Q&A: feeding solids but not purees

Onward and upward! writes:

"As a new mom, I am often questioning little details of raising my son.The vast amount of information and opinions available on the Internet just seem to make it worse.

For example, he's having trouble with constipation (despite breast milk and trying just about every formula out there), so I started him on pureed veggies and fruits, hoping it would create looser stools. It hasn't made a difference so far. But then I go and read an article in the BBC news that says skip pureed foods altogether, and only give them solid foods after about six months or so. The premise is that your baby needs to learn how to chew first, and only after he is ready to do so; and pureed foods can leave them constipated AND postpone their ability to learn to chew. Huh. What do you think?"

Veeery interesting. And, yes, there's definitely too much information on the internet. If you click away now I won't be insulted.

First of all, before we get to the actual topic, are you absolutely sure it's constipation? Many babies (especially breastfed ones) don't poop every day, and some can go for days without pooping, and this is absolutely normal. If they have gas and strain to fart it can look like constipation, but the key is to check the consistency. As long as the poop (I'm not going to call it "stool," people) is soft and a normal color (not hard or black), it's not constipation.

Now to the article: I don't think any of this is that shocking. Even the most recent recommendation from the AAP (American Association Academy [thanks for catching that perhaps not-so-surprising typo, Sarah] of Pediatrics, with whom I have a one-way "eh"-hate relationship) is not to start food until six months. Before that there's really no need for it (barring feeding problems like GERD) and milk or formula has all the nutrition they need. There's a reason babies that young can't chew, and it's because they're supposed to be getting their nutrition in liquid form. There's also some thought now that introducing carbohydrates (rice cereal, etc.) too early can mess with babies' systems so they don't regulate insulin as well and are more prone to developing diabetes later on.

So the recommendation not to start with solids until 6 months isn't making me take any particular notice.

Some of you are aware that my favorite study is about a baby-led approach to starting solids.