Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Last week I had a friend ask me if food before one is really just for fun? She had heard this phrase mentioned by other mums too in her mummas group.
Food should definitely be FUN for babies, but it is really important to remember that food is so much more than fun and plays an important role in growth, motor skills and nutrient intake before the age of one.
I am a huge advocate of food being fun and including your little one at the family table and other social occasions which centres around food.
Food before 1 is super important for:
Offering a variety of nutrients to baby from 6 months that cannot be obtained from break milk or formula milk alone.
Provides a good contribution towards other nutrients in their diet too while breastmilk or formula milk is being offered.
Baby consumes nutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc to support healthy growth.
Helping babies to learn about food, textures, mealtimes and the importance of eating.
Promotes the development of eating skills such as chewing and munching which is important for babies with their jaw development before 1.
Food helps and encourages your baby to feed themselves, develop hand-eye coordination and pincer grip as well as using utensils such as fork and spoon which are important for feeding.
A variety of food help with preference development around food (think vegetables) and encourage them to explore a variety of flavours in the early years. We know this contributes to shaping their taste preferences later in life.
Helps parents to spot potential feeding problems e.g. sensory needs or oral motor delays.
As you can see, food is really quite important for nutrient intake, promoting motor skills and forming a healthy relationship with food.
I'm really interested to hear what you think and if you've heard this term before? Did it help or hinder you with your weaning journey?