Pea puree and banana mush. No, no, no. Gabriella won’t eat that. She detests anything that comes out of a jar.
I can’t count how many food fights we’ve had at the dinner table. So I gave up. I started feeding her “big people” food months ago. We started with applesauce and mashed potatoes. Now she eats pasta, black-eyed peas, yellow rice and fajita meat. She’s a very healthy eater for a one-year-old. She loves fruits and veggies.
For a long time, I felt bad — mommy guilt — that she skipped a step. I thought she “had” to eat pureed foods. But now I’m finding more mothers are introducing table foods to their children at an earlier age.
In fact, a new study by the British Medical Journal encourages baby-led weaning — letting infants wean themselves from breast milk or formula by self-feeding soft, bite-sized foods, rather than being spoon-fed by the parent. The study, published this week, looked at 155 children ages 20 months to 6 years old. Their parents provided detailed information on the children’s weaning style and food preferences.
The report said babies who learn to feed themselves early on may develop healthier eating habits and be less likely to become overweight. I read a Time Healthland article, titled “Skip the Strained Peas. Let Babies Feed Themselves”, to see how so.
According to the article, researchers found that more kids had been weaned on finger foods (92) than on spoon-fed purees (63), and some key differences between them: finger-fed babies preferred carbs — like toast and pita breads — over sweets, while spoon-fed children liked sweet foods most.
On average, the baby-led group were at a healthy weight; in comparison, the spoon-fed kids were more likely to be overweight or obese. The researchers accounted for other factors that could contribute to eating habits or weight, such as breast-feeding, family income and parents’ obesity.
Experts say parents should feel free to let kids feed themselves as long as they give them nutritious options, such as fruits and vegetables, low-sodium proteins, complex carbs and foods that are high in iron like hard-boiled eggs.
When did you start feeding your infant table food?