Is it ever too late to introduce solid foods to a baby?

Is it ever too late to introduce solid foods to a baby? 2017-04-07T01:55:13+00:00

clockThere are two reasons why babies can indeed be introduced to solids “too late” (the term “late” here means later than 6 months of age):

  • Allergies:   Since 2007, several clinical studies have pointed to the possibility that the late introduction of solid foods might increase the risk of allergies both to foods and to airborne substances such as pollen. While the research in this area is not yet settled, risking food allergies is one reason not to wait longer than approximately 6 months to introduce solids.
  • Iron Requirements:  Babies are born with iron stored in their bodies.  Somewhere between 6 and 8 months of age, a baby’s iron stores will begin to gradually deplete and leave her at risk for iron deficient anemia.  While iron will not completely and totally disappear from your baby’s body, (leaving your baby with no iron) her iron levels may fall significantly.  Waiting too long to introduce baby to solid foods may put baby at risk of inadequate iron intake.

You may have heard that there is a “window of opportunity” for a baby to learn how to chew and eat solid foods.  But this is more myth than fact.  There is NO evidence that babies who are started relatively late on solids have any trouble learning to chew and swallow.  When your baby is ready, she will eat!  If a baby has reached the age of 7-8 months and continues to have absolutely no interest in eating solid foods, you should consult with your pediatrician as there may be developmental or other issues going on.