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Baby’s first taste of sugar

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Beckham Bravo

HOW SWEET IT IS Beckham Bravo, now 23 months, experienced a serious sugar rush after diving into his smash cake on his first birthday. (Photo: Lauren Bobbie Photography)

Buzz Baby is a column about life with little ones. Writer Annie McQueen is a mother of four children under the age of 8.

Small children and sugar – two words that do not always belong together (well, if you ask any parent or caregiver responsible for getting them to sleep at night). Laugh, but have you ever tried to get a toddler to sleep after a trip to Baskin Robbins? We digress.

However, most people who are familiar with how children operate know candy and sugar are super-hot commodities in their vocabulary banks. Kids just love sugar. Period. There are smash cakes on first birthdays, candy during holidays like Easter and Halloween, and lollipops after a pediatrician’s visit that can help ease the pain after a shot – but is it a good idea to let your small child indulge in sugar? Some dietary guidelines state that babies and toddlers shouldn't have any added sugar at all until age two. While some parents wait longer to introduce sugar, others might be more laid back on the first sugar experience. Parents’ approaches can strongly differ.

When son Beckham turned one, mom-of-two Samantha Bravo and her family looked forward to the birthday smash cake session. Instead of a traditional smash cake, she ordered a giant cupcake covered in rainbow-colored sprinkles. They placed it in front of him and everyone gathered around with their phones ready to document the hilarious cake-eating session.

Beckham dove right in and started eating the icing. Scoop after scoop, he licked his fingers with delight. It was among his first taste of sugar ever. “He definitely had a sugar rush and his little eyes lit up when he tried it,” she said. “He could not walk yet, so it was tough letting him burn his sugar rush off.”

Samantha recalled the drive home from his first birthday dinner with his family – he was giggling and babbling the entire car ride home. “He had gone to town on the frosting,” she said, laughing.

Samantha says that prior to his first birthday, she had been strict in not allowing sugar. She had followed the popular feeding technique of baby-led weaning for Beckham. With baby-led weaning, the child is learning how to feed themselves and during that process, what they eat evolves. Samantha says that baby-led weaning empowered her to slowly introduce sugar to Beckham’s tastebud library and wait until after he turned one.

Beckham ate more than 100 foods before his first birthday. Once he hit toddlerhood, she says, “all bets were off.” She allowed him to start to try sugar.

Fast forward, now almost 2, she says Beckham has a sweet tooth and she does let him indulge in it – with moderation (unlike the night of the first birthday). “I pretty successfully avoided sweets,” she said. “I still try to avoid them, but I definitely let him live a little these days.”

Last year, for his first Easter, he had some sugar cookies in his Easter basket. She allowed him to taste the cookies and lead the way in monitoring his sugar intake.

During her pregnancy with her newborn son Jackson, now 2 months, Samantha says she experienced a pregnancy-induced sweet tooth herself. She would often crave certain sweets, and in turn, allowed Beckham in on the treats.

They would venture to pick up cookies at Tiny’s Milk & Cookies near their house. “Now he yells ‘cookies’ when we turn into the parking lot,” she said. Another favorite of Beckham’s is Girl Scout Cookies. “He becomes a chatterbox with sweets.” She is enjoying allowing him to have sweets in moderation.

Another Buzz mom mentioned she used M&Ms as a reward while potty training her toddler. Clever until she accidentally left the huge bag out on the kitchen counter. He got into the M&Ms, smearing chocolate with his hands all over their white walls. The bribe of candy to learn how to use the potty, however, worked like a charm so she considered that a big win.

A baby’s first experience with sweets can bring some laughs, so enjoy these sweet sugar-filled moments while they last with your toddler – even if there is chocolate all over their face.

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