I believe in feeding babies solids before 6 months

I read an article recently that at last said what I have been shouting from the roof tops for 50 years:
Opinion

I read an article recently that at last said what I have been shouting from the roof tops for 50 years: “You can feed your baby solids before six months”. Yes, and the misguided nurses and baby clinics were wrong! I was pleased that at least I had been proved right. I decided in my innocence to do what felt right. I had no family close by, in fact most were 12,000 miles away, when I brought my first baby home; no close friends to pop in to ask, I was alone on a new housing estate outside of Auckland. In the days when communication was not very good, in fact mostly non-existent! I had to just learn the hard way. I did feed my baby myself, and at first it was a tough battle, but I learned.

So what would the experts have advocated? Nothing but breast milk for nine months? People followed this like sheep. Babies had just this bland diet for almost a year. Now we have a whole generation of children with no immunity and swag of allergies.

My method was more intuition and total desperation. I had hungry babies and for six months I managed to feed the first, and the next two for about six weeks. But I started feeding solids to supplement, small amounts of cereal at first, well diluted. I started when Kerry was about three or four months. I did the same with the others. I added vegetable and fruit puree, and later eggs and cheese even. Kerry was a poor feeder so she ran around with a hunk of cheese and a piece of apple. As long as she ate something I was happy. The minced chicken and pumpkin I often wore! When she decided she didn’t feel like it.

A photo of my adult children will show none of them are overweight, none of them have allergies. It seems we have forgotten that children are like small animals. They need basic things; varieties in their diet, warmth, love and shelter. If they were in the wild they would eat meat, seeds berries and all manner of cereals to stay alive.  Yet we cut back and restrict them when they need variety to allow their bodies to get used to new things. Except for the really bad allergic reactions that result in severe trauma and are suffered by a small minority (especially those who have not had a varied diet from a few months old), most children if given tiny helping of new food will tolerate it.

I am really proud of the fact that all three of mine are able to run in marathons and keep fit and none of them smoke. Their weight is not an issue. Whatever I did and boy, I made some horrible mistakes sometimes, they are healthy. We just dealt with the usual childhood infections like chicken pox and mumps and the rough and tumble of a country childhood without serious problems, I feel I have been very lucky as I know some things that happen do so without any fault of the parents, some children are born with problems. Yet I still feel the slavishly adhering to stupid food fads and rigid diets is something we should question.

Does the person telling you to restrict your baby to just milk have children? Are those children healthy? Does the person telling you wheat and milk and cheese should not be allowed really have the knowledge and the expertise to advise you? It is too easy to be swayed by ‘popular’ opinion. Basic whole food, as close to natural as you can get, given in small amounts is still a common sense approach. Look back in the past, and remember we have all evolved and exist because our grandparents ate like that. To emulate their diet, grow or buy as much fresh food as you can. Keep away from the pre prepared gunk, or the fast food and follow your instinct not the “in’ crowd.

What do you think? Should babies have solids earlier in life than what’s recommended?

  1. I was the same had my children in London with no support around me – had to do by the seat of my pants. Had never been around babies as I was career orientated. I did the same as above by 4 – 5 months my boys were hungry all the time, I would feed them and they wanted something else an hour later. I started feeding runny solids and they settled down. They have no allergic reactions to anything, I even took advice to put a drop of fluroide in their milk once a day. They are now in mid 30’s no cavaties in their teeth, strong, healthy and slim and very tall and athletic.

  2. I was the same had my children in London with no support around me – had to do by the seat of my pants. Had never been around babies as I was career orientated. I did the same as above by 4 – 5 months my boys were hungry all the time, I would feed them and they wanted something else an hour later. I started feeding runny solids and they settled down. They have no allergic reactions to anything, I even took advice to put a drop of fluroide in their milk once a day. They are now in mid 30’s no cavaties in their teeth, strong, healthy and slim and very tall and athletic.

  3. My eldest is 51, and the youngest of 4 43. Still have all their Plunket Books,and all were put on solids at 8weeks.All are healthy individuals,no allergies ,asthma etc.Can’t imagine what they would have done if I had made them wait months for solids.Totally agree with the writer.

  4. Jacqueline O'Connor  

    Most babies will tolerate and thrive on adult food at a reasonably early age if it’s mashed or ground up properly and made moist. My son did. He was a hungry baby who came out of hospital on an 8oz bottle of milk not the usual 4oz (my own milk dried up in a few days). I had to supplement the milk at a couple of months with Rusks, then gradually introduces wet solids. As he grew older we found that a lot of other kids his age were really fussy with what they would eat, but not my son. He loved his meat and 3 or 4 veg, even things like sprouts. He’s now a healthy 6ft 42 yo.

  5. Margaret  

    We have three sons, 54, 52 and nearly 50. Lived in the country with limited access to health centres. As newborns they always seemed to be hungry so at around six weeks supplemented their breast feeding with baby cereal. They were much more content and were on mashed veges by about four or five months. Today they all love their tucker and are normal weights and over six foot in height. No allergies or health problems. All their children and grandchildren are allergy free and very healthy. The earlier babies are introduced to “normal” food the better.

  6. Joy Anne Bourke  

    I did the same but feed vegetables blended into a liquid and had to feed my daughter at 8weeks. She was hungry all the time, and not sleeping and waking every hour, tried baby food and spat back at me, but after one of the vegetables blended she slept a full 12 hours. After 8 weeks I was exhausted and no family near they were 12,000 miles away.

  7. Dorothy Dunshea  

    We had three sons, and two daughters all within 5 years. They are now 41 42,44, 45 46 years. As newborns they always seemed to be hungry so at around eight weeks supplemented their breast feeding with baby cereal. They were much more content and were on mashed veges by about four or five months. Today they all love their tucker and are normal weights and the boys are six foot and over in height. No allergies or health problems, we never went to the Doctor as they were never sick, except for the usual chickenpox, german measles… When older they all left home with perfect teeth, no fillings. All my twelve grandchildren are allergy free and very healthy. The earlier babies are introduced to “normal” food the better.

    • Jacqui Lee  

      So good to know our generation mostly got it right…We just tried to do what the babies needed. Yet a later generation were being told restrict it to just breast milk for nearly a year, so glad none of us did that. Happy healthy babies, healthy adults, Pat on the back ladies…we gave them normal food. Thank you for the endorsement.

  8. Suzanne Harris  

    I had two children – 16 months apart. First one I couldn’t satisfy with just milk, so clinic sister said to try him on cereal – very diluted. He thrived and was on solids every meal by 6 months. By the way he was only 6 weeks when he started. Second child, same clinic sister, Oh no we do not start solids before at least 6 months no matter what reason. I didn’t bother going back, and my kids both thrived. The sister was a spinster in her 50s with no children.

  9. I cannot agree with you, Jacqui. I have a strapping 40 year old….I was very lucky and breast feeding came easily to me. My son was exclusively breast fed for nine months, and HIS immune system was so good that it wiped out one of his vaccines, and got a very bad case of measles as an infant. Mothers milk provides the best immunity possible for your child.

  10. Melda Plenty  

    I gave my children rice cereal at three months and gradually gave vegetables and eventually meat. I was told that the idea was that by six months their main nutrition should come from the solids. I breast fed the younger ones longer than the older two (experience helps) and the youngest was still having one breast feed a day at 2 1/2 years.

  11. Valda Wright  

    All of my children reached out for solids as soon as they could see them it seemed and pulled them towards them like sucking on the foods the built up to nibble same with our grandchildren. Thank God they are all open to flavours of all kinds to try as well as extremely healthy. Our eldest son would pucker up mouth for the spoon when he saw me dishing out meals to taste even at three months and would smack his lips. Now he is so inventive with herbs and health glad I allowed him to lead me to what he wanted.

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