Posts Tagged ‘ solid food ’

‘Messy’ Kids May Be Learning at the Table

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Kids who throw food may actually be displaying signs they are learning, according to research from the University of Iowa.  More from

Researchers from the University of Iowa (UI) studied how 16 month olds learn the words for non-solid objects—things as oatmeal or applesauce or milk—that infants generally take longer to learn and found that those who messed with the substance the most learned the words more quickly. Babies’ brains usually pick up words for more immutable objects such as blocks, apples, or daddy, more easily because they can prod and pinch them and they remain the same, more or less, while non-solid objects are a bit more confusing. Think about applesauce: sometimes it’s shaped like a bowl, sometimes like a spoon and sometimes like a big blob on the floor. Or consider the similarities between glue and milk; if you didn’t touch them, they could seem pretty similar.

To test how toddlers learned the names of gloppy, changeable substances, researchers introduced 14 oozy items, mostly things the kids could safely put in their mouths, like  applesauce, pudding, juice, or soup. As they offered the kids the items, they gave them made up names, such as “dax” or “kiv.” A short while later they asked the kids if they knew the name of one of the substances, presented in a different size or shape. Kids who could remember the name of the item were obviously relying on more than just what it looked like.

The kids who had really got their hands—and sometimes the walls or floors—dirty, seemed to be the ones who understood the differences in  texture or viscosity better. All that fooling around was actually learning.  It also helped if they were in a high chair. “It turns out that being in a high chair makes it more likely you’ll get messy, because kids know they can get messy there,” said Larissa Samuelson, associate professor in psychology at UI, who with doctoral student Lynn Perry and others, oversaw the Developmental Science paper. “Playing with these foods there actually helped these children in the lab, and they learned the names better.”

Use our handy tracker to see when she’ll hit behavioral and physical milestones! Also, be sure to browse through our parent-tested tantrum tricks.
Image: Messy child, via Shutterstock
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Study: Delaying Solid Foods Unnecessary for Infants

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Baby eating solid food from a spoonA study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is reporting that the introduction of cow’s milk, hen’s egg, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and gluten to children before the age of six months is not associated with increased incidence of eczema or wheezing in either infancy or later childhood.

The study, researched in the Netherlands, followed 7,000 children from infancy to age 4 to see whether introducing allergenic foods correlated with heightened rates of eczema and wheezing.  Those and other allergenic diseases are common in childhood, but the study found no increase in their occurrence among children who were presented with milk, eggs, soy, or the other allergens before age 6 months.  The findings held true even after factoring in parental history of eczema and wheezing.

This goes against the medical conventional wisdom, which generally advises parents to delay solid foods until age 6 months to prevent food allergies and more general allergic conditions.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, though, has recommendations more in line with the Dutch study:

Many pediatricians recommend against giving eggs and fish in the first year of life because of allergic reactions, but there is no evidence that introducing these nutrient-dense foods after 4 to 6 months of age determines whether your baby will be allergic to them. Give your baby one new food at a time, and wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and consult with your child’s doctor.

What do you think about introducing solid foods to infants?  Did you delay, or do you plan to?

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