Baby Food Myths Busted
Myth: A breastfed baby is at risk of iron deficient anemia and should only eat iron fortified commercial baby foods.
Truth: Other than commercial baby cereal, jarred baby food is not fortified with iron! For a healthy full-term infant, breastmilk will meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs for at least the first six months of life. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not be required or needed for a healthy, full-term breastfed baby during the first year. Many studies have pointed out the fact that it is possible that supplements, water, juice, and even solid foods seldom benefit a healthy breastfed baby; indeed some studies indicate that during the first six months of life, some of these things may be harmful.
Myth: Blueberries are highly allergenic like strawberries are – don’t feed them to baby until after 1 year old!
Truth: Blueberries are not really a common allergen – they are not in the “berry” family. Blueberries are related to cranberries – cranberries appear on many lists of “least allergenic foods.” Blueberries are not related to strawberries, raspberries and the like. Those “true” berries may be mild to highly allergenic. In the book, Managing Allergy and Intolerance, blueberries are recommended between 6-9 months old. There are also several other pediatric allergy books that say that blueberries are OK from 6-9 months old as well.
Myth: My baby has no teeth – he can’t eat Baby Finger Foods yet!
Truth: Babies do not chew with their teeth, they mash with their gums. Molars are the teeth that we use to chew our foods with. An infant will not begin to cut molars until around 10-16 months or older. The last set of molars to come in typically occurs around two years old. You may offer baby finger foods as long as they are easily mashable between the gums. Try pinching the food you wish to offer between your thumb and forefinger or try to mash and dissolve the food in your mouth without chewing or biting down; swirl the food around your mouth. Most children have all 20 baby teeth by the age of two-and-a-half to three years. The permanent teeth continue to develop within the jaw. Baby teeth erupt in pairs on the right and left of the mouth, alternating between the lower and upper jaws, and proceeding from front to back.
Myth: Giving your baby a fruit as a “first” solid will cause baby to reject and dislike veggies.
Truth: The order of food introduction really doesn’t matter. Some say the veggies first so a “sweet tooth” doesn’t develop for fruits. If your baby is breast fed, she is already receiving the sweetest food there is! Others say fruits first so that baby will enjoy her first foods and not be as likely to reject solids. Still others say yellow first then green while some say green before yellow so baby doesn’t reject the yellow… There is no hard scientific evidence to prove any of the above; you find many babies LOVE their green veggies and HATE their fruits and vice versa. We personally introduced foods in an order something like sweet potato then bananas then peaches then another veggie then another fruit and some homemade cereal along the way too!
Myth: My baby should drink the “baby” juice made by “the” baby food companies because the juice is special.
Truth: “Baby juice” is not special nor is it magical! You would do better by purchasing “adult” 100% natural juice! Ensure that the juice (or even applesauce!) you purchase has no ingredients other than apples (or another fruit) and water. A few juices will contain Ascorbic Acid – this is fine as Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C. You want to stay away from any type of juice or other food that contains high fructose corn syrup. Many fruit juices will contain this yucky ingredient so please read the labels! Many parents do not wish to offer their infants any type of fruit juice at all and we do not advocate fruit juice as a constant beverage. Juices should be used very sparingly, if at all! We recommend always diluting any juice that is offered! Juices are good for helping to alleviate constipation.