For the first six months of your baby’s life, breast milk is the perfect food. Once the baby sprouts her first set of teeth and is able to sit without support, you may let her embark on a new journey – the solid food. It is absolutely necessary to introduce a variety of foods – of different tastes and textures – once your baby starts to eat solids. Of course, you need to follow a 3-Day Wait Rule while introducing new food items. But gradually, your baby should have a wide variety of items so that his diet remains balanced and interesting. Your baby might, in his natural curiosity, want to put everything you eat in his mouth. However, few items need to stay off his plate and mouth until he celebrates his first birthday. Here is a list of 10 items that most pediatricians agree should stay off the kiddo’s menu in the first year.
10 Foods To Definitely Avoid In Baby’s First Year
- Cow’s milk: It is advised to stick with breastmilk or formula milk until your child turns one. This is because cow’s milk is not “natural” to the human baby and hence can create digestive problems. The minerals and proteins that comprise cow’s milk are too complex to be broken by your baby’s yet-developing digestive system. Furthermore, it does not contain enough iron, and hence can lead to anemia unless iron supplements are given. And lastly, cow’s milk is known to cause allergies in the first year. Read more here
- Honey: In some cultures, elders ask you to put honey into the new born’s mouth even before colostrum. This is an absolute no-no, not just on the first day, but for the whole of first year. Honey is a source of Clostridium botulinum which can cause infant botulism as babies’ intestines can’t prevent the growth of these spores. By the time baby turns one, his intestines will become more mature and resist the growth of spores. Read more here
- Peanut butter: There are two potential problems with peanut butter. For one, it is widely known to cause allergies. And for other, it is too dense and sticky in consistency, making it difficult for your baby to swallow, hence being a potential choking hazards. If anyone in the family has or had a peanut allergy, caution is best to be exercised
- Nuts: Nuts are small and hard, hence they are a choking hazard for your child as their airways are quite narrow. Many varieties of nuts, like peanuts mentioned above, are also potential allergens as well. Nuts can also be a potential choking hazard Read more about this here
- Salt: Your breast milk or formula milk takes care of the daily requirement of salt in baby’s diet. He does not require more salt. This is because his still-developing kidneys cannot cope with the large amounts of sodium. Make sure you do not season baby’s food with salt. Also make sure you read the label of any store-brought or processed food you give your child. Read more hhere
- Caffeine: You wouldn’t give your baby coffee, would you? So why should you give him chocolate, which is loaded with caffeine, sugar and diary? All of these three components would tax your child’s digestive system (not to mention make them hyper!)
- Egg Whites: Again, egg whites are known allergens. You can however give fully cooked egg yolk to your child without worry – but introduce the white only after a year. Here is how to introduce eggs to your baby
- Some fish: Some fish – like tuna, mackerel and swordfish – have high amounts of mercury which is dangerous for your baby. Also, some shellfishes (crabs, lobsters etc.) are highly allergenic foods. You can however give other fishes – like white tuna, pomfret and trout. Avoid oyesters and lobsters in particular as they can be highly and deadly allergic
- Some veggies: These include spinach, lettuce, fennel and beets – all of which contain higher amounts of nitrates than the baby’s body can process. Babies under a year old don’t have strong enough stomach acids to break down the nitrates, which block the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. Too much nitrates in the body causes Blue Baby Syndrome, due to low levels of oxygen in the blood
- All small hard foods: This can include candies, toffees, popcorn, some raw vegetables like carrots, grapes and so on. All of them are choking hazards, and some of them (like candies) are bad for teeth as well as the babies are too small to brush teeth every day
If you are tempted to give any of these items before your baby is one – or are pressurized by family to throw away these rules – always remember that you are not saying no to these food groups forever. You are only delaying introducing them in the baby diet until a year. It is best to err on the side of caution.
For more information, please also read Top 10 Potential Allergenic Foods For Your Baby here.