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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer


Will it compromise my 6 month old's nutrition if I delay fruits from his diet to prevent him from getting a sweet tooth?


By: Howard J. Bennett, MD, FAAP

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends beginning solid foods at about 6 months of age. Traditionally, parents are encouraged to start babies on iron-fortified rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. The rationale for this is that it takes a week or so for the baby to learn how to eat from a spoon, and there are fewer wastes if you use cereal from a box rather than food from a jar. However, there is no scientific evidence that says a baby has to start with infant cereal. It is equally acceptable to start the baby on vegetables or fruits. Regardless, you should wait two or three days before introducing each new food so you can make sure the baby is not having a negative reaction to the one just started. If you begin two new foods at the same time, it is difficult to determine which one is causing the problem.

Some parents believe vegetables should be offered to babies before fruits. The rationale for this is a concern that the baby might develop a "sweet tooth" and reject vegetables if he eats fruits first. Parents probably assume this is true because toddlers and young children often prefer fruits over vegetables. However, there is no evidence to support this approach with infants. From a nutritional perspective, it is important to give infants and children a well-balance diet. Fruits and vegetables both contain essential nutrients for children.

For more information from Dr. Bennett, click here.

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