Science Mom: What’s The Deal With When To Start Solid Foods?

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What Age Do You Start Solid FoodsBeing a new parent is a spectacularly scary endeavor. There are millions of things we can do and/or fail to do to mess up our kids, and parenting in the Internet Age means we get to constantly hear about all of the terrible ways we’re failing as mothers and fathers. CNN Health wants you to know that if your kid sees a TV on before the age of ten, her brain will turn into actual toxic sludge! The mommy message boards are all abuzz about vaccinations! Your Aunt Sally left you a message on Facebook to tell you about the amber teething necklace she’s sending you in the mail so that your poor baby can FINALLY get some RELIEF and she can’t BELIEVE you haven’t tried this ALREADY. So listen up, Mommyish! I am going to do science at you, so that you have not just the latest information, but the best information. With three years of science teaching and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Michigan State University under my belt (not to mention dropping out of the excellent cell biology PhD program at UW-Madison), as well as a pair of screaming eight-month-olds at home, I get where you’re coming from when you want answers – and I’ll help you find the right ones.

So, What’s The Deal With When To Start Solid Foods?  

I have eight-month-old twins, and I dearly understand the desire not only to have answers to questions about the business of bringing up baby, but to have them fast – via an e-consult with Dr. Google - and to turn them into solutions. But I’m also a scientist (or an ex-scientist, I suppose) and unfortunately, while the rumor that 90% of the Internet is porn isn’t true – I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that 90% of the Internet is pure, unadulterated crap. Sure, a lot of that crap has been artistically arranged and surrounded by scented candles in order to enhance the effect – but it’s crap nonetheless.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve found yourself buying into some of these things. I know smart women, women with years of education, women with PhDs in science and MDs and all kinds of other credential-flavored alphabet soup, who have been suckered into one Latest and Greatest Thing or another. Who can blame them? You can have all the training in the world on how to check sources, dig into journal articles, and evaluate bias, but chances are that all of that is going to fly out the window when your infant hasn’t slept for more than thirty-seven seconds at a time for a week running and she’s screaming bloody murder in your ear while you frantically Google every possible string of words related to sleep regression that you can think of.

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