(HealthDay News) – About 40% of mothers introduce solid food to their infants before the recommended four months of age, with an even higher prevalence for formula-fed infants, according to a study published online March 25 in Pediatrics.

Heather B. Clayton, PhD, MPH, and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, analyzed data from 1,334 mothers on when they introduced solid food to their infants.

The researchers found that 40.4% of mothers introduced solid food before the recommended 4 months of age. Solid food was introduced early in 24.3% of breastfed infants, 52.7% of formula-fed infants, and 50.2% of mixed-fed infants. Mothers reported introducing solid foods early for reasons including feeling that their baby was old enough or seemed hungry or having a health professional recommend introducing solid food.

“Our results reveal that early solid food introduction is prevalent, even more so among formula-fed infants,” the authors write.

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