Good News! Your Baby Can Learn To Talk Early If You Make These 4 Diet Changes
6 mins read
Food & Nutrition for Baby, Toddlers
While it is true that each child grows at his or her own pace, there are certain hallmarks or milestones of development that are common to babies in general. Holding their head up by the third month, rolling over on the tummy by the seventh month, crawling and standing by their first birthday...all these are common development milestones. Another developmental milestone is talking. Indeed, the first time that your baby says her first word is a very special moment. As parents, we long to feel this joy that comes with listening to little darling's cute little words...but what should you do to make her speak early? Find out!
Most babies end up saying 'mumma' or 'daddy' as their first words, while some babies pick random objects like toy, ball, or car as their first words! Most babies will have said at least a couple of words by the time they celebrate their first birthday. However, it is quite possible that your baby may not have yet uttered a single word. Speech delay is a very common phenomenon. What we are about to tell you, however, is that there is one very uncommon reason for a delay in this milestone, and that is – food. Are you surprised? Well, don't be, because if you want to know how to teach a baby to talk, then you need to change his diet.
D for Diet, D for Dialogue: Diet Changes For Your Baby's Speech Development
Just the way that the kitchen holds answers to most common illnesses, it is also a place for answers to many of the issues about speech and language delays in your child. Here is a 4-point plan to help your baby talk earlier, all through his diet!
Pay Close Attention to These Signs of Food Allergies
According to a 2004 study (Aydogan, B. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, June-2004), children with undetected allergies and food sensitivities are likely to catch ear infections. This in turn can cause speech and language delays. So, the fact that your child could actually be intolerant to a variety of foods, hidden from you, could actually be interfering with his talking!
What Should You Do: Be extra attentive to how your baby's body reacts to the food he consumes. The telling signs of an allergy can be anything from diarrhoea, rashes and vomiting. It's best to get your child tested for allergies if you spot any of these signs and then adjust his diet accordingly.
Avoid Foods Containing 'Casein'
Casein is a protein that is absorbed slowly in the body because of which the digestive system also has trouble breaking it down. So how is it connected to speech delay? Well - it has also been shown that some babies could have an abnormal immune response to casein. This is particularly so in babies suffering from autism or babies who already have slow speech or speech delays. To avoid a speech or language delay from affecting your baby's talking, it is best to get rid of casein at this age.
What Should You Do: Get into the habit of reading food labels more closely and watch out for words like casein, caseinates, calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate on products. This indicates the presence of casein. This may also mean that your child has to forgo or reduce intake of milk products like yoghurt, buttermilk, and ice cream. It is advisable to discuss this with a paediatrician and do this only if necessary.
Limit Your Child's Gluten Consumption
Gluten is a substance found in wheat, rye, barley and other foods made with these grains. These are commonly found in many Indian households. However, there are a number of theories floating around that links gluten with learning disabilities! It has been seen that people suffering from learning difficulties often have nutritional deficiencies too. Most of these deficiencies are a result of malabsorption related troubles. And gluten significantly affects proper absorption of nutrients from the consumed food. Some children who suffer from speech and language delays have also shown an increased reactivity to gluten which affects their language development further!
While much of this has met its share of medical ridicule, there still is some medical and anecdotal evidence that points to the success of this theory. In fact, after making this diet alteration, significant improvement has been seen in some children; their ability to talk has gone up.
What Should You Do: If you perceive that your baby is going through a speech delay or hasn't started talking till late, this is an option you can consider. Gluten is also hard to digest for your baby's digestive system. You can consider casting it away to achieve nutritional sufficiency, after discussing with a doctor.
Don't Feed Any Food That Contains Preservatives
They say home-cooked food is the best for your child, especially in the initial formative years. And this couldn't be more true! Most highly refined foods contain preservatives and artificial dyes that can aggravate behavioural symptoms in children. This can also lead to or worsen learning and speech delays. Furthermore, it can even cause headaches, nausea, mood swings - all of which can undermine your child's nutrition and overall health.
What Should You Do: Make sure the diet for your baby is free of preservatives found in foods like butter, pickles, baked goodies and other snacks. This is key for a good nutritional balance. The cleaner the food you serve him, the lesser adulterated (containing artificial ingredients and chemical components) it will be and it will be better for his development.
WATCH: How to Teach a Baby to Speak?
Key Takeaway: Babies learn to speak by observing their parents. But when do they start talking? Find out. Know when should a baby start making sounds and how you can teach him to speak:
A baby should start making sounds by 4 months of age. By 6 month, a baby should start making more of consonant and vowel sounds.
If you speak 2 or 3 languages at home, then your baby may get confused about which language to speak. Such babies may face the problem of speech delay. But it's alright, eventually, they will learn.
When talking to your baby, don't do the baby talk; talk to him the way you talk to a friend or family members.
When teaching new words to a baby, speak slowly and clearly so that he can understand it. If you want him to speak 'bottle' say it clearly, don't call it bah bah or something else.
While we do all sorts of things to teach our baby to talk, we bet you didn't think your baby's food might actually be playing a role in this! But look at it this way – food contributes to development, and talking is a definite and important developmental milestone.
Let us know how these tips worked out for your baby in the comments below!