Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Infant Food Introduction Check List

I've had this Food Introduction Check List on my client site for a while now, and have decided to make it public. The parents and I coordinate the food introductions to their infants in conjunction with their pediatrician's recommendations. 

I consider food introduction to be simply a muscle building exercise and learning activity for the first few weeks. It really doesn't matter what they are given when most of it will end up NOT going down. I here a lot of talk about rice cereal being a waste because of its low nutritional value, but its good aspect is that the consistency can be easily manipulated to an infant's preference. Some like their first foods runny, some like them thick. It also takes on the flavor of whatever it is mixed with, which is usually breast milk or formula, so the infant accepts it readily as it tastes familiar. It is also cheap, so if most of it gets everywhere BUT in the stomach, it's not a big deal. 

 Eating is a learned process and
as with any learning,
takes practice!!

The tongue is the last muscle in the human body to fully develop. Sucking, eating and babbling all help to form that muscle and enable an infant to eat and speak well. Eating, however, requires a full mouth movement of the tongue, and enhances tongue muscle formation greatly. 

Avocado is the best brain food for baby, so early and often on that one. Sweet potatoes are a super food, providing a holistic punch of vitamins and minerals. These are my two favorites for starting and keeping as constants in an infant diet.

Remember that breastfed babies are used to a constantly changing taste in their milk. They usually readily accept new foods on taste, but may not on texture. Formula fed babies, however, have had absolutely no variances in taste their entire lives. They are usually less ready to try different foods and may reject them more often. Remember that tastes are LEARNED. They are all new to your infant. If s/he rejects your offering, try to get at least a taste into his/her mouth. It may take 10-12 introductions before your infant will accept a food. 


Remember that you didn't like coffee or alcohol the first time you tasted it, either. As I always say,


Don't limit your infants taste experiences simply because they don't immediately take to a specific food. For more information on this, check out my blog post Picky Eaters Are Created

Food is THE ONLY complete 5-senses experience. Every time an infant experiences a new taste or texture, they build new brain connections. It is a wonderful, rich learning experience that you can provide.

Tags: infant, toddler, food, introduction, checklist, list, picky, eater, first, foods, solids, solid, best, baby

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