Feeding babies not so complicated

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: January 3rd, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Think a bowl of mushy peas or carrots is the only meal a baby can stomach?

Think again. Experts say babies’ tummies may not be as sensitive as most parents think.

But the news about what babies can eat often doesn’t make it to the ears of parents, who are often encouraged to feed babies rice cereal when starting solid foods, and then move to vegetables and other foods.

There’s no scientific evidence to back up these guidelines, though, and because early food habits can last a lifetime, experts say it may be more important to broaden baby’s palate than to stick to bland foods.

With obesity rates rising, some experts say processed rice cereal could be one of the worst foods for kids. According to the American Dietetic Association, the more fruits and vegetables babies eat, the better food choices they will make as they age.

Studies show breast milk is best for babies, but after six months, pediatricians say children can handle most foods. And the American Academy of Pediatrics says toddlers should be able to eat the same foods the rest of the family is eating by the time they turn one.

So should parents throw out the farina and load their children’s pint-size plates with quesadillas or stir-fried vegetables? That depends. Doctors say parents should also consider the family’s history of allergies when choosing meals. Either way, the choices for children aren’t as limited as most parents think.

Who wants to eat mushy peas anyway?