- In This Feature
- Fact or Fiction
- Myth #1: Baby's First Food Must be Rice Cereal
- Myth #2: Babies are at High Risk for Food Allergies
- Myth #3: If a Baby Refuses Food He Doesn't Like It
- Myth #4: Babies Know Exactly What They Need to Eat
- Myth #5: Commercial Baby Food is Preferable to Table Food
- Myth #6: Parents Should Only Offer a Small Variety of Bland Foods
- Myth #7: If I Feed My Baby Well, It Doesn't Matter What I Eat
Fact or Fiction
Milk for breakfast, milk for lunch, and milk for dinner. For the first four to six months of your baby’s life, his or her diet consists solely of milk, whether from breast or bottle. But then, around the six-month mark, babies begin to need solid foods. For some parents, this is a welcome change: something fun to celebrate, videotape, and enjoy. But for many parents, this transition can cause anxiousness.
Various sources of information offer conflicting advice. Even well-meaning counsel from family members can confuse new parents, because recommendations have changed since they had young children.
Dr. Ronald Kleinman, chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital, recalls nutritional guidelines that differ greatly from today’s recommendations. “Several generations ago, doctors were quite dogmatic in establishing the order of what came first, next, and next. For example, the pediatrician would say, ‘First, rice cereal. Then, peas. Then, introduce a yellow vegetable.’ There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to that dogmatism.”
But in some ways, parents today would almost prefer a dogmatic approach; at least they could be sure that they were doing things the “right” way. There’s something very scary about setting out on a nutrition adventure with a baby. All kinds of fears and questions come up: what type of food is the best to start with? How much should my baby eat each day? What if he’s allergic to something I feed him? And it doesn’t help that lots of myths are floating around, confusing the matter even further.
Here are some of the old “conventional wisdoms” that have toppled under the findings of recent medical studies. Many such myths and outdated beliefs are plain wrong, while others just need a little updating.