|Baby Talk | Beech-Nut Mom | The Buzz|
Baby Food Myths
There’s a lot of information floating around about what and what not to feed your baby. Most soft or pureed foods are typically okay, but there are a few items that you should watch out for. And just because grandma says so, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s medically sound – although she means well.
Here’s the real deal on baby food myths.
Myth: Eating too much of certain foods is dangerous and can turn your baby yellow or orange.
Eating a large amount of orange and yellow baby foods can in fact turn your baby the same color. But it could also be a more serious condition, like jaundice, so make sure to contact your doctor.
Once your doctor rules out a serious condition, he or she may tell you that your baby has carotenemia (“kare-o-ten-EAM-e-ah”). Carotenemia means that your baby has more than the usual amount of carotene (“kare-o-TEEN”) in the blood. Carotene is the natural substance that gives carrots their orange color. Fortunately, carotenemia is harmless. The body converts only as much carotene to vitamin A as it needs. The remaining carotene is stored in the body tissues like the skin, where we see its yellow color.
Babies are more likely to turn yellow because of the way baby foods are prepared. Because baby foods are very finely pureed, the carotene in them is very easily digested and absorbed. It is easy to see why feeding a healthy baby one or two containers of pureed foods rich in carotene every day can make a healthy baby look a little yellow.
If you have questions about Beech-Nut® baby foods or infant feeding, call the Beech-Nut® Helpline at 1-800-BEECH-NUT (1-800-233-2468) weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central time or visit us at www.beechnut.com.
Please contact your pediatrician with any medical concerns. Generalities may not apply to your baby’s unique situation.
Myth: Blueberries (like strawberries) are highly allergenic, so don’t feed them to your baby until at least one year old.
Although called blueberries, they’re not in the berry family and not a common allergen. And blueberries aren’t related to strawberries, raspberries and other true berries that are known to be allergenic. By the way, strawberries that are cooked usually don’t cause an allergic reaction because the heat from cooking them destroys the allergenic substance in the fruit.
So blueberries are typically okay to feed your baby if she is at least six to nine months old. If you give your baby fresh blueberries, make sure to cut them in half to avoid choking.
Myth: Never feed your baby “fatty” foods.
This one could not be further from the truth. Your baby needs fat in her diet. Avocados are particularly high in fat, but it’s the good kind of fat that can lower bad cholesterol and help keep your baby’s heart healthy. Plus, avocados are high in fiber. Now that sounds like a great food choice for your little one.
Formula and breast milk also provide a high level of fats (good fats) that are essential for your baby’s brain development. Once you and your pediatrician decide that it’s time to wean your baby from the breast or bottle, you can give her the full-fat version of dairy products. But make sure not to switch to cow’s milk before your little one is at least one year old because it doesn’t contain much-needed iron, and has extra salt and protein that can strain your baby’s kidneys.
Once your little one is two years old, some pediatricians will recommend switching to low-fat milk, while others recommend waiting until she is at least three.
Myth: Breast-fed babies are at risk of iron deficiency and anemia, so they should eat iron-fortified baby foods or take supplements.
Your breast milk will meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs for at least the first six months of her life. Vitamin or mineral supplements are not needed for a healthy, full-term breast-fed baby during her first year. In fact, studies have shown that supplementing your baby’s diet with items other than breast milk – like vitamins, water, juice and even solid foods – won’t really benefit her during the first six months of life, and some items may even be harmful.
Myth: Babies don’t like solid foods.
Chances are, when your baby tries a new food, she makes the yucky-food face. That well-known face doesn’t necessarily mean that your little one doesn’t like her food, it just means that the new flavor may have thrown her for a loop.
It can take your baby up to 20 times of trying a new food to establish whether she truly likes it or not. If your baby is just starting to eat solids, it’ll be hard to tell what she actually likes for a while. Most of those funny faces will come from your baby getting used to the textures and tastes of new foods. Keep in mind that she’s tasted nothing but breast milk or formula for up to six months, so putting a spoonful of food into her mouth is quite a change. Try different flavors of baby foods, like Beech-Nut® Stage 1®, to help her decide what she likes. And don’t be afraid to go back and try rejected foods again.
Myth: Babies can’t eat solids if they don’t have teeth.
News flash: babies don’t chew with their teeth, they chew with their gums. Your baby won’t get her chewing teeth (molars) until she’s 10 to 16 months or older. But that won’t keep her from enjoying solid foods. Your little one can eat solids as long as they’re easily mashable between her gums. You can test the food by pinching it between your fingers to make sure it’s soft and baby friendly.
Beech-Nut® has a variety of soft and tasty foods made just for this pre-teeth stage in your baby’s life.
Myth: Meats are harder to digest so don’t introduce them until one year.
It’s simply not true. Not only are meats safe, they are a great source of protein. Once your baby’s willingly eating cereal and strained fruits and vegetables, you can add meat to his diet. It doesn’t matter if you introduce beef or poultry first. At this age, babies still tend to gag and don’t have molars for chewing.
You may find that your baby takes longer to accept meat than other foods. That’s because, in addition to a new taste, meat has a new texture. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests mixing your baby’s favorite vegetable into pureed, slightly warmed meat to help him adapt to the new flavor. But be careful with microwaving baby food meats. All foods in glass jars have a tendency to splatter.