(I made a nifty little guide to go along with this post that you can put on your fridge. Click here to get my Cave Baby Feeding Regimen guide.)
“I’ve read so much about starting solids on the internet….I’m more confused than ever!” a recent parent disclosed at their four month well check. “Yellow veggies first or orange fruits? How many days in between each? What about peanut butter…I’ve heard to give it or don’t give it. And how much food do I give him?”
I’m afraid we doctors are to blame for the mess of confusion about feeding babies.
You see, last century we had a bunch of ideas about THE way to introduce foods….you have to feed this color first, and then this type….and you must wait three days between to ensure no allergies….and you must not mix foods….and you must not expose to peanuts or eggs until this age.
There was even a handout. It was in all CAPS….all very stern and paternalistic.
And parents followed that for quite some time…and then peanut-free lunch tables started popping up. And expensive feeding regimens. And $400 epinephrine pens were found in so many backpacks and purses. And 3 straight days of peas….ugh. And we realized we were making this way too complicated. Not only was it complicated, it was unhealthy.
It turns out that we (humans) had this figured out right for a long time….like tens of thousands of years…basically back as far as we humans go.
Pretend you’re a cave mom or a cave dad. You happen upon and quickly gather some squash and an apple. You bring it home, mash it up, and give it to the baby. Your cave spouse doesn’t knock the spoon at of your hand and berate you for feeding the baby squash because yesterday you fed him strawberries. You don’t hold out on the apple because the baby is having squash and what about alleriges…. you just give the baby everything you gathered so you all survive.
Just feed the baby….that’s all.
How should I introduce foods to my infant? Pretend you’re cavemom and cavedad…just feed them whatever you gather.
You can introduce in any order. The ordering of foods does not matter. Let me repeat: The ordering of foods does not matter. Do peas first….or last….or third. Anything goes. Going in a certain order doesn’t impact allergy development or cause or prevent picky eaters down the road. Just feed her.
Don’t stress about how “good” the food makes you feel. Feeding your baby shouldn’t induce guilt about not giving them local, heirloom, organic, cage-free green beans. Jarred baby food is totally fine….our caveparent ancestors would have killed for the baby food aisle! Just feed him.
You can mix it up. There’s no need to stick to the same food for three days (I hear that one all the time). Who wants to eat peas for three days straight? That’s not how our cave baby ancestors survived….they fed their baby squash one day and pureed brontosaurus the next. Just feed him.
Let her choose. I’m all for letting baby decide what and when they want to eat. It’s fine to give finger foods early and allow baby to try. She’ll tell you if she’s not ready.
You can (and should) feed them all those things they used to say never to feed a baby. Exposing baby to peanut before 12 months helps protect against peanut allergies. Same for eggs. Mix some peanut butter in with a puree or let them try it on some cut up toast. Scrambled eggs are a great food for baby to pickup and try and get in their mouth.
Only one restriction. No honey until 12 months. Honey can continue botulism spores that baby’s gut can’t fight off until around 12 months. Once he is 12 months old, you can give honey without any worry.
Just feed the baby….that’s all.
I made a nifty little handout for my patients to put on their fridge to remind them of how to feed their babies….I’d love to share it with you. Click here to get my Cave Baby Feeding Regimen guide.
What’s your little one eating tonight??