Times are a’changin’ when it comes to feeding your wee babe. While some things are no different, like avoiding honey until 12 months of age, others, like what to do about peanuts, have changed completely.
Having started three babies on solids in the last 5 years, I read these new recommendations and leaped for joy for all you new mamas out there. A lot of the old, rigid rules are being thrown out the window and have been replaced with a way more laid back attitude that mostly consists of: feed your baby FOOD. Like, real food.
The New Baby Feeding Guidelines
So for starters, Health Canada used to say start with iron-fortified baby cereal (rice, oat, whatever) and then move on to fruits and veggies. The new recommendation is that iron is still super important but baby’s first food can instead be an iron-rich food, like meat, beans, lentil, eggs, etc.
Another new recommendation is to NOT puree those fruits and vegetables, the idea being that you’ll get less resistance from your babe later if he starts out knowing that food is, well, lumpy. Get on board, kid! Just be sure that any chunks are small enough that your baby won’t choke. And no hard chunks, like crunchy peanut butter. Nut flecks don’t mess around, yo! But you’re smart, so you already know these things.
They also recommend ditching the sippy cup and letting your baby drink a small amount of water from a regular cup. This will take an amazing amount of patience on your part and probably about 80 rolls of paper towels, but again, you’ll get no resistance later when it’s time to give up sippys!
What about potential allergens?
Another big change has to do with the order in which parents introduce foods, especially allergens. The old recommendation was to carefully introduce new foods one at a time to watch for potential reactions, and to delay the major allergens (peanuts, soy, egg) until the second or third year of life.
Well, now strike that, reverse it!
You can officially go nuts with blending bananas, oats, and spinach (YOU REBEL!), and you can add high allergen foods (peanuts, egg, dairy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy) into their diet at the same age as other foods. In fact, recent studies show that early and sustained introduction, especially in high-risk kiddos, is the best way to reduce the chances of that kid developing a food allergy later on.
It’s important to note these high allergen foods should be fed one at a time, and to spaced out over a few days so you’ll know if there’s a problem.
Hopefully, these new baby feeding guidelines help you get your kiddo on the right track to a healthy and diverse diet. And if not, at the very least, the new pureed food stains on your carpet will match your drapes.