I was interviewed on the radio (KISS FM) today -- and again the question came up about when to introduce solids. I reiterated what I wrote in What to Feed Your Baby. I recommend that babies start somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age, with the exception that babies with reflux may do better with a small amount of cereal in their bottle to control their regurgitation. The first part of that statement conforms to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. We are in synch, though I don't simply make my recommendation for that reason.
But it seems to make sense, since babies who are fed solids sooner have an increased risk of eczema and obesity. Yet 40% of parents haven't gotten the message, according to a CDC study released in March 2013 and referenced in What to Feed Your Baby. Interestingly, it actually varies by how the baby is initially fed. The majority (53%) of those who were only fed formula had been started on solids by 4 months while only 24% of the breastfed infants were on solids by then.
My interviewer (Twana Black) implied that it was a cultural phenomenon, along racial lines. And it may well be with the perceptions perceived differently in different communities. The reasons cited by the women in the study, which surveyed a total 1334 mothers, include that their babies seemed old enough (89%), hungry (71%), wanted the mother's food or seemed interested (67%), seemed to want something other than breastmilk or formula (65%) or might sleep better (46%).
I'm sure the baby's didn't fight. But there are certain aspects of development that might demonstrate their readiness and help acceptance at a slightly later age. Babies begin to sit at 5 months or so; their head control is improved; they stop pushing food out with their tongues; and they can better show when they are full and have had enough. And as I indicated before, delayed feedings might lessen the risk of obesity and allergy symptoms.