After the Tuesday September 30th, episode of Southern Remedy on sleeping, a few people responded with comments on our Facebook page. I appreciate all the comments and the interest in having a constructive and respectful dialogue on these topics.
On the appropriate age to introduce solids to babies:
I want to clear up some confusion regarding a call into my show Tuesday related to introducing solid food to babies. I did not recommend that solid food should begin at 4 months. Some babies, at around 14 pounds, the callers child is 12 pounds, may benefit from rice cereal being introduced into their feeding routine. However, I do not recommend placing the cereal in a bottle. The American Academy of Pediatrics has this same recommendation.
I strongly urge parents refer to the AAP’s book “Caring For Your Baby And Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth To 5 Years” by Steve Shelov. It notes that solids should be introduced to babies between 4 and 6 months in tandem with regular breastfeeding. I support that recommendation, but understand this is not an exact science and all children are different.
On the issue of co-sleeping:
Co-sleeping with your baby is a commonly debated topic.
I use scientific research as the basis of my recommendation, co-sleeping with an infant of less than 6 months can be dangerous. Sadly, there are many deaths per year that could have been prevented by not co-sleeping.
A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics deals with this topic: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/5/e1341.full.
How this recommendation against co-sleeping relates to breastfeeding is equally a hot button topic.
The AAP strongly encourages breastfeeding, and it is certainly appropriate to keep the infant close to the mother while doing so. But, if a mother chooses to breastfeed in bed, when finished the baby should be transferred to a crib or basinet to sleep. This is in line with the AAP guideline that infants be put to sleep close to their parents - such as in a crib near or attached to the parents bed - though not in the same bed, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Evidence shows that infant deaths do occur due to a co-sleeping arrangement. I would never want to impart guilt. Infant death often happens to the best parents. The decision is ultimately your own, but I feel that it is my responsibility to notify parents of the risks.
Thank you for listening,
Dr. Susan Buttross