Christmas comes but once a year” I hear you say! And you are completely right - Christmas is a time for celebrating, being with family and of course, over-indulging.
So how do we deal with this in relation to over-indulging with food when we are weaning our baby? This is always a tricky question and is something we discuss on our workshops, in relation specifically to things like sweet or salty “treats”.
I tend to ask the parents on my workshops whether they have thought of what their stance will be on introducing sweets, chocolate or crisps to their little ones. The majority of parents are more concerned about extended family and what THEY might be offering their baby and this is a theme which will no doubt become very apparent around the Christmas period. No doubt you will be having parents, in-laws, uncles, aunts, grandparents etc. popping over during the festivities and I bet you my last Rolo that they will come laden with chocolates, sweets, cakes and biscuits and be very keen to give your baby “just one chocolate button” which usually turn into ten…
At six months, your baby is NOT aware of what they are missing out on in terms of sweet treats, they have no concept of how delicious chocolate is and how it is so scrummy as it melts in your mouth…. (sorry – I digress…) and so, there really isn’t any need to give them anything high in sugar or salt at this age.
As humans, we have all evolved to loving sweet foods. In cavemen days, cave men would go out seeking things like fruits, these contain sugar which meant energy which equaled survival. Needless to say, we are not cavemen, but we do still have that love of sugar, and babies are no different. Breastmilk is sweet for example. Babies are more inclined to go for a handful of raspberries than a handful of spinach and so, we need to manage this natural desire and one of the ways of doing this it to not have an abundance of refined sugar products available. Sugar causes all sorts of issues such as hyperactivity, babies becoming easily distracted, shorted attention spans and issues with not sleeping. It also can have a detrimental effect on any new teeth popping through if consumed too much and believe me, trying to brush baby’s new teeth is a mission and a half!
So, if you are worried about this time of the year and the temptation of sugary foods, try and be strong and make sure it is YOU who decides what your baby eats and no-one else. Let’s keep the Christmas period the same as any other time of year and provide our babies with the healthiest food possible to support them to grow and develop during these crucial years of their lives.