Food Before One Is So Much More Than Just For Fun
Has anyone ever told you that “food before one is just for fun?” It’s one of those catch phrases new parents will hear a lot but just like so many common myths out there (like going outside during an eclipse when pregnant will give your baby a cleft palate), it’s exactly that: a myth.
Food before one is so much more than just for fun. In fact, it is more important than at any other stage of a child’s development. Not only do babies from six months on need adequate amounts of iron to develop healthily – a nutrient that breast milk or formula alone cannot sufficiently provide – it is also in these very early stages of experiencing flavor that babies’ palates and food preferences are shaped for life.
First Tastes and Memories
The more variety of fresh ingredients and different tastes babies are exposed to right from the beginning, the more likely they are to grow up to become healthy and happy eaters. And this already starts before they’ve even had their very first mouthful of solids.
Scientists have discovered that not only are the flavors of foods mothers eat passed on to babies through amniotic fluid and breast milk but babies begin to form memories of these flavors even before they are born. One study, for instance, found that babies, whose mothers often drank carrot juice during pregnancy and nursing, happily ate twice as much carrot-flavored cereal compared with babies whose mothers avoided carrot juice. On the flipside, babies, whose mothers consume a lot of junk food, will be much more likely to be drawn to unhealthy and processed foods. What this means is that the foods a mother eats while expectant or breastfeeding can result in her child’s preferences for these foods for a lifetime to come.
Vegetable and Variety
Once babies start to eat solids, variety is what’s most important. “Children are very receptive to new tastes [during weaning] and we want to take advantage of that opportunity by introducing a great variety of vegetables during that time,” says Dr Alison Fildes, a research psychologist at University College London, whose study found that starting babies on a variety of simple vegetables during the first 15 days of introducing solids makes them significantly more willing to try, accept and like new vegetables later on.
So the conclusion is simple: Give your baby lots of healthy foods from the start and you’ll have a healthy and adventurous eater. Feed them a repetitive diet of bland tastes and you’ll end up with a fussy one.
Easy As Pie – Or Not?
All this makes a lot of sense and seems pretty straightforward, right? But the reality is that starting solids can be extremely daunting for new parents. When do you start? How do you start? Which are good first foods and which aren’t? How often do you safely introduce new ingredients? And what if your baby chokes or has an allergic reaction?
These are just some of the questions parents might be asking themselves and with the internet being a jungle of conflicting information, it’s no surprise that often it’s anxiety rather than happiness that rules mealtime.
21 Days To Solids
At Little Foodie Club, we understand that starting solids can be daunting. That’s why we have designed the Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan: to help, support and enable parents to introduce their baby to solid foods with confidence and ease.
Developed in conjunction with a leading pediatrician, the plan helps you to introduce a new ingredient from our carefully selected range of organic vegetables and fruits each day for 21 days, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy eating. Our plan comes with a handbook to guide parents through the process and beginnings of introducing solid foods, from when a baby is ready to start, to what you’ll need to get started, how and when to feed your baby, and troubleshooting tips; plus a fun meal planner for each day of the process.
So if you want to give your baby the best start to a lifetime of healthy eating and also make food before one fun but need a little help in getting started, Little Foodie Club is here to support you all the way.