By Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Registered Dietitian
Hi my name’s Nic, I’m a registered Dietitian and I usually post over at @mummynutrition. In this video I’m going to be talking about the top 10 weaning myths that I’ve heard!
FOOD BEFORE ONE IS JUST FOR FUN – Your baby’s iron stores start to run out from around 6 months of age, so it’s really important that food sources rich in iron such as meat, fish, beans as well as dark green leafy vegetables, are introduced when they’re ready. Weaning is also essential for getting them used to the idea of food, and also learning how to chew and swallow!
IF A BABY IS EATING A HEALTHY DIET THEY DON’T NEED SUPPLEMENTS – Babies need supplementation with Vitamin D from birth if they are exclusively breastfed, in addition to Vitamins A & C from 6 months until the age of 5. Formula fed babies need supplementation with A,C & D once they are having less than 500ml of formula a day until the same age. It will take some time for your baby to become comfortable with the concept of eating and getting used to new flavours, so supplements are required to ensure they’re getting all the essential vitamins that they need.
WEANING BABIES SHOULD BE GIVEN ONE NEW FOOD EVERY 3 DAYS – This only applies to potential allergens such as peanuts and sesame which need to be introduced slowly and gradually into your baby’s diet so it’s easier to pinpoint if a food is causing a reaction.
YOU CAN’T GIVE BABIES FINGER FOODS UNTIL THEY’RE ABLE TO EAT PUREES – You can give well cooked, soft foods, around the size of an adult’s finger from 6 months provided your baby can sit up and hold themselves steady in a high chair, can bring food or a spoon to their mouth and have lost their tongue-thrust reflex, which means they don’t just spit food straight back out.
BABY RICE IS A GOOD WEANING FOOD TO START WITH – Although baby rice can though be useful to thicken a veg puree if it’s too runny, and some brands do contain added iron, vegetables are more of an ideal first food. When it comes to vegetables, you want to make sure that they’re ‘squishable’ at first (you can test this by squeezing it between your thumb and finger). We personally started with green vegetables before moving onto sweeter vegetables such as carrots.
RUSKS ARE AN IDEAL FINGER FOOD – No, rusks aren’t an ideal finger food as although they contain some essential vitamins and minerals, one of the main ingredients sugar(!). Better options include steamed vegetables, soft fruit, skinless cucumber or even melty puffs.
IF BABIES GO A LITTLE BIT RED AROUND THE MOUTH AFTER EATING A FOOD, THEY SHOULDN’T BE GIVEN IT AGAIN – Not necessarily, as this could be a contact reaction (babies have sensitive skin and can react to acidic foods such as tomatoes). As long as they aren’t showing any other signs of an allergic reaction you could try applying a barrier around their mouth next time e.g. vaseline, to see if this helps.
BABIES NEED SNACKS – In general babies don’t need snacks until around 12 months old as their breast or formula milk is suitable between meals before this. Before you introduce snacks, you should ensure they’re comfortably eating three nutritious meals a day to obtain their energy and nutrient requirements.
BABIES WILL LIKE EVERYTHING THE FIRST TIME! – If only it was that easy! It may take several tries for your baby to like and accept a new food, especially more bitter tastes such as green vegetables, but the more they are exposed (hopefully) the more they like it!
WEANING IS EASY – Please don’t feel disappointed if you don’t find weaning easy, as in reality it’s messy, time consuming and requires research, planning and preparation! Remember though, weaning is an exciting milestone in your baby’s first year and the more you practice and feel comfortable with the process, the easier it will be.
I really hope you find this video useful and please do give it a thumbs up if you can. Thank you so much for watching guys and I’ll see you soon!