Hey Stupid Single Moms! Stop Feeding Your Infants Solids Before They Are Ready

shutterstock_39445345In a new study published today in the April issue of Pediatrics, 40% of moms started feeding babies  solid foods before the baby was four months of age. And that:

Mothers who introduced solid food before 4 months were more likely to be younger, unmarried, have less education or be participating in the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program.

OK, new study about introducing solid foods, you sound a little bit classist to me. I personally didn’t start any of my kids on solids until they were much, much older, because I wanted to breastfeed exclusively and I knew from my vast hours of research holding other  people’s babies that babies who ate solid foods had very horrible smelling diapers. I don’t know if moms who started their babies on solids did so because they were “uneducated” as this study suggests, and I think it has more to do with what other moms told them to do.  I know my own mother wanted me to start my kids on rice cereal right around four months, because that is what pediatricians suggested back in the day.That is what my own mother did when she had babies. I think a lot of women of a certain age were probably told the same thing by their own mothers. One really freaky finding in this study:

8% said they introduced solid food as early as 1 month or younger, including 11% who formula-fed only and 5% who breast-fed only.

Whaaaat? I can’t imagine anyone giving a baby who is younger than the expiration date on most yogurts solid foods. How does one even do that? I suppose putting cereal mixed with formula in a bottle but that just seems so young. Do moms really do that?

Although 56% of moms who introduced solids early said a medical provider recommended that their baby begin eating solid food early: “We don’t know actually what advice the health care provider gave. But at least this was the perception the parents got — that this was the time to begin solids,” says Scanlon.

I think I am having such a difficult time believing this because it is so beyond the realm of my own personal experiences. I know my own pediatrician just asked me how nursing was going at my four month checks and made sure my kids were gaining properly and told me to keep doing what I was doing. I didn’t even give them baby cereal until they were older than eight months. I think I was mainly worried that if I started giving them actual food they would stop nursing as often and mess up my milk supply. Plus, bad diapers.

I suppose it is possible that there are “unwed” moms out there with “less education” who are feeding babies solid foods or buying their 6-month-olds Happy Meals, but I have yet to see any moms I know doing so, or even starting baby food at that young of an age. Yeah, yeah, I don’t fall into that demographic, but I still find it surprising. I think this means the next time you moms with newborns take them into their checkups, most of your pediatricians will remind you not to start solids too early. I just thought most moms, regardless of education level and marital status, sorta knew this already.

(Photo: Marcel Jancovic/shutterstock)

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    • Melissa

      This actually isn’t that surprising a finding, and it’s not “classist” to suggest that there is an association with younger, unwed mothers with lower education and lower socioeconomic status. Like em or not, those are the statistics. The purpose of such a study is to not only identify which demographics are more likely to start solids too soon but also to figure out why and how to provide targeted education to prevent mothers in these demographics from starting solids too early. Studies have also been done that show that women in these demographics are more likely to put their babies to sleep in the prone position or on their sides instead of on their back, and one of the findings is that these women tend to come from cultural backgrounds where the advice of the older women in the family is more valued than the advice of a pediatrician. And that’s assuming that these women even have access to adequate pediatric care, which sadly many of them do not. It’s a bit naive to think that “most moms” should know this when the access to education and health care is so vastly different depending on what class you are in, and it’s studies like these that are necessary in order to identify those gaps and close them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

        Thank you! Just because a study identifies a socioeconomic correlation with a negative behavior doesn’t make it classist.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        see, I may just be reactionary but it felt so classist to me. Ha!

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I think it sounded classist to me as well. I don’t know why anyone would assume that the women were lying about what their pediatricians told them. Mine told me to start solids at 5 months with my oldest. I was only 19 but even then it sounded wrong to me, especially since I was nursing exclusively. I sought a second opinion that told me to wait but I could see a less confident woman following the first doctor’s instructions with no question.

        That was the part that sounded classist to me. I am okay with simply identifying a socioeconomic correlation but outwardly questioning what the subject reported because it didn’t add up to the researcher sounds less than scientific to me.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        I get prickly about these studies because I was a single mom – I can’t help it

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I think I get that way because I was a young mom (at least the first time around, lol) and also a single mom for a long time. I know how you feel Eve!

      • lea

        I don’t think anyone was implying the women were lying. At least that isn’t how I interpreted the comment.

        I read it as “we don’t know exactly what they were told, so we don’t know if it was unclear or incorrect”.

        Doctors can sometimes be really bad at conveying information to patients, especially when they assume a certain level of knowledge already. For example, if the doc thought the parent knew of the current recommendations, they may have given very vague instructions or advice, thinking the parent already knew.
        Conversely, the doc may have told the parent something which is outdate or incorrect.
        Both of these scenarios need a slightly different approach to rectify.

        Also- I would say it would be quite normal to question what a subject reports, regardless of who they are. So I also disagree that a subject response wouldn’t have been questioned if they were more educated or from a higher socioeconomic bracket.

      • AP

        I was going to say this, too. Some groups value the wisdom of the “old wives’ tales” more than the word of the doctors. Sometimes it’s cultural regarding tradition and views towards elders, sometimes it has to do with access to pediatricians, and sometimes it has to do with skepticism towards doctors as being “unnatural” and “unhealthy” (and this includes granola-y educated types, too.)

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        Sorry to repost the same response but it seems silly to rewrite it so here goes…

        I think it sounded classist to me in certain ways. I don’t know why anyone would assume that the women were lying about what their pediatricians told them. Mine told me to start solids at 5 months with my oldest. I was only 19 but even then it sounded wrong to me, especially since I was nursing exclusively. I sought a second opinion that told me to wait but I could see a less confident woman following the first doctor’s instructions with no question.

        That was the part that sounded classist to me. I am okay with simply identifying a socioeconomic correlation but outwardly questioning what the subject reported because it didn’t add up to the researcher sounds less than scientific to me.Would they have questioned a middle aged, middle class woman’s response? Who knows, but I’m guessing no.

      • Justme

        So women who follow the doctor’s orders aren’t confident?

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I meant if they had doubts, sorry if I wasn’t clear.

      • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.handcock Katherine Handcock

        I don’t think the implication at all was that the women were lying: what I read was that the study determined that women BELIEVED that their pediatricians were encouraging introducing solids, and that they have not determined what advice was actually given. In other words, that there is either an incorrect-information issue (doctors advising these women to give solids too early) or a communication issue (the doctors were attempting to explain something that was misinterpreted.) I can also reassure you, having participated in a similar study, that yes, they question the responses from all races/ages/socio-economic brackets.
        I have actually seen this first hand with someone I know: her doctor told her that the current recommendation was for the baby to sleep in the parents’ room (sleeping in the same room slightly reduces the risk of SIDS in some studies.) She interpreted that as “you must be supervising the baby while he sleeps” i.e. she or her husband should sit up watching the kid sleep. At the month-old checkup, that got cleared up, but no amount of effort from me or others would convince her she should be sleeping because “the doctor said she should.” Honest misunderstanding on all parts, but it made her first month with a baby absolute misery.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        This was a well thought out comment, thank you. I still have qualms about the way they worded this study (it still sounds judgmental to me) BUT I feel better hearing from someone who have participated in a similar study that they question everyone, not just the poors (lol). I am definitely looking at this from another angle now.

      • rccola

        that whole back to sleep movement has likely saved many infants, but as someone who has worked with kids under for many many years, i have also seen a huge increase in kids with flat spots from spending too much time on their backs. ( the population i work with is surprisingly educated and wealthy, yet they “dont know” babies need tummy time from the start.

    • Amber

      Do you want them to lie about their findings to make you feel better?

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        YES! Thank you

    • C.J.

      There are some circumstances where a doctor will recommend people start feeding babies before 4 months. Our doctor recommended my children start eating solids around 2 months. She said big babies sometimes need to follow their own schedules. My babies weren’t big because I was diabetic or because of what I ate during pregnancy. It was genetic, big babies are common in both my husbands family and my family. They were big, hungry babies. She wanted to see them eating everything by 6 months. It was ridiculous the amount my kids nursed. The oldest could eat an 8 oz bottle pretty much from birth. I had no issues with supply and could pump a full bottle within a few days. We had to attend my nephew’s funeral and didn’t bring her so I know how much she ate from the amount of bottles she used while we were gone. She ate so much that no matter how much vitamin packed food I ate I always felt weak. My kids had no problems eating solids before 4 months. It didn’t make them stop nursing or mess with my supply. They are 7 and 10 now and they are both very healthy and they are both thin. Guidelines are great for helping new mom’s but not every child fits within the guidelines. Especially when they are not even on the growth chart when they were born. My oldest was in the 110 percentile for both height and weight at her first doctor’s appt. Our doctor said as long as their weight matched their height and they followed a proper curve on the chart they were fine. I’m sure there are many people who feed their children solids before they are ready for whatever reason. There are also some that feed their babies before 4 months because their doctors advised it. I was not a young single mother. I was 26 when my first was born and had been married for over a year. Maybe you don’t know any babies that the guidelines don’t work for but it really isn’t that hard to believe that there are some out there. There are also some babies that need to start eating solids later than the recommended guidelines because their bellies aren’t ready or because of medical conditions. Everybody is different.

      • Armchair Observer

        I was put on rice cereal mixed with formula at a very young age due to a combo of cleft lip/palate, failure to thrive, and GERD–on doctor’s orders and with a college educated mother.

      • C.J.

        This is exactly my point, there are lots of reasons for a doctor to recommend feeding solids early or late. Not everyone fits in the “guidelines”. The 56% of people who said they fed their babies early on doctor’s advice probably have all kinds of different reasons why the doctors advised it. Funny thing, I just saw this story reported on Fox 2 and they said that they age recommended to start solids is 6 months. Someone is reporting it wrong, not sure who.

      • SusannahJoy

        My docs said 6 months… What I was told is that at that point they’re still getting the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula, but that’s a good age to get them used to the idea of eating food, and that’s when their digestive system is developed enough to be able to handle it.

    • Melody

      When I had my first I was young (like 16,) and unmarried, and I gave my daughter rice cereal when she was around 4 months. I chose that time because my pediatrician gave me the go ahead as well as my mom (who actually works at the pediatrician’s office,) and also because I felt that she was ready for solids. I have since done the same with my two younger children, in fact I think I gave my 2nd solids at 3 months. I am older now and my husband and I have finally gotten married and I still wouldn’t change anything about the way I raised/fed my kids as infants. I gave my babies solids when they were showing a clear interest in food and had gotten over that whole tongue thrust reflex and it had no negative effects on my milk supply or breastfeeding.

      Honestly, by 8 months my last one was only drinking like 24 ounces a day of milk/formula and eating mainly solids, so it’s really bizarre for me to think of not feeding solids until 8 months. She is really big for her age though, and way ahead of the feeding schedule that my first two were on. Every baby is different and I’m sure that what you did worked best for your baby. I really hope that you were kind of joking about not feeding solids because of smelly diapers because that sounds like the most ridiculous, selfish reason for not giving you kid solids ever. Just sayin’.

      Also I would like to add that a friend of mine just had her first about a year ago, and despite the fact that she was in her late 20′s, married, with a much younger sister that she helped care for as a baby and a few nephews that she’s babysat often, she still didn’t know not to submerge her newborn in the tub until after the umbilical stump fell off, something I would have thought was common newborn knowledge.

      It might be that these mothers are not getting clear instructions from their doctors or they are disregarding them for whatever reason. There are doctors who like you Eve, cannot fathom that someone would even think to give solids to a newborn so they figure that they don’t need to tell them not to. I know that my dr. asked how my baby was breastfeeding and I was the one who brought up solids first. Actually I asked a ton of questions with my first and by the second I was a seasoned mommy who knew how to take care of a baby so the Dr. didn’t feel the need to explain stuff she figured that I already knew.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        My pediatrician told me to start solids at months with my oldest. It didn’t seem like the right decision to me and I ended up changing doctors over it so I see what you’re saying. It seems to me after speaking to many other parents over the last 10 years that I’ve been a mom that there is a wide range of opinions on the matter when it comes to pediatricians. Plenty of parents will follow what their doctors say because they are trusted people.

    • Monica

      I am fine with your article but your TITLE is very demeaning and I am not even a single mom.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Bah I thought the study was demeaning

      • http://twitter.com/SylDLucas Sylvia D. Lucas

        I think you’re missing the sarcasm.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Thanks Sylvia

      • Monica

        I don’t think so. :) There’s nothing in the quoted literature (or in the original article) that implies ‘stupidity’. It was the author who tag Single Moms as ‘Stupid’. BAH!

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        Well, seeing as Eve IS a single mom I don’t get what you’re saying. She took offense to this study for the same reason I did I believe, Not because of the findings but because of the wording. For me it was the way the researcher questioned what the women were saying about their doctor’s recommendations. Paint me oversensitive but that doesn’t seem scientific to me.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        It was tongue in cheek. If you don’t get that (I realized this before reading the article) then what are you doing here?

    • Blueathena623

      I wonder if they asked about sleep. My tyke was an atrocious sleeper. Everyone and their dog told me to start him on solids — some people suggesting that as early as 2 months — so that hopefully he’d sleep longer. I held off, but I had a husband to help me in the evenings/nights so I could get a few hours of sleep. If I were doing it alone, I might have caved a lot earlier, education be damned, to see if it helped him sleep.

      • msenesac

        That’s exactly what I was thinking as well. I had read on some forums where moms suggested some rice cereal in the bottle so that kids would sleep thru the night.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Oh yeah I have heard that one too about sleeping longer

      • Justme

        I heard that too. Didn’t work. :(

      • k_milt

        I tried the exact same thing at around five months – recommended by my doctor, of course. I was totally desperate at that point because from the day of her birth my daughter never slept more than 45 minutes at a time. Never. She was up in the night 10 or 12 times until she was two and a half. Even now that she’s three she sometimes gets up for stupid reasons (I actually do mean stupid – the other night she couldn’t sleep because her hair was too cruddy. I just can’t with that kid).

        I was very sad that starting cereal early didn’t work. Those were probably the worst years of my life!

    • Mary

      I fed both my babies at 6 months. Why? Because I researched and found information on my own just like I did about breastfeeding. Educate yourself people, open a book. I’m so glad I did.

    • Ordinaryperson

      Yea, baby food diapers are gross. My kids were vegetarian as long as I could keep it up for that reason, meat diapers are also much stinkier than non-meat diapers.
      Does baby cereal cost less to keep a baby fed than formula would? I know baby cereal is ridiculously priced, but isn’t formula more costly? If cereal gives you more bang for your buck it makes sense that people with lower incomes would be introducing it sooner.

      • Blooming_Babies

        Baby cereal is crazy cheap and that means less formula use, I don’t know if it’s correlated but it’s an interesting question.

      • Katia

        I like the way you think. This is the intellectual curiosity I beg the writers here for.

    • Emma

      I’ve actually known several college educated, married mothers who started feeding rice cereal in a bottle at 4 months. The most common reason was to get babies to sleep longer. In my baby group probably about 1/4 of the mothers did this. I was surprised because I too had read the research and waited until 6 months, at which time I started with veggies.

      • AP

        When I was in middle school- a middle school where most families had 2 bachelor’s degrees and at least 1 graduate degree- my teacher told the class that it’s unhealthy to give babies cold medicine before bedtime to help them sleep.

        Most of the class was like, “Wait, what? My mom was drugging me all those years? That was bad?”

    • Di

      As a young, unwed mother I can say that I waited to introduce solids until six months. I heard all the guff about babies sleeping through the night better with cereal added to the bottle, but it just didn’t seem right to me at the time. It’s silly, and I’m not judging anyone else but I felt like it was sneaky. But I’m generally so worried about messing something up that I just do things by the book.

    • http://www.facebook.com/greerelizabethphillips Greer Phillips

      Seriously, the fuck at this title?

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Don’t shoot the messenger, it’s basically what they were saying!

      • lea

        I disagree. Uneducated does not mean stupid.

    • J.D.

      My SIL and I take our kids to the same pediatrician. My kids were exclusively breastfed until 6 mos then given veggies, etc. Her kids were formula-fed and eating rice cereal by three months. I think it is a mixture of willful ignorance and being around people who say, “I did this with MY kids and THEY are fine.”

      In terms of what doctors are telling their patients, I wonder how much of it is that pediatricians cater to what the parents intentions are? My nieces are seemingly always on antibiotics, but my kids have almost never had them (except my son, as a newborn, because he had a fever). Again, same pediatrician, but I don’t want my kids on antibiotics if they don’t absolutely need them and their doctor knows that.

      Re: McDonalds. When my oldest niece was about 7 months old I unexpectedly saw my SIL’s car while I was out so I went over to say hello. Was horrified to find my niece with a medium McD’s French fries on her lap, in her carseat! Same woman who wouldn’t let her kids eat my homemade baby food because she didn’t know if it was “safe.”

      • J.D.

        Just realized how bitter I sound – oops! My SIL and I have our differences, but we actually get along pretty well, despite how it might sound here. I do wish she would take a more healthy approach with her kids, though.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        Judgment much? Sorry, but I hope she finds out all the awful things you say about her on the internet.

      • Katia

        The way this lady feeds her kids jd has a right to vent. Macdonalds for a baby . the world is so crazy

      • rccola

        gee my daughter was exclusively formula fed and i gave her cereal starting at 3 months too. btw, shes never had an ear infection or anything worse than the common cold, even though shes attended day care and school her whole life. (now 10)your sil kids just might be more sickly than . dont blame it all on their poor diet.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I was 19 when I had my oldest and I didn’t do any of this. Though I guess I don’t count entirely since I wasn’t “unwed” like the study suggests about these mothers.

    • rccola

      my daughter was 3 months when i started her on rice cereal. and yes i did it because she was a hungry baby and as a young single mother living on my own i needed some freaking sleep. i knew exactly what i was doing, im not stupid. 10 years later im married, more educated and have a higher income level and guess what. if the baby im pregnant with now is a hungry kid, ill do it again without any qualms. im so tired of the judy judgementals. every baby, every circumstance is different. what works for you is not going to work for others the same way.

      • aliceblue

        According to my mom I stared with some rice cereal in my formula at 2 or 3 months. Both she and my Dad had Masters Degrees and were married. I was just a big kid (for the times) and was HUNGRY. First night with cereal I slept 7 hours in a row instead of getting up every 2 or so and stopped shrieking (apparently in hunger). I’m petite, no allergies, diabetes, or whatever other horrors are supposed to await.

      • http://www.sarahcooksthebooks.com/ Sarah

        Not sure what diabetes has to do with anything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.handcock Katherine Handcock

        There’s some evidence that feeding solids too early increases risk of developing diabetes later in life, so it’s one of the concerns often expressed when parents start solids before 6 months.

    • once upon a time

      Your privilege is showing.

    • Ellen

      It’s wonderful that the author’s instincts were to breastfeed exclusively and not introduce solids early, but as a clinical researcher I can attest that education and age directly correlate to infant health/future education. My own in-laws are lovely people but they do a ton of things that are not clinically indicated (like start cereal in bottles at 3 months). They simply do not have the resources educationally or the confidence that often comes with age to question the wives tales. My sister-in-law was floored when her pediatrician told her to wait to introduce solids until 6 months. Her mother was a 19 year old (married) mother and made it up as she went along – without any pediatrician. The entire family of also young mothers just follow her lead.

    • Marriedfilingjointly

      I was skeptical of what you were saying but you lost all credibility when you said your child was in the 110% percentile. Breast milk and formula are more nutrient and calorie-dense than baby food or table food, so if it were true that your baby needed more food because it’s sooooo huge, why would rice cereal, which is only slightly more nutritionally dense than cardboard, be the answer? Your post makes no sense.

      • Marriedfilingjointly

        This was in response to CJ, not sure why it went to the top.

      • C.J.

        Breastmilk didn’t fill them. The doctor was of the opinion that solids would help them feel fuller. You might not agree with my doctor’s advise but it worked, they didn’t eat as much. And yes they were that huge, my oldest was 20lbs by 4 months old. They didn’t need more nutrients, they needed to feel full.

      • http://marriedfilingjointlyblog.com/ marriedfilingjointly

        I’m not doubting your child’s weight, but there is no such thing as the 110% percentile.

      • C.J.

        Well, that’s what the doctor called it. Her line on the chart was just above the 100% percentile for a while. She eventually got under the 100% percentile but it took a while.

      • Marriedfilingjointly

        :blinks:

        I don’t think you understand how growth charts work. If your child is in the 50th percentile, he is larger than 50% of children his age. So you are trying to tell me that a doctor told you that your child is larger than 110% of children. If your doctor has such little grasp of a 4th grade math concept and pediatric growth charts, you should run. But I suspect that’s not the case.

        And people are upset that it was hinted that mothers are not being truthful about what their doctor told them re: starting solids.

        But hey, way to break that stereotype of parents feeding solids too early being uneducated! I hope your children have someone else they can turn to for help with their math homework.

      • Melody

        My very large baby was called “unchartable” by the pediatrician at her last checkup. The Dr. showed me the chart as he said it and there was her little dot right above the wave pattern that represents average weight and height. Obviously she wasn’t bigger than 110% of all the babies but if you were trying to explain it to someone I could see saying that because she was around 10% bigger than the 100th percentile. she was in the 110%. I’m sure that’s what C.J. was saying, too.

      • C.J.

        Thank you, I just wasn’t explaining it right.

      • Marriedfilingjointly

        Oh right, of course.

      • C.J.

        Yeah, that is right. I happen to have had a stroke a few years ago so sometimes when I an trying to express myself it doesn’t always come out quite right and sometimes I forget the odd thing. It doesn’t make me stupid and at least I’m not judgemental.

      • Marriedfilingjointly

        All the more reason to stop dispensing horrible advice.

      • C.J.

        I’m not dispensing advice. Any way you want to word the percentile my doctor still advised to feed my babies early because they were large and hungry. I don’t give advice, I might share stories about my experiences but that is not advice. It really isn’t any of my business what other people do so I don’t give advice.

      • blackwaterhattie

        You are kind of being a total asshole. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but you’re being obnoxious. It’s not necessary to go for someone like that over a comment he/she posted. It probably wouldn’t have hurt you to just ignore it instead of beating her over the heard with your Very Large Intellect, but I really hope it made your day better to act like a turd.

      • C.J.

        My children both get A’s in math and I am the one that helps them with their homework. Actually, they get A’s in almost everything. My oldest child is almost 11 so sue me if I forgot the exact proper wording of what the doctor said as far as the growth chart goes (see comment below). I hardly call that not being truthful or being uneducated. I also happen to trust my doctor and felt she was giving advice that was in the best interest of my children.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      Meh. I started my daughter on solids 4 days before her four month birthday. I did it because she was ready. Now, she’s almost 5 months old and eats crazy amounts of food! My breastmilk isn’t very fatty so I’m wondering if perhaps she needed more calorie-rich food. My doctor told me that between 4 and 6 months old is when you should start trying to feed your child if they are ready. There are signs that the books give you to know if they are. I followed them to the t. Yeah, the diapers are smellier lol but i’d prefer to have a happy healthy child who enjoys eating and still takes my breastmilk with stinky diapers than mustard diapers with a baby drinking every hour just to feel full.

    • Kaela

      That research quoted is total bull. My dad was on a type of special formula and my grandma had to create her own babyfood for him when he was an infant because of the special formula.. you know what he’s married, and well educated, Well he’s a man so not part of WIC but I am because formula is damn expensive and I wasn’t able to breastfeed. he also fathered me at age 24… not so young.

      I started my daughter on oatmeal(baby) and a few purees at 3.5-4 months old and she does JUST fine.. she started rolling over from her belly to back at 6 WEEKS, is already sitting up and is trying to crawl at 5 months. Why? Because I work with her and put the effort into my child just like I will when it comes to her education. An involved parent is what makes the child.. not feeding them purees earlier then some think.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

      Well, I started my daughter on those gerber bottle cereals at three months, and pureed foods at around 4 months, it has nothing to do with my marital or education status, just the fact that both my parents, all my friends parents, and all my doctors told me she was old enough for them and to start doing it, nothing on a google search or baby book suggested otherwise, and the labels on those foods say they are for supported sitters, and at 3-4 months, my daughter was a supported sitter. I mean, why blame and criticize a single first time mother for feeding solid foods “too young”, when basically everything and everyone suggests 3 months as the right age?

    • Ellie

      I absolutely believe this- having grown up lower income in a rural area (where at least 1 in 10 women dropped out of high school and everyone had kids before their early twenties) I see it first hand every time I visit.

      My older sister was a sophomore dropout (she was pregnant), and now has three children. Each child was breast fed for a few months, and then was completely on solid foods by eight months. She is on government assistance and has a part time job as a cocktail waitress (and she only makes a couple hundred a week).
      All of her friends, and basically everyone I grew up with, has a very similar story (with job, assistance, and kids ) and the reasons why they switch to solid foods are simple.
      They are told by other mothers (their peers) that it isn’t a big deal, and that the sooner you get your child to eat solid foods the less difficult it will be for them to teethe, they will be less fussy eaters, etc. I don’t believe these things are true, and don’t think the negatives (having kids who are addicted to McDonalds and have constant stomach problems) is worth it.
      Not to generalize, but the women I know don’t ask doctors because they hardly ever go to doctors, and if they do they don’t have a lot of time with them and are very afraid to ask dumb questions so they just don’t ask any. My sister doesn’t have a regular pediatrician (even though she has three kids, wants two more, and her oldest is 10) she just goes to whoever the government website says she can (which she has to ask my Mom to do as she doesn’t have or understand the internet really) and definitely doesn’t ask questions.
      I’m not discounting her responsibility for the situation, just sharing.
      There is also a weird deal with this group of women (and I’ve noticed it when I volunteer at women’s shelters in the area) where they believe formula to be only for the very poor and stupid, so they avoid it like the plague.
      They’d rather give their kids McDonalds french fries mashed up (which I’ve been told is great for infants) then a bottle of formula, and heavily judge formula feeders. It’s like a mommy war thing, where the moms who give their kids formula (even when it’s from the hospital) are thought to not care about their children and be very selfish, poor, and ignorant.
      In my sister’s case she started giving her kids solid foods so early because she didn’t see any harm, didn’t want to switch to formula, and she really wanted to get back to binge drinking for both her job and her social life.