Do Babies Need Variety in their Diets? Without Variety will you raise a picky eater?
You’ve started your baby on solids and have been enjoying watching her discover all the tastes and textures of the new foods offered at feeding time. She may smile or scrunch up her face so pitifully that you think you may well be feeding her poison. You may be wondering also if perhaps she just needs more variety.
Variety is limited in the early stages of introducing solid foods because an infant’s cuisine is very limited. However at this time, many pediatric authorities are now suggesting that babies can be fed any food you wish to feed them; of course you need to keep food allergies in mind. New foods are still recommended to be introduced every 3-4 days so you can watch for possible reactions. This may leave your baby eating the same food(s) for several days in a row until around the 8 month old mark. It is around 8 months old that the food offerings become more varied as foods introduced are many.
In the very early stages of introducing solid foods to your baby, you may be lamenting that your baby has nothing to eat but the same boring old rice or oatmeal, cereal, bananas, applesauce and sweet potatoes and squash. That lack of variety and rotating of the same few foods during a week’s span seems awfully boring and somehow cruel. We would become very very frustrated with the same offerings at every meal for many days or weeks in a row. Take heart parents, babies do not need variety at this stage in the feeding game.
When would a baby begin to want some variety?
Babies do not have a great need for variety and they don’t necessarily crave variety until possibly around the 8-9 month old mark. Around this stage they may begin to assert their preferences for foods and their desire to try to feed themselves. Prior to this stage, they are just learning about tastes and textures and the “same ole boring cereal and fruit” idea really doesn’t come into play. Your baby has a clean palate and is not aware of the myriad of foods available yet. Her world of food consists of what she has thus far been given so longing for variety isn’t much of an issue. If you are cautious about feeding solids, this is good news. If you feel your little one is ready for more tastes and more variety you should jump right in but, do be sure to consult with your pediatrician!
If you feel the burning desire to try some variety, try some spices or new mixes. Be sure to ask your pediatrician about the appropriateness of spices for your infant prior to experimenting with them however. Mix up sweet potato and oatmeal cereal or add some cinnamon to that “boring” applesauce. Try to mix some veggies together such as sweet potato, squash and a dash of cinnamon. Fruits and veggies also are nice for baby; applesauce and carrots is yummy as is peas and pears. you’re thinking to yourself, “YUCK those mixes sound absolutely horrid.”.
Again, remember that babies do not have the discriminating palates that adults do. They do not know that certain foods should simply never be mixed.
Take this as an opportunity to build good eating practices and habits. It is possible that your baby will be less food picky into childhood. When you open yourself to mixes of the strange type and offer them to baby, you’re helping build a wide and varied palate without the food discrimination that many adults have.