When babies are newborn, breast milk is their main source of food; but when they reach 6 months of life the supplementary diet begins, and with it comes a challenge: to give the little ones all the nutrients they need to grow happy and healthy.
For first-time moms and baby caregivers, we’ll be talking about foods a baby shouldn’t eat before they turn their first year.
While several of the foods you’ll see on the list have many benefits for adults, you should consider babies’ bodies to be smaller, constantly developing, and have different needs than ours.
Here’s what to avoid giving your baby in its first few months of life:
Sugar and sweeteners
Refined sugar has no nutritional value, so it is not necessary in the feeding of babies or adults. Breast milk also already contains some sugars.
If you want to improve the taste of a meal, it’s best to use naturally sweet foods such as fruits.
Not only refined sugar should be avoided, but all products containing it. Examples would be soft drinks, processed juices, sweets, pastries, and sweetened cereals. After the baby turns two, he or she can eat these kinds of food occasionally.
Frequent sugar consumption could cause cavities, obesity and other health problems. If you want to take care of your little ones’ health, keep sugary products out of the house, so kids will learn that these aren’t essential for their diet.
Salt is also not needed in the diet of babies who has not yet reached their first year.
This seasoning is used to improve the taste of food, but it can also negatively affect babies’ kidneys; so it’s best to avoid it until your pediatrician tells you can introduce it into their diet.
In other words, it is important to remove foods that contain salt in excess, such as: sausages, canned soups, broths, and fast food.
Fish and seafood
Some seafood is high in mercury that can cause poisoning or disrupt babies’ development.
While it’s important to keep your children’s diet balanced, it’s best to check with your doctor when they can eat fish and which species are best suited.
Nuts are very healthy, but they shouldn’t be given to babies because they can choke on them.
Talk to your pediatrician about the best age to start introducing dried fruits into your child’s diet, as these types of foods also often cause allergies in some babies.
Green leafy vegetables
For example: chard, spinach, cabbage, celery, and beet roots.
These vegetables have nitrate in their composition, an element that excessively could affect the functioning of the baby’s body or cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome), a disease that prevents oxygen from reaching the whole body.
Not thoroughly cooked foods
When you consume uncooked eggs, fish or meat, you run the risk of infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella.
All these foods must be fully cooked to remove any harmful microorganisms. Remember that adults have more defenses to combat diseases, but in the case of children an infection or poisoning could be fatal.
Although honey is a natural sweetener, it is not recommended for infants under the age of 1 because it may have spores of a bacterium that causes a disease called botulism.
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2 with introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe supplementary (solid) foods at 6 months.
Because that will be the baby’s main source of nutrients during the first six months, they don’t need to consume cow’s milk.
Another important reason to avoid this type of milk is that it has more protein and minerals than breast milk, so babies find it difficult to digest. In fact, if they consume cow milk in excess, it could even cause problems in the kidneys since these organs are not yet able to filter the amount of nutrients that this food brings.
- Supplementary foods should be varied, light and healthy.
- When you’re giving your baby food that he or she has never tasted before, try it during the morning or afternoon to identify if he or she has allergy symptoms. If you give it to them at night and before they fall asleep, it’ll be harder to notice.
- Introduce new foods one at a time. In case it doesn’t agree with baby’s digestive system, it will be easier to rule out what the cause was.
- Choose the feeding method that works for you and your baby. Porridge and puree are still very practical options. However, for several years it has become popular another method called Baby Led Weaning that proposes giving infants soft foods chopped into bits so that they themselves take it with their hands, take it to their mouths and explore new flavors and textures.
- Pay close attention to the way you prepare food for your baby. To avoid diseases you must make them with good quality ingredients and in optimal hygiene conditions.
- Give your baby the amount of food he or she demands, considering his or her age. When you don’t respect the signs that kids are hungry or already satisfied, they can create a bad relationship with food.
- When your baby is left in someone else’s care, explain what type of feeding your child requires and ask them to avoid giving them new foods without your consent.
Without a doubt, food is key for a child’s development, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Just imagine, how many health problems could have been prevented if we had eaten better since we were little.