As first-time parents, it can get quite mind-boggling on what to feed your baby when you think they are suitable for solids. There are many pieces of advice going around, but which are myths and what are the facts behind them? Let’s find out!
Myth: If my child rejects the food I feed him, it is pointless to try the same thing again.
Fact: Research shows that a baby will not accept new foods until they have tried it at least six to ten times. Hence, do not give up trying to introduce that food to your little one because their reaction may be due to surprise instead of dislike. A wide variety of foods is often ideal for your baby’s diet, so it is good to introduce new ingredients frequently. To help you feel less frustrated, serve new foods with their old favourites and they might take it better. It also ensures that they finish the portion and do not leave the table feeling hungry.
Offering vegetables before fruits
Myth: Offering fruits before vegetables will give my baby a permanent sweet tooth, and the chances that he might dislike vegetables will increase.
Fact: Both fruit and vegetables are great first foods for babies because they are packed with vitamins and minerals that are vital for their growth and development. There is no proof on what foods you should serve first and how it will affect your baby’s taste palettes in the future, but offering a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables helps them get used to a broad range of tastes and textures. There are parents who find that their toddlers still reject vegetables even when they serve vegetables before fruits and some prefer vegetables even when they are served sweet fruits like bananas and dates first. Ultimately, serving which foods first has no direct link to a baby’s preference for foods in the future.
Ready for solids
Myth: If my baby reaches for my food during meals, he is ready for solids.
Fact: Babies are naturally curious and inquisitive when they spot something new, and it is absolutely natural for them to reach for your food during meal times. However, that is not enough of a definitive factor to determine if they are ready for solids. Other factors include whether they can sit upright without being held, if they open their mouths when offered food and if they can sit up on their own and keep their head up (to support the correct coordination to chew and swallow).
Myth: Babies should not be fed allergenic foods, especially if I have a food allergy myself.
Fact: Doctors decades ago would recommend this tip. However, as research evolves, the opposite is more encouraged these days. Foods that are considered highly allergenic (example, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, fish, shellfish, etc) can be safely introduced to most babies as early as when they start on solid foods. This is because no conclusive evidence can prove that delaying the introduction of highly-allergenic foods decreases the risk of food allergies. There is also no research to prove that food allergies are hereditary, so it is not 100 percent confirmed that he will inherit the same allergies as you do. Moreover, studies that suggests delaying the time taken to let your baby try these foods might increase the risk of a food allergy.
Myth: I have to start with rice cereal as a first food for my baby
Fact: Any store-bought cereal made to last will often contain a ton of ingredients you find difficult to pronounce (and that is when you know it is chemical-filled!). Whilst rice cereal is easy to obtain and convenient to prepare, it is tasteless and lacks many nutrients your baby needs. The first bite of real food should be fresh, wholesome and flavourful and it is made possible with the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, the more flavours a baby is exposed to, the lesser the chances of him saying “No!” to new foods when he is a toddler.
What other baby food myths have you debunked? Share with us in the comments below!