Myth: You can’t give your baby fish until he’s 9 months old
For years parents and experts alike have been discussing the right age to introduce this tasty delight to little ones. Although some mums go by the ‘Grandma knows best’ rule of delaying it until 9 months, the reality is that you can introduce it much earlier than that.
“Mild fish, such as salmon, plaice, and lemon sole, are not only safe to give your baby from 6 months, but vital to his development too,” says Beverley Glock, children’s food expert and author of ‘500 Baby & Toddler Foods‘ (£9.99, Splat Cooking). “They contain essential fatty acids that are crucial to his brain and visual development, and seeing as your child’s brain triples in size in his first year, I’d say that’s quite important.”
A tasty meal that includes fish once a week will give your baby all the nutrients he needs, but introduce different fish types gradually, as some can be strongly flavoured and harder to digest.
“And remember to never give raw fish, or fish that is high in mercury, such as shark or shellfish, to your child until he’s much older, as they can cause stomach upsets and potentially food poisoning,” adds Beverley.
Myth: Eating a curry will give your baby an upset tummy
Wanting to be more adventurous with your little one’s meals is always a worry for first-time weaning parents, but an exotic dish won’t harm your baby – as long as it’s cooked right.
“Herbs and spices are a great way to add new flavour to a meal, and there’s no reason why you can’t introduce them to your baby early on,” explains Beverley. “Curries that are mild and creamy are perfect, just make sure you stay away from hot tastes, like chilli, that can cause stomach upsets.”
If you’re worried a curry is too full-on for your baby’s first spicy dish, start small by adding a little paprika to chicken or watered-down dahl to cauliflower, then gradually build it up.
You’ll soon be giving your baby a curry with confidence!
Myth: Frozen vegetables aren’t as good as fresh
Between working, doing the household chores, and looking after your little one, sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to wash, peel and chop every vegetable needed for a purée.
But should you feel guilty for using a bag of frozen carrots from the freezer? The answer is no!
“Quite often vegetables are frozen quickly after they’re picked, so they’re full of the same nutrients and vitamins as fresh ones,” says Beverley. “It’s great to cook as many meals as possible from scratch, but you shouldn’t feel any shame in using frozen every once in a while either. Not to mention most mums cook up purée batches to freeze, so there’s really no difference between it.”
Myth: You should avoid eggs when weaning
“Eggs are a tasty, nutritious food and fine to use when introducing solids, as long as they’re hardboiled,” explains Beverley. “They have a stigma associated to them because of the risk of salmonella poisoning posed by raw eggs. Although children shouldn’t be given liquid egg yolk until they’re 3 years old, an egg that’s cooked through is fine for babies under 1.”
Eggs are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for healthy growth, brain development and strong visual activity, but it’s completely normal to feel cautious about serving them up.
Following a few simple rules should ease any nervousness.
“When buying eggs, look for the Lion Quality mark as this means the poultry has been vaccinated against salmonella, and the Best Before date guarantees they’re fresher than required by law,” says Beverley. “Rinsing the shells before cooking will also ensure nothing dubious gets into your child’s meal.”
Myth: You should wait at least a week between introducing new foods
There’s a lot of mixed advice out there for parents who are trying to introduce new flavours and textures to their little one. Some weaning experts believe in the ‘try something new every day’ idea, while others think you should give it a week between. But the most commonly followed process is the four-day rule.
“If your baby is going to react to a new type of food, it’ll be within four days because that’s how long it takes it to get through the gut,” explains Beverley. “Try her on a certain type of food, wait out the time frame, and if she’s showing no signs of an allergy, move her on to something else.”
But if your little one becomes nauseous, itchy, or suffers swelling, seek medical advice straight away.