Common Feeding Myths Uncovered

As a new parent, you will receive a lot of advice from just about everyone you meet on every possible topic related to raising a child. One of the most popular topics is feeding, as everyone has an opinion on what is the right way to go about it. Unfortunately, some myths are being perpetuated by these well-meaning people. The best way to stop the spread of feeding myths is to uncover the truth.

Feeding Myth #1: Solids Help Babies Sleep

You’re exhausted, and you feel like if you have to get up one more time in the middle of the night you are going to keel over. It’s not hard for a new parent in a state of sleep deprivation to cling to any possible thread of hope for a better night’s sleep. So when a friend or relative suggests adding solids to baby food diet earlier than you had planned, it sounds fairly reasonable. After all, if baby stays full longer, he will sleep longer, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t true. There is no evidence that starting solids early, or really at any time, has any effect on a baby’s sleep patterns or the duration of night sleep.

Right now, the AAP recommends waiting until baby is 6 months old to start solids. While it may be tempting to start your baby early in search of better sleep, it’s not a good idea. Babies need to be developmentally and physically ready for solids before starting. Giving a baby whose digestive system isn’t ready for it solids might cause gastrointestinal upset – which could disturb sleep even more.

Feeding Myth #2: Fatty Baby Foods Will Make Your Baby Fat

Although a diet high in fats isn’t a good idea for grown-ups, babies need a lot of fat to promote brain development. Babies under 2 should always get the full fat version of foods like milk and other dairy products. Foods like avocadoes are very high in fat, but contain the good fats that your baby needs to grow. Never put a baby on a low fat diet, and if you have concerns about your baby’s weight, talk to your pediatrician.

Feeding Myth #3: Giving a Baby Fruits Before Vegetables Leads to a Sweet Tooth

This popular myth states that if you give a baby fruits as a first food, your baby will refuse to eat vegetables due to having developed a preference for sweet foods. The truth is, there is no evidence that starting fruits first will cause your baby to dislike vegetables. As for the sweet tooth, all babies are born with a taste for the sweet. This natural preference exists because breast milk is sweet, and babies are predisposed to prefer the taste of breast milk over anything else.

Feeding Myth #4: You Can’t Start Finger Foods Without Teeth

Babies can learn to chew even before they have teeth. Most babies will develop their front teeth, the incisors, first, which aren’t even helpful in chewing most foods. Molars don’t usually appear until much later, when your baby is already quite proficient at chewing a number of foods by mashing them with her gums. There is no reason to wait until the first few teeth appear to start finger foods – just watch for signs of readiness and choose foods that will dissolve easily in the mouth, and can be mashed without real chewing.

While these are only a few of the rumors you may hear about feeding your baby, hopefully this list will encourage you to seek out the truth before taking any steps to change your baby’s diet.

Leave a Reply