Are Americans feeding their babies solid foods too early?
One group of child-feeding advocates say yes and that the move to feed babies solids early can follow them for the rest of their lives.
The group, called thousanddays.org, examined nutrition for babies in America.
Thousand days refers to pregnancy through the first two years after birth.
Its research found that nearly 40 percent of parents are introducing solids too early and that only 22 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed for six months.
Thousanddays.org said that more than half of moms say they are getting mixed messages on what to feed their babies.
So what are parents feeding their children and when?
Chloe Barrera with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents said that she oversaw a study that took a look at what 1,482 babies from the age of 6 to 36 months ate. Parents told researchers when they first ate food that wasn't formula or breast milk. Other foods included juice, cow's milk, baby food or other solids. About two-thirds of families were not following official recommendations. Some parents introduced foods too early, or before 4 months (16.3 percent) , many (38.3 percent) gave food to their babies between 4 and 5 months, while some held off solid foods until 7 or more months (12.9 percent), Huffington Post reported.
Barrera's study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
But study authors say the numbers may be worse than reported since research depended upon self-reporting and that parents who know the recommendations may have under-reported the ages of their children and when they fed them solid foods, Huffington Post reported.
Experts say babies should be either breast fed or fed for their first 6 months because those foods have the nutrients babies need for development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services are both working on federal guidelines for children under 2 years old. The guidelines are expected to be released in 2020, Huffington Post reported.
Cox Media Group