4 Common Myths about Introducing Solid Foods
Myth #1: Infants need to be spoon-fed by an adult
At 6 months old (which is the recommended age to start solid foods), infants are typically developmentally advanced enough to feed themselves. Some people call this the “baby-led” or self-feeding approach. Basically the approach just means that you give your infant finger foods from the start. This goes along with the myth that you need to make special foods for your baby. If you are following a self-feeding approach, the baby can eat what you are eating. Research has shown that this approach can lead to development of more positive eating behaviors because the baby is in charge of how much and what they choose to eat.
Myth #2: Solid food introduction should start with vegetables
This myth comes from a good place. When introducing solids you are in a short window of time where you can have a strong influence over the foods your child may like. Should you expose your child to a large variety of vegetables? Of course! But do you need to serve only vegetables for the first few weeks? Definitely not. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t as your priority when planning meals should be iron-rich foods. These foods can of course be served along with vegetables (and fruit!) but there is no reason to just serve vegetables. And there is no reason to exclude fruit. Breastmilk and formula are very sweet so the idea that a baby will “get used to” the sweet taste of fruit and not like vegetables is just not true.
Myth #3: An babies face looking disgusted means they don’t like the food and you shouldn't give it to them again
Everything is new at this stage, all of the flavors and textures can be surprising for infants. Your infant may try the same food again if presented in a different way, with different flavors, cooking technique or even the exact same way. It takes awhile for babies to get used to some flavors or textures so you can keep trying with the same food.
Myth #4: When introducing foods you need to wait 3 to 5 days before introducing another food
The only reason to wait between introducing foods is when you are introducing allergen foods. The reason for this is if a reaction occurs it is easier to pinpoint. Reactions typically occur within a 24 hour period and it is very rare to have an allergic reaction to foods not in the top 8 (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, sesame, cow’s milk, eggs, fish). When introducing any other foods you do not have to wait and can combine foods just as you would for yourself.
Have more questions about introducing solid foods? Interested in the self-feeding approach but nervous about doing it on your own? Check out my class, Confidently Start Solid Foods where I walk you through everything that you need to know to start solids with videos & handouts AND I am available to ask questions for 8 months!
Brown, A., Jones, S. W., & Rowan, H. (2017). Baby-Led Weaning: The Evidence to Date. Current nutrition reports, 6(2), 148–156. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-017-0201-2