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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

What Is the Right Age for Babies to Start Eating Solid Foods?

{Image Credit: iStock}

Parenting isn’t easy and comes with something new to learn every day — especially for first timers. But as the battle for effective parenting continues in a world that provides an abundant informative morsels in nanoseconds, a new study suggests many are feeding their babies the wrong way.

While spooning up the first mouthfuls of baby food to a growing infant is important, new research published by the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietics suggests that many babies before the age of six months in the U.S. are being introduced to complementary foods too early in their life.

The study outlines the significance of introducing babies to solid foods at the right time to guarantee they benefit as much as possible from the nutrients found in breast milk or infant 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,” lead investigator Chloe M. Barrera, MPH, of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said in a statement. “Conversely, introducing them to complementary foods too late has been associated with micronutrient deficiencies, allergies, and poorer diets later in life.”

The World Health Organization, along with The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend parents wait six months before feeding their babies anything other than breast milk or formula. Babies who are breastfed for at least six months not only develop healthier immune systems, but are less likely to be overweight or develop type 2 diabetes. Moreover, research suggests many will also grow up to develop higher IQs.

In the study published earlier this month, researchers found more than half of the 1,400 babies observed (54.6 percent) between the ages of 6 months to 3 years, were given food or drinks other than breast milk or infant formula too early, which included solids such as cow’s milk, juice, sugar water or baby food. The early introduction of these foods and their nutrients are particularly important during an infant’s early development.

The study went on to highlight babies never breastfed or who were breastfed for less than four months are most likely to be introduced to complementary foods too early. Results showed that only a third of the babies (32.5 percent) were introduced to solid food at around six months, in line with recommendations.

According to the study, it was reported complementary foods were given to 16.3 percent of babies before four months, 38.3 percent of babies at four months and 12.9 percent of infants at seven months or older.

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