healthy families blog



Baby's First Bites

A big study came out this week that suggests that the foods babies are exposed to in their first year can influence their palates for life. Here is a good write-up on it from the New York Times: Childhood Diet Habits Set in Infancy, Studies Suggest.

I’ve always thought of introducing solids to babies as an exciting and special time that deserves some thought and planning. However, I’ve read surveys about first foods that reveal some babies are given sips of Coke and bites of French fries when they are just a few weeks old, so I know that not all parents agree with me! This extensive review indicates that exposure to sweet and salty foods early on sets the stage for future vegetable rejection and childhood obesity.

Of course, many factors contribute to eating competence and a healthy weight. Most of you already know that I feel strongly that how you feed is as important--if not more important--than what you feed. Using the Division of Responsibility in feeding and having family meals are two extremely important factors that contribute to a good, varied diet and protect against obesity. But what you feed your family is still important. Absolutely make vegetables and fruits some of baby’s first foods. Keep in mind that most babes will make a funny face when they try a new food for the first time—especially foods that aren’t sweet. That doesn’t mean that your kid doesn’t like it! Continue to offer not-yet-accepted foods in a neutral fashion; never force food into a baby’s mouth (unless you want them to reject it for the rest of their lives). Kids need at least 12 exposures, but sometimes many more, before they truly accept a new food. Raising kids who eat a variety of healthful foods can be a long road, but it can be made more enjoyable when you have family meals and you eat and actually enjoy healthful foods like vegetables yourself. For ideas about what to feed babies when they start solids, scroll all the way down to the first entries of this blog to read about my adventures in feeding Big J her first foods. 

Be Healthy,

- Jessica