right to 3 meals a day is not slow or gradual.

    You can still like your pediatrician and not agree with everything they say!

    If you really want to delve into feeding recommendations and how they differ from what the known facts actually tell us, I suggest the book My Child Won't Eat. Eye opening!

    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 10th, 2017 at 01:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Pediatrician recommends 4 months

    with all the above.

    One thing that really gets ignored at most well-baby visits is what "introducing" solids means in terms of amount and frequency. Many parents assume that it means that you sit baby down 3 times a day and feed them a meal consisting of all or most of one of those jars of puréed baby food. But that isn't what it means! When you're introducing a breastfed baby to solids, you are generally aiming to start very small. A teaspoon of two of solid food, offered once per day, is plenty for most babies at around 6 months. As time goes on, the baby will indicate readiness for more. But there's no need to force the transition to solids- until a year, breastmilk or formula alone are sufficient to meet all the baby's nutritional needs. And if you get advice or a handout suggesting that your baby "should" be eating more solids, remember that the assumption is that all moms are desperate to wean by 12 months, and hurrying the transition to a majority solid food diet makes that easier. If you aren't planning to wean that early, there's no need to push solids. You can just let your child discover them at her own pace!

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