Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Solid foods and the breastfed baby: Why Delay? Part 1

     Most parents start getting excited around their child's 4th month air side because its "time" to start solid foods, but I am going to tell you why I dont even think about solid foods until baby is at least 6 months air side or older. A lot of research has come out recently stating that delaying the introduction of solid foods until at least 6 months or older is preferred to the old recommendation of 4-6 months. Most health organizations have updated their standards, but the vast majority of healthcare providers have not done so. There are a number of reasons why delaying is optimal, not just for the breastfed baby but as well as the formula fed baby. 

    1. Illness protection- When baby is getting less of moms milk baby is getting less antibodies from mom. 

     2. Gut maturity- An infants gut is rarely mature before 6 months of age. There are many reasons that support this, for example, protein digestion is incomplete during those months. The pancreatic enzyme amylase doesnt reach appropriate levels for digestion of starch until the age of 6 months and carbohydrate enzymes such as maltase, isomaltase, and sucrase do not reach adult levels until around 7 months. Infants have low bile salts and lipase until 6-9 months when they reach adult levels making fat digestion immature until that time. 

     3. Gut maturity continued: Allergic reactions- Infants also have what is known as an 'open gut'. The space between the cells in the small intestine easily allows nutrients and antibodies directly into the blood stream. Allow me to illustrate. Open gut- 0 0 0 Closed gut(after 4-6 months)- 000. The open gut is great at allowing the good stuff in, but it also lets in those whole proteins that could cause the body to react negatively. Exclusively breastfeeding at least until 6 months allows the breastmilk antibodies to coat the intestine and protect it passively until the gut closes reducing illness and the chance of allergic reactions. By 6 months the baby is producing the antibodies on its own, around the same time the gut closes. 

     4. Iron absorption and early solids- Studies are showing that introducing iron fortified foods and supplements early are reducing the absorption into the body. Healthy full-term infants who are exclusively breastfed for 6-9 months are able to maintain normal hemoglobin levels. Pisacane 1995 study shows babies who were EBF for 7 months and not given iron supplements or fortified foods had significantly higher levels at one year of age than breastfed babies who received solid food earlier than 7 months and concluded that EBF for 7 months reduced the risk on anemia.... I feel so lied to by doctors past because they told me my baby NEEDED the iron from the cereals because they would get enough from me... research begs to differ...

(info from Kellymom.com
When did you start solid foods with your baby?

Coming up: Part 2 and later... Infant cereals... Perfect first food or toxic concoction... 

Blessing for a joyous week

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