I am asked questions daily in my office from parents about what to feed their children. I have composed the following quiz of 5 common questions I receive. For fun, take the quiz yourself before looking at my responses.
 
QUESTIONS:
Q1: Will putting cereal in my child’s last bottle before bed help her sleep through the night?
Q2: After 6 months, can I give my child any food including eggs and strawberries?
Q3: When is the best time to introduce juice?
Q4: Should I introduce vegetables before fruit so my child doesn’t prefer sweet foods?
Q5: When can my child eat what the rest of the family is eating?
 
ANSWERS:
Q1: Will putting cereal in my child’s last bottle before bed help her sleep through the night?

A1: No, despite what your mother and grandmother say, science doesn’t support this claim. In fact, unless you have a child who spits up, most pediatricians do not recommend putting cereal in a bottle. We recommend starting cereal between 4 and 6 months when your child shows readiness cues. These include being able to sit up with support, having strong head control and being interested in what others around are eating. Take a few tablespoons of pureed food or cereal (mixed with enough formula or breast milk to make a yogurt-like consistency) and spoon-feed it to your child. Initially, it’s normal for her to thrust her tongue forward and look like she’s not enjoying it. This is the way a young baby protects herself from choking. With time and practice, your child will quickly learn that having food on her tongue means that she should pull it back in her mouth and swallow. Start with one feeding per day (whatever time is most convenient for you), and increase to two then three when she gets the hang of it.
 
Q2: After 6 months, can I give my child any food including eggs and strawberries?

A2: Yes! This surprises many parents who think you have to wait until after a year to introduce foods that typically cause allergies, including peanut containing products. The current recommendation (and it’s been around since 2008) is that IF your child doesn’t have atopic dermatitis (a tendency for an eczema-type rash), after 6 months you can give your child anything. My two caveats are honey, which you cannot give until 1 year because of the risk of botulism (not allergy) and foods that are considered choking hazards such as whole grapes, hot dogs, and popcorn.
 
Q3: When is the best time to introduce juice?

A3: As late as you can! I am not a big fan of juice as often times children will prefer it to milk and water, and it contains a lot of calories with little nutritional benefit. In fact, I don’t think my oldest child ever had juice until she was over a year and went to a birthday party where there was a juice box alongside of her pizza slice. If you have a child with a tendency towards constipation, your pediatrician may suggest you supplement your child’s diet with some diluted juice, but if that’s not the case I suggest you hold off as long as you can. If you do introduce juice, look for 100% juice and limit the amount to 4 ounces per day. I would much prefer your child eat a whole fruit than drink it in the form of a beverage.
 
Q4: Should I introduce vegetables before fruit so my child doesn’t prefer sweet foods?

A4: No. In my experience this hasn’t seemed to make a difference. The goal is to create a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. Scientific studies say that you may have to introduce a food up to ten times before you will know if your child doesn’t like it. So, my advice is to be patient and persistent!
 
Q5: When can my child eat what the rest of the family is eating?

A5: Whenever you want! There is nothing magical about store bought baby food. After 6 months, your child can eat what you are eating provided it’s in a pureed form and not too thick in texture. As long as you blend it down and it’s not too spicy, feel free to share your meals with your child. As she approaches 8-10 months, she will be ready for finger foods so giving her small bits of the chicken you are eating is okay. I often hear that younger siblings only want to eat what their older siblings are enjoying and that’s fine with me. Family meals in my house were the first step in getting our children off the typical kid diet of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. I wish we had started giving them the foods on our plates sooner!
 
I hope you had fun with the quiz. As always should you have any specific feeding questions about your child, be sure to consult your pediatrician.