When it comes to starting solids for babies, many parents feel confused and even overwhelmed.
Let’s debunk some of these common feeding myths when it comes to starting solids with our baby with some evidence-based feeding information so you can feel more confident going into this journey with your baby!
1. Babies should start solid food at 4 months
When most of us were growing up, this was common advice and what health professionals would advise HOWEVER it is now advised to start closer to 6 months old. This is the age when infants have reached the milestones needed to safely feed. Age is less important than physically being ready to safely feed. Six months old is now the recommended age by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information on the Signs of Readiness for starting solids and how to tell if your baby is ready, check out this article.
2. Babies need teeth to start solids
This is also something parents commonly believe or at least that babies can only have pureed/mashed foods until they have teeth but this is also not true! Starting from the very beginning babies can have solid foods. Now the food does need to be safely prepared for your baby to self-feed but even without teeth, babies are completely capable of starting with soft, solid foods. Babies have strong jaws and gums that will be able to mash soft foods! More on this here.
3. Start with veggies first or they will never like them
The most common and most untrue statement when it comes to starting solids is that you “have to start with veggies”. Truly, I hate this statement. Offering veggies is important for raising a kid that likes them but “first” doesn’t matter as much as “how often“.
If you offer broccoli first but then not again until they are 3, they aren’t necessarily going to just pick it up and eat it. But if they see that same food fairly often, served in a variety of ways, then they have a chance to truly learn to like eating it and find a way they enjoy. Remember, it takes about 15-30 exposure to a food for a child to try it -that’s normal. But the only way they learn to like things is if you offer them, and often.
4. Start with 3 meals per day
It is exciting when starting solids and many parents want to jump right in with 3 meals per day, but this isn’t necessary. Starting with just one opportunity to eat solids in the beginning and slowly building up to 3 meals while still letting milk (breast or formula) be the main source of nutrition. You can read more about this here.
5. Food before 1 is just for fun
I hear this all the time and it is one of those phrases that I would call “half true”. Because yes, milk (breast or formula) will be a baby’s main source of nutrition until 1-year-old however food before 1 has much more of a purpose than “just for fun”. Food before 1 is for learning, it is for exploring, it is for setting a foundation of different flavors, textures, and skills that will be useful the rest of their life. So yes, while food before one isn’t super important for nutrition (besides iron, more on that here) it is important for helping your baby have a solid foundation when it does come time for solid food to be the main source of nutrition at 1 year of age.
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**The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. For more information please read our full disclaimer here.**