Introducing New Food to your Little One
As mammals first thing human beings eat during the first months of life is milk, ideally maternal milk even when due to different causes it's not always that way and formulas are used instead of breastfeeding; but at the end, regardless the source, the only food we are able to properly digest during the first months of life is milk.
Despite the aforementioned, moms, dads, aunts and grandfathers seem to be in rush to give the little ones all kind of stuff, something like "taste as much as you can as fast as you are able too!" But, why? There's a whole life ahead to taste new flavors and experiment with all kind of feed, let time to do its job.
The reason behind such suggestion it's not merely a medical indication or a fancy whim, but a scientifically proven fact.
During the first 6 months of life human digestive system is not mature enough to process much of feed, in fact, it's able to properly digest only milk and it was said above, ideally human milk, thus trying to introduce nutriments other than milk may result futile because much of the nutrients will be lost and even worse, it could be associated to complications.
Premature introduction of food different from milk is a major concern because besides improper nutrition issues, there are also medical complications which jeopardizes baby's health.
The first problem is related to constipation. While much of fibers and other components are not properly digested and almost all water is absorbed, feces become more dense and strong than a still immature intestine may handle, leading to constipation problems, additionally time to time, slowly bowel transit may be associated with gastric chamber emptying ralentizacion leads to reflux and increasing the risk of bronchoaspiration.
On the other hand there are critical immunologic issues associated with improper introduction of feed different from milk before the sixth month of life. Most of such issues are the development of food allergies as well other immunoallergic diseases such as asthma and atopic dermatitis.
With all the above in mind, it does not seem a good idea to move forward with food other than milk before the 6th month of life, in fact, according to WHO guidelines, a baby from 0 days up to 6 months needs nothing else than milk to survive; neither extra water is required! Of course there are exceptions but on such cases proper medical advice is required.
After the 6th month it's time to introduce new food on the diet, not only because the digestive system is mature enough but also because the caloric intake provided by breastfeeding (or formula) is not enough to cover the lactant's requirements.
At this point, it's important to be clear that your little one has a whole life ahead to taste flavors and all kind of feed, hence, take it slowly the first six months in order to avoid complications, you may have for sure that you will have time enough afterwards to experiments all kind of flavors with your little ones.
Regarding how to introduce new nourishment sources after the 6th month, keep online since we will give you a detailed explanation on the next post.