The current excess of available information has led to a point where parents don’t really know what to do, sometimes leading to inconsistent messages that create confusion in the little ones.
Some of the most common myths and practices on children’s nutrition are refuted here below:
Toddlers with no teeth are not able to eat chunks of food and therefore have to eat soft food or porridges until they get most of their teeth.
False. Toddlers can eat chunks of food as soon as they can grab them with their hands. Their gums will chew food progressively as they learn how to eat and swallow. It is sometimes their parent’s fear what prevents the children from exploring and acquiring this skill at early stages. Some children doing baby -led- weaning can eat chicken breast by themselves as early as 6 months or even earlier!
Babies need cereal porridge to supplement their nourishment.
False. Cereal porridge may be necessary in certain cases when children don’t tolerate cow’s milk or are underweight but in most cases adding this supplement could be avoided, especially as most of them have high levels of sugar and are highly processed. If you want to give cereal to your baby, start with bread and rice while sitting at the table.
Babies need to have special food prepared for them.
False. Babies learn by example and the sooner they learn how to eat like adults the better. Adapt the food prepared for adults to their needs, for example adding less salt, avoiding species or sauces and they will be able to eat like the rest of the family members very soon, which is also convenient for parents who don’t have to worry about cooking different meals.
Babies should eat first.
False. Making babies sit at the table not only helps bonding in family moments but also creates a feeling that “I eat like everyone else” not making his/her eating a central event. Eating should be a nice time for everyone, not just a moment when the parent feeds the baby.
Babies need to eat several types of fruits and vegetables to get all the vitamins they need.
False. Most of the fruits and veggies have the same vitamins, so eating one type of fruit or veggie can be enough to get all the vitamin needs of a toddler. Even veggies can cover the lack of eating fruits, if your baby doesn’t like them. So, don’t worry, just make sure some fresh greens or fruits are in your toddlers diet daily and this will be sufficient.
Babies need to eat certain amount of food in every meal to be well nourished.
False. Do you always feel like eating the same amount of food? Neither do babies. Babies are like little animals that have a sensor that tells them how much to eat. If they are hungry they will eat and if they are not, they won’t. Never, ever oblige them. You might create a repulse for food if you make them eat when they are already full.