Onward and upward! writes:
"As a new mom, I am often questioning little details of raising my son. The vast amount of information and opinions available on the Internet just seem to make it worse.
For example, he's having trouble with constipation (despite breast milk and trying just about every formula out there), so I started him on pureed veggies and fruits, hoping it would create looser stools. It hasn't made a difference so far. But then I go and read an article in the BBC news that says skip pureed foods altogether, and only give them solid foods after about six months or so. The premise is that your baby needs to learn how to chew first, and only after he is ready to do so; and pureed foods can leave them constipated AND postpone their ability to learn to chew. Huh. What do you think?"
Veeery interesting. And, yes, there's definitely too much information on the internet. If you click away now I won't be insulted.
First of all, before we get to the actual topic, are you absolutely sure it's constipation? Many babies (especially breastfed ones) don't poop every day, and some can go for days without pooping, and this is absolutely normal. If they have gas and strain to fart it can look like constipation, but the key is to check the consistency. As long as the poop (I'm not going to call it "stool," people) is soft and a normal color (not hard or black), it's not constipation.
Now to the article: I don't think any of this is that
shocking. Even the most recent recommendation from the AAP
Association Academy [thanks for catching that perhaps not-so-surprising typo, Sarah] of Pediatrics, with whom I have a one-way
"eh"-hate relationship) is not to start food until six months. Before
that there's really no need for it (barring feeding problems like GERD)
and milk or formula has all the nutrition they need. There's a reason
babies that young can't chew, and it's because they're supposed to be
getting their nutrition in liquid form. There's also some thought now
that introducing carbohydrates (rice cereal, etc.) too early can mess
with babies' systems so they don't regulate insulin as well and are
more prone to developing diabetes later on.
So the recommendation not to start with solids until 6 months isn't making me take any particular notice.
Some of you are aware that my favorite study is about a baby-led approach to starting solids. That study was written by Gill Rapley, the same health visitor (I love that term--it just seems so civilized, like she just pops 'round for a chat and a cup of tea) who's mentioned in the BBC.com piece. If you haven't read the study yet, you should check it out because it's pretty interesting. They looked at what happened when babies were allowed to shove food into their own mouths on their own schedules, and what they discovered was that most babies actually started swallowing it at around 6 months, which seems to indicate that they know how to control their own intake for what their bodies need. This article also suggests that babies choke less when they control big chunks with their teeth and tongues than when they have purees shoved to the back of their mouths.
So a little autonomy with feeding themselves sounds like it's helpful. It's certainly less work for the parents than having to mash and mix and puree and then hope to shove it in. And it makes sense that if they don't get practice chewing they won't chew as early as they will if they get to practice it.
Does anyone else have opinions about whether or not feeding purees makes kids picky eaters? My only experience is with my two, and the one I fed pureed foods to eats nothing, while the one I tossed huge chunks of stuff to eats everything. But the second one is only 2, so there's plenty of time for him to stop eating over the next few years. What have you guys observed?