Between 4 to 6 months old, when sucking evolved and corrected and chewing movements commenced, it is a proper time to start complementary food. Cereals ready to use by baby are the first foods for babies, but wheat and its products cannot be used by the end of 6 months old, due to gluten. If it is intended to have cereals earlier than 6 months, rice is usually used, but according to standards, the end of the 6th month which means 180 days after birth is the best time to start complementary food.
- Risk of Early Commencement of Complementary Food :
As you know, complementary food should be fed to infant at a special age, along breast milk or formula, to help the baby to fulfill their needs and cover their nutritional skills. Therefore, it should be started at a specific time. Early commencement may cause the following problems:
The best food for a baby is breast milk and when an infant is fed by complementary food earlier than specific age, they will have less tendency to breast milk and sucking mother’s breast that results in decrease in breast milk and deprivation of infant from this divine blessing.
As babies’ digestive and immune systems are not evolved, early commencement of complementary food results in some digestive complications and infections and their weight loss.
It is proved that early commencement of complementary food may increase possibility of inflicting with allergy (digestive complications, eczema, etc.).
- Risk of Late Commencement of Complementary food :
the same as early commencement of complementary food, its late commencement may cause some problems for the baby.
Commencement of complementary food should not be delayed because nutrients in breast milk would not suffice needs of a growing baby and it may pose the baby to deficiency of minerals like zinc and iron. Also, as digestive and swallowing systems of the baby are evolving, late commencement of complementary food delays familiarity of the baby with taste and texture of semi-solid and solid foods and causes some problems related to accepting and swallowing foods in future.
It is noteworthy that never force a baby to feed them because some babies primarily refrain from being fed by complementary food and show no interest in these foods. They must be encouraged to eat food by cooking proper foods.