Should we be giving our babies purées? Here's the latest research.
The latest research shows that it’s better for babies not to have their food puréed too finely. In fact, some say you shouldn’t give babies puréed food at all! This is called baby led weaning.
Instead of over-puréeing food, you feed your baby “real food”. This means giving your baby small bits of what you’re eating right from the start.
The World Health Organisation recommends that you don’t start solids before six months of age. Fans of this method of starting solids say it encourages a healthy relationship to food and helps your child to develop an adventurous palate.
It’s very simple. All you do is give your baby a chunk of food and watch him bring it to his mouth. If he likes it, he will eat it. If he doesn’t, he won’t. He will also eat when he’s hungry and stop when he’s not.
Unicef nutrition expert Gill Rapley, an advocate of this method, says “by allowing babies
to control how much they eat (no spoon feeding, no coaxing) and by giving them food in its natural form, like broccoli spears or pieces of cooked pasta, babies will enjoy eating, develop diverse palates and avoid foods to which they are allergic.”
However, sceptics warn that giving babies chunks of food presents a choking hazard. But Gill disagrees. “Babies’ mouths are better at manipulating chunks of food than soft purées,” she maintains.
Prof Nola Dippenaar, www.healthinsight.co.za, 082 9000 970
Optimum Nutrition for your Child's Mind, Patrick Holford and Deborah Colson
All recipes from Optimum Nutrition for Babies and Young Children, Lucy Burney and Organic Baby and Toddler Foods, Amanda Grant