Starting solids – a window of opportunity?

Advice on when to start solids is not clear-cut. Some recommendations say wait until 6 months while others suggest a bit earlier. Now a new study published today in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that when it comes to preventing type 1 diabetes, the answer may be not too early but not too late.  Like the more common type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is also on the increase and infant diet is one area that is being looked at to give some clues as to the cause.  In this study researchers looked at the relationship between early infant diet and the development of type 1 diabetes in babies at high risk (due to a family history of type 1 diabetes).  They found that babies who were started on solids before 4 months of age were twice as likely to develop type 1, while those who started solids at 6 months or later had a threefold higher risk. Introducing certain foods while still breastfeeding reduced the risk. The researchers conclude that there appears to be a safe window in which to introduce solid foods (between 4 and 5 months of age) and that solids should be introduced while continuing to breastfeed to minimise the risk of type 1 diabetes in genetically susceptible children.

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