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The Truth behind 8 Baby Feeding Trends of 2016

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The newest baby feeding debate has shifted the focus from breast milk vs. formula to when and how to introduce solid food.

Should you let baby self-feed? Is it sanitary to chew my baby’s food? Read on to learn what’s healthy, what isn’t and why.

Trend #1:
  • Baby feeding themselves

Sometimes called “baby-led weaning,” this trend advocates for babies to skip the “spoon-fed puree” stage and move straight to feeding themselves finger foods.

Healthy or Not?

Finger foods can easily become choking hazards for new eaters. The safest way to try self-feeding is by using foods such as soft avocado cubes or ripe bananas. These foods are easy to chew and digest.

Trend #2:
  • Vegetarian Babies

Vegetarian baby feeding plans include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean dairy products. Advocates of vegetarian baby feeding plans put an emphasis on breastfeeding and preparing your own baby food using whole grains.

Healthy or Not?

Most of the health claims made by proponents of vegetarian diets have no scientific research that backs it up. Be sensible and watch out for any unverifiable health claims or conflicting information.

A baby feeding plan that aims to incorporate more vegetables in baby’s diet is a great thing. Just make sure to work with your doctor to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients he needs.

Trend #3:
  • Eliminate Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as rye, wheat, and barley. Giving your baby gluten before they are more than 6 months old increases their risk of developing celiac disease; this disease causes your baby to be sensitive to gluten causing inflammation of the gut.

Healthy or Not?

Gluten free foods such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa are much healthier than processed foods such as bread and cookies. However, there’s no need to completely eliminate these foods from your baby’s diet unless Baby is sensitive to or allergic to them.

Whole grain foods such as bread and pasta provide fiber and energy. Rather than completely cutting out gluten, limit your baby’s intake of processed foods and instead eat oats, barley, and whole wheat.

Trend #4:

  • Start Solids Late

Breast milk is undoubtedly the best food for Baby, which is why some parents opt to delay the introduction of solids till 9 months.

Healthy or Not?

With all the antibodies and nutrients in breast milk, breastfeeding exclusively for more than 6 months is definitely a good thing. By the time most babies are 6 months old, their bodies are primed to start learning how to chew and swallow solids. Breastfeed for as long as you wish but also try introducing solids at 6 months.

If Baby’s not interested in eating solids yet, they can at least practice chewing and dealing with food in their mouths. Babies need time to start learning this skill and delaying learning may make it harder for baby to learn how to eat.

Trend #5:

  • Green Foods Only

This is another vegetarian/vegan feeding trend that advocates for baby to eat nothing but vegetables until they turn 1 year old.

Healthy or Not?

This baby feeding trend super charges your baby’s nutrient intake and early exposure to vegetables. However, this type of diet does not contain enough iron, protein, or calcium for your growing baby’s needs.

Your baby will not taste the different types of food available to them during this critical introductory window. If you decide to follow this feeding plan, add nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, and iron.

Trend #6:

  • Feeding Pouches

Baby food pouches are an ultra convenient, super easy, no mess way to feed Baby when on the go. These pouches have organic food blends that can be easily sucked out through an opening. Reusable food pouches are also available for moms who prefer to make their own food.

Healthy or Not?

Baby feeding pouches have been compared to sippy cups with food. While very convenient, these pouches prime your baby for overeating as they are so easy to “inhale.” Your baby will easily finish their food pouch in record time which may make the caregiver believe they are still hungry.  Studies indicate that frequent use of food pouches may lead to a breakdown in tooth enamel causing tooth decay.Keep food pouch use to a minimum. Rather than allowing your baby to suck it out themselves, squirt the food onto a spoon then feed

Keep food pouch use to a minimum. Rather than allowing your baby to suck it out themselves, squirt the food onto a spoon then feed Baby whenever possible. You should also ensure baby eats regular bite-sized chunks frequently.

Trend #7:

  • Feeding Nets

Feeding nets provide a way to hold whole fruits like pears safely for your baby to chew on. Once placed in the net, baby then chews on the food. The mesh of the net allows only very small particles of food through. During teething, these nets can be used to ease baby’s gum pain when filled with frozen fruits or an ice cube.

Healthy or Not?

These nets are safe and effective for introducing healthy solid food to baby’s diet, but nets are not the best way to provide nutrients to your growing baby.

Instead, spoon-feed your baby and give them safe finger foods

Trend #8:

  • Chewing Baby’s Food

Technically called pre-mastication, this trend advocates for pre-chewing your baby’s food then placing it in their mouth…similar to what a bird would do.

Healthy or Not?

Unless there is no way to safely feed your baby solid food and your stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way to puree or mash food, this trend is completely unhealthy.

You can very easily transfer bacteria from your mouth to baby’s increasing their chances of getting sick and developing cavities.

Other than pre-chewing Baby’s food, each of these baby feeding trends contains elements that are beneficial to your baby’s health. When it comes down to it, your most important goal is to keep your baby healthy and teach them how to eat healthy.

Have you tried any of the above baby feeding trends? What do you like most about it?

 

If you enjoyed this article read our other articles:

 

First published at www.fitpregnancy.com.

Leah

Founder at LetuKenya
Leah was born and raised in Kenya. She has a degree in psychology and divides her time between article writing, blogging and creating original African pieces. She provides her writing services independently and can be found odesk. When she isn’t hunched over a computer, she’s out being inspired by nature.

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