Nutritionist Julia Wolman reveals the 7 most common baby weaning myths and explains the truth behind them...parents are you surprised by any of these?
1. Babies Can't Eat Food with Lumps Without Teeth
Actually, they can. Babies’ gums are strong enough to deal with lumps. Some babies don’t get their first tooth until well after their first birthday, but a range of textured food is absolutely fine for baby to digest and actually encouraged when weaning.
2. Babies Shouldn't Play with Their Food
They most definitely should at this stage of exploration. Playing with food is an important part of baby’s discovery of textures and tastes and physical skills like the pincer action for picking up things and co-ordination to put food into their mouths. Research has indicated that sensory play makes infants more likely to choose to eat healthy foods as they grow up. Play, self-discovery and new experiences also encourages baby to be adventurous and try new things. Yes, it’s messy - but so worth it.
3. Weaning Will Help Babies Sleep Through the Night
A common assumption but unfortunately it won't, as eating and sleeping are unrelated behaviors. Weaning should not be started in the hopes that it will 'cure' any night time distress or unsettling feeling. Establishing a successful sleep routine can be difficult in the early stages which differs with each child. If you're worried about your baby's sleeping habits or lack of sleep during the night, seek the advice of a pediatrician or healthcare professional.
4. Babies Should Have a Savory Course Followed by Sweet
There is no right or wrong meal structure during the weaning stages and it’s definitely not something to worry about this early on. Babies learn from the people around them: typically, parents decide on the “savory then sweet” order of eating, which becomes the 'norm'. The important thing at this stage is to allow your baby to try different tastes together, experiment with a combination of sweet and savory flavors at the same time.
5. You Should Introduce a New Food Every 3 Days!
This would simply take forever! Introduce new foods on a daily basis, and mix them with flavors you already know your baby likes. Don’t give up if baby pulls the yuck-face at a spoonful of lovingly-prepared food – it can take many attempts for baby to accept something new. It’s really important to introduce foods which are more likely to cause an allergic reaction slowly but early on – things like cow’s milk, eggs, and gluten should be presented one at a time, so you can identify any allergies they may have.
6. It's Up to Mom to Decide How Much Baby Should Eat
Wrong again! Babies know when they're hungry or not. Instead of dictating how much they should be eating, we should let baby figure it out themselves. Your baby will let you know when they’re finished! During the transition into solid foods, they’ll still be getting breast or formula milk, rich in the nutrients they need.
7. Babies are Ready for Weaning When they Chew their Fists
Not necessarily: this may be because they've just discovered their fists, which usually happens around 4 months. Fist-chewing, waking in the night, and wanting extra milk feeds are all normal behaviors for babies and do not necessarily mean baby is ready to start solid foods.
Feature Editor: Jasmine Davis