Young babies don't thrive on solid food
by Gia Loc
HCM CITY — Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet of District 3, a mother who has been breast-feeding her baby, was so worried that her three-month-old son was not getting the proper nutrition that she began giving him solid food.
|A teacher feeds her pupils at a kindergarten in northern Nam Dinh Province's Giao Thuy District. Infants can suffer disgestive disorders if fed improperly. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
She ground up potatoes and carrots following the advice of her own mother.
But one week later, Tuyet had to take the baby to Paediatric Hospital No.1 in HCM City to treat constipation.
Another mother, Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy of District 5, had done the same thing, given her five-month-old daughter solid food. The baby was admitted to the hospital for diarrhoea.
Hospitals see cases such as these because many inexperienced mothers are following the advice of relatives or friends and giving their babies solid food, according to Dr Le Hoang Phuc, head of Digestive Ward.
Phuc spoke at a workshop on infant nutrition and digestive problems held last Friday in HCM City by Gia Dinh Tre (Young Family) magazine,
Many parents think that feeding their infants solid food too early helps them become strong, but their digestive systems are too immature for this, according to Phuc.
Babies are ready for solid food when they are able to keep their head in a steady and upright position, and stop using their tongue to push food out of their mouth, and take it in and swallow. Sitting well when supported is also a sign that they are ready for solid food.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics' recommendation, babies should be breastfed for about six months.
A paper published by the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that feeding solid foods to infants under six months of age can increase the risk of allergies.
Assistant Professor Nguyen Thi Lam, deputy head of the National Nutrition Institute, said that babies should be breastfed until they are six months old and that, after that period, they should eat powdered first and then ground-up fish, meat and vegetables.
Parents should not overfeed their babies, she said, adding that 50ml was the best amount initially, and then it can be increased slowly.
Nutritionists say to keep an eye on babies when they begin to eat solid food to see if the food is compatible with their digestive systems.
If there are signs of digestive disorders, then parents should take their babies to the hospital for counselling — VNS