Present knowledge of nutrition is admittedly incomplete. Accumulation of further knowledge by controlled observations is to be encouraged.
The present divergence of opinion regarding the appropriate time for the introduction of solid foods into the diet of the infant is recognized.
No nutritional advantage or disadvantage has as yet been proven for supplementing adequate milk diets with solid foods in the first 3 or 4 months of life. No harmful results have been reported thus far, but potential danger exists that earlier supplementation of the milk diets of infants with solid food of inferior nutritional content may, because of satiety, result in a decreased intake of milk.
High-protein feedings unaccompanied by sufficient water intake, as may occur with a meat supplement, can compromise the young infant's fluid and electrolyte balance.
Strained meat has been shown to be the equivalent of milk as a source of protein, and to be well tolerated by both premature and full-term infants. Claims for the advantages of the early introduction of meat are conflicting and do not permit the drawing of definite conclusions.
An increased incidence of allergy has not been demonstrated from solid foods fed in the early weeks of life.
Digestion, absorption and utilization of solid foods appears to be adequate even in the first days of life. Other physiologic mechanisms indicate nature's provision for their administration at a later date.
No psychologic advantage can be attributed solely to early feeding of solid foods.
Caution should be exercised in attributing any beneficial effect observed while feeding a food to a single constituent of so complex a mixture as a natural food.
- Copyright © 1958 by the American Academy of Pediatrics