Debunking Baby Food Myths
You may be surprised to learn that many baby food rules, once thought to be truths written in stone, are changing. Learn what experts now recommend as the best foods for your growing baby as we bust six common baby-feeding myths.
Myth #1: Baby’s First Food Must be Rice Cereal
There is an almost universal agreement in the American medical community that rice cereal is an ideal first food. It’s great from a texture standpoint, as well as a nutritional one. When it’s time to introduce your baby to solid foods—at around six months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—rice cereal is a great place to start.
“Grain cereals have been traditional foods for infants for generations and are fortified with iron (and some with zinc), which makes them even more nutritious,” says Dr. Kleinman. “What has changed is our understanding that other foods, traditionally held back from infants, such as meats, are in fact appropriate for infants, as they can help promote optimal nutrition when introduced early in a child’s feeding program.”
So rice cereal is not the only good potential first food. Once a baby reaches six months, most any soft, hypoallergenic food is fine. For example, “although you don’t have to start with rice cereal absolutely, you shouldn’t replace that with peanut butter, either,” says Dr. Ari Brown, author of Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Baby’s First Year, a spokesperson for the Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician in private practice in Texas.
“Is it OK to offer meat first? Yeah, sure,” answers Dr. Brown. “If you want to introduce a mashed sweet potato, applesauce, or another hypoallergenic food, that’s fine.” The key is to allow enough time after introducing a new food to check for allergic reactions.
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