Science of Delaying Solids
Baby’s intestines are still developing
During early infancy the intestines secret only a small amount of IgA, an immunoglobulin protein that coats and protects the lining of the intestines. Fortunately, breast milk contains a lot of IgA that offers this protection while the intestines are developing. Between four and seven months the intestines go through a developmental process called “Closure”. This process causes the intestines to be more selective about what is allowed to pass through. If breast milk is reduced and solids are added before this closure occurs, the baby’s immune system can be triggered to begin an inflammatory, allergic-type response to proteins that leak through the intestine. It is now believed that this process can initiate life-long allergies and asthma and may be a component of a child’s later developing autoimmune illnesses such as diabetes.
Baby still has “tongue thrust”
This reflex protects the baby from choking. When food is placed on the tongue, the tongue pushes the food out rather than drawing it in.
Baby’s swallowing is less mature
Between four and six months babies develop the ability to move food from the front of the mouth, to the side for chewing, and then to the back of the throat for swallowing.
Baby still not sitting well
By six months a baby may grab mother’s spoon or the cracker from a sibling’s hand. This imitating of behavior not only increases a child’s ability to self-feed, but also contributes to the baby’s developing cognitive, social and intellectual skills.