Earlier Solid Foods for Children - Safe or Not?

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AllergyI found two articles who contradict each other.

One is saying:

"Giving solid food to infants less than six months old is not advisable as it may lead to the risk of food allergies later and new moms should rather breastfeed them exclusively, scientists say.

Solid foods of all types should be avoided for the first six months, and certain items like cow's milk, eggs, fish, and nuts should not be introduced until even later, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)."

And another claims that

feeding the babies on cereals in the earlier part may be helpful to overcome the food allergies.

Read more and decide for yourself..


Solid Food May Put Infants at Allergy Risk, IANS, 1 Aug 2006

Giving solid food to infants less than six months old is not advisable as it may lead to the risk of food allergies later and new moms should rather breastfeed them exclusively, scientists say.

Solid foods of all types should be avoided for the first six months, and certain items like cow's milk, eggs, fish, and nuts should not be introduced until even later, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), reported online edition of health magazine WebMD.

New moms should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months to help protect their babies against developing food allergies later on, the ACAAI said.

"It is important to understand that we are talking about exclusive breastfeeding, with no formula, soy or anything else," researcher Amal Assa'ad was quoted as saying. "This appears to be important for protecting against allergies."

An ACAAI committee came up with its recommendations after reviewing the available clinical evidence. Its 'consensus statement' on the matter is published in July's Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, published by the ACAAI.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed by gradual introduction of solid foods.

The researchers, however, added that some infants and mothers with certain medical conditions or who are undergoing certain medical treatments should not seek alternatives to breastfeeding.

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Earlier Introduction of Solid Foods in Infants Could Prevent Wheat Allergy, Newswise, 7 Jun 2006

According to the medical parlance it has become mandatory for the doctors to recommend the mothers of newborns to feed them exclusively on breast milk alone for the first six months, excluding any solid foods. But that notion has now been strongly challenged by a new study, saying that feeding the babies on cereals in the earlier part may be helpful to overcome the food allergies.

Jill Poole, M.D., assistant professor in the pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy section of the department of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is lead author of the Pediatrics study, 'Timing of Initial Exposure to Cereal Grains and the Risk of Wheat Allergy.'

The issue of when to introduce solid foods to infants is controversial, partly because the American Academy of Pediatrics currently has not just one, but two recommendations. The academy’s Committee on Nutrition suggests giving infants cereal some time between 4 and 6 months of age. But the AAP Committee on Breastfeeding advises parents not to give babies solid food until after they’re 6 months old. This advice is partly based on earlier studies that concluded infants who were given solid food in the first few months of life had a higher incidence of developing allergies.

But that may not be true, said Dr. Poole, who analyzed allergy outcomes in 1,612 Colorado children when she was at the University of Colorado. Sixteen of the children developed allergies to wheat. Four of the children were introduced to cereal before they were 6 months old, and 12 of the babies ate their first solid food after they were 6 months old.

The University of Colorado’s Jill Norris, Ph.D., who organized the group of children studied, is senior author of the study.

After Dr. Poole and colleagues factored in family history of allergies and other possible influences, she said: “We found the odds striking – almost four times as many babies in the group, which delayed introduction of solid food until after they were 6 months old, got wheat allergies.”

Dr. Poole said a growing number of parents are waiting even beyond 6 months to give their babies cereal, in an effort to prevent food allergies. While further studies are needed to prove a connection between higher incidence of wheat allergy and delaying solid food introduction, Dr. Poole said that waiting may not be beneficial, and may, in fact, be harmful.

'In addition to our study, other retrospective studies in Europe also suggest that delaying solid food introduction in an infant's diet may not be beneficial,' she said.

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