Babies: When should solids be introduced?

I am exclusively breastfeeding my 11-week-old daughter. She is already 11.5 pounds and has been gaining weight well. My parents and in-laws insist that we should begin feeding her solids around three months, but that seems early. When should I introduce rice cereal?

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should remain exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.

There is very good reason for this. Aside from all the benefits breastfeeding gives, what we know about infant nutrition is so much more than what we knew even five years ago. Breastmilk contains 100 percent of the nutrition necessary for infants for the first six months. It's not that other foods and cereals are bad for babies before six months, but they do not provide complete nutrition. So, by giving these foods before six months, essentially the 100 percent nutritive breastmilk is being substituted for food that contains less than total nutrition. In other words, it's just not as good for your baby as breastmilk.

Obviously, there are certain babies in which health or other circumstances would affect this recomendation. So, as always, it is best to discuss this with your pediatrician.

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