Babies are stressful. Worrying about how they sleep, eat, and feel is a full-time job, above and beyond actually caring for your wee one. Here are six baby feeding rules that you should break with zero guilt.
My baby is ready for food if He reaches for my plate
False. Babies are ready for food when they can sit upright, hold their head upright, open their mouths when you offer food, grasp food and bring it to their mouths. The generally accepted age is 6 months old, give or take a few weeks. Feeding your baby (even cereal!) before they’re ready does not help them with their development or sleep, no matter what your old-school doctor or grandma says.
Giving babies fruit before vegetables will give them a sweet tooth
There is zero evidence to support the myth that babies will develop a sweet tooth if you give them fruit first. It’s best for babies to have single-ingredient food to start off with, and giving them a wide variety of things to try will develop their palates. Meat is a fantastic first food for babies because their iron stores start to deplete around 6 months. Steak, chicken, and fish are terrific options that you can puree, shred, or cut into pieces for baby to enjoy.
Babies need cereal
Wrong. Baby cereal is neither necessary nor good for them. This is one of the post prevalent baby feeding rules that just won’t die. Most baby cereals you find in the store are highly processed. They are the equivalent of feeding your baby nothing but white bread. This is not to say that your baby can’t have oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal, but choose homemade instead of store bought. You can make a batch ahead of time, or pre-process whole grains in your food processor to make things easier.
Baby-led weaning is an all or nothing game
There are tons of baby-led weaning (BLW) fans out there. The most fanatical of them will insist that it’s not ‘true’ BLW if you also feed your baby pureed food. While this is technically true, who cares? Do what works for your family. If your baby loves to eat shredded cheese by the handful but won’t touch a veggie unless it’s on a spoon or in a pouch? Do that. If your baby hates purees but wants to gnaw on your ribs from tonight’s bbq? Do that (safely). Don’t feel like you MUST stick with one or the other, especially if it’s causing you stress.
Babies can’t have common allergens
Nope. The only thing that babies absolutely cannot have before age 1 is honey, and that isn’t even because of allergies, it’s because of bacteria. If your baby has no family history of allergies, then you’re ok to go ahead and give baby peanuts, strawberries, eggs, and fish as you see fit. All are very beneficial foods to kids, and emerging research is showing that early exposure to allergens can decrease or prevent the potential for allergic reactions.
Babies need bland foods
The standard North American diet is one of the blandest in the world. This extends to our babies’ diets as well. The myth that babies can’t handle flavourful spices refuses to die, and it’s becoming a problem. In the rest of the world, popular dishes have wonderful flavours and aromas. Pregnant mothers prepare and eat these dishes, and their growing baby gets to experience them as well. Once a baby is born it often gets similar tastes through mom’s milk. So why would a baby enjoy suddenly bland beige food after experiencing such variety of flavour? I’m not saying give your kid a buffalo wing to eat, but cook your food as normal, your baby will thank you. The only seasoning to watch out for is salt, as babies cannot handle high levels of sodium in their bodies.Babies need flavour and texture in their food, not bland processed mush! Click To Tweet
I hope that by busting these baby feeding rules I’ve helped to relieve some of the stress of being a parent. I’m a mom of 2 and I get it. It’s not easy, especially when you feel like the world is watching you and waiting for you to screw up. The best recipe for a healthy happy baby is healthy happy parents, so enjoy that baby and step back from the stress.
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