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Introduction of Solid Food to Young Infants


Timing of the first introduction of solid food during infancy may have potential effects on life-long health. To understand the characteristics that are associated with the timing of infants' initial exposure to solid foods. The 2000 National Survey of Early Childhood Health (NSECH) was a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,068 parents of children aged 4-35 months, which profiled content and quality of health care for young children. African-American and Latino families were over-sampled. Analyses in this report include bivariate tests and logistic regressions. 62% of parents reported introducing solids to their child between 4-6 months of age. African-American mothers (OR=0.5 [0.3, 0.9]), English-speaking Latino mothers (OR=0.4 [0.2, 0.7]), White mothers with more than high school education (OR=0.5 [0.2, 1.0]), and mothers who breastfed for 4 months or longer (OR=0.4 [0.3, 0.7]) were less likely to introduce solids early. Most parents (92%) of children 4-9 months of age reported that their pediatric provider had discussed introduction of solids with them since the child's birth, and provider discussion of feeding was not associated with the timing of introduction of solids. Although most parents recall discussing the introduction of solid foods with their child's physician, several subgroups of mothers introduce solid foods earlier than the AAP recommendation of 4-6 months. More effective discussion of solid food introduction linked to counseling and support of breastfeeding by the primary health care provider may reduce early introduction of solids.

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