The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to introduce babies between 4 and 6 months to a good variety of foods for nutrition and texture.
However, it’s important to note:
There are some foods you may want to avoid feeding your baby before twelve months.
This is because certain foods can be a health risk to young babies, can pose choking hazards, and in some instances even warrant a trip to the hospital.
As research continues, it’s important to consult your child’s pediatrician and ask questions to stay up-to-date with the guidelines about foods to avoid for babies because the list does change periodically. Some foods that were on the “dangerous” list years ago may have been removed while others may have been added.
Although foods come and go, there are some that parents should always be cautious about and some that should be avoided until your baby is old enough to eat them or unless otherwise instructed by a doctor.
Keep this list of foods to avoid feeding your baby before one year old handy for babysitters and other caretakers by printing a copy (see below) for easy reference.
Honey remains on the “dangerous” list for babies under one-year-old. While it is tasty, natural food, it can cause a condition known as botulism in young infants. Botulism occurs when certain bacteria that have been ingested releases toxins in the body. It’s not harmful to adults, but in babies, under 12 months it can cause muscle weakness and other problems.
Salmonella can be a problem for babies from food that is undercooked, especially poultry, fish, meat and eggs. Salmonella can be the cause of fever and diarrhea in young children, which can result in dehydration. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in order to help prevent the spread of salmonella, it is recommended that you cook eggs and other poultry thoroughly.
3-Fish high in mercury
While certain kinds of fish can be a good source of protein, the FDA advises pregnant women, nursing women, and young children not to eat fish that contains high levels of methylmercury that can be dangerous to a young child’s health. Fish such as king mackerel, swordfish, shark, and bigeye tuna have some of the highest concentrations of methylmercury known “to be harmful to the developing brain and nervous system.” For this reason, it is best that babies steer clear of these varieties and look for sources of protein elsewhere.
Wait! Before you pour your baby that cup of juice, it’s important to know that contrary to popular belief, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits to infants under 12 months. If able, babies should instead consume whole fruits to get the benefits of the fiber and other nutrients in them. Drinking fruit juice can cause problems like obesity and tooth decay in young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastmilk or formula be the sole source of nutrients to babies until 6 months and to delay the use of fruit juices until after 12 months.
5-Sugary foods and candy
Like fruit juice, sugary foods and candy should be avoided when feeding your baby. Sugar is not a nutritional necessity to babies this young and can set them up for problems like obesity later in life. And although those tiny baby teeth may not have broken through the surface yet, what your baby eats and drinks do have an effect on her teeth even now. You may also run the risk of your baby developing a strong preference for sugary foods and refusing to eat more nutritionally balanced meals. This includes foods like cakes, cookies, pies, and candy.
Cow’s milk is inferior to breast milk for babies because it does not provide the necessary nutrients for a baby to grow and thrive. Cow’s milk lacks key nutrients such as iron, vitamin E and fatty acids needed for healthy growth. It also contains high levels of protein, sodium, and potassium that a young infant’s digestive system is not properly able to absorb yet. Because of this, the AAP recommends that infants only have breastmilk or infant formula for the first 6 months and should not consume cow’s milk before 12 months of age.
Plenty of parents have given their baby a french fry or two. What’s the harm? Fast food has become increasingly used as the go-to dinner option for busy families across the US. While it is a convenient option for nights where you won’t make it home before dinner, think twice before feeding it to your baby. If possible, try to steer clear of greasy, nutritionally void fast food that could upset the baby’s sensitive digestive track.
Plain and simple, seeds can cause a baby to choke, so they should be avoided until your baby is able to thoroughly chew hard foods on his own.
9-Thick nut butters
Peanuts made our list of “dangerous foods,” but not for the reason you think! While it was once advised not to give babies peanuts or peanut butter before age one because of potential allergic reactions, this is no longer the case. The AAP states that it is okay to slowly introduce highly allergenic foods like peanuts to a baby’s diet as long as you watch for signs of allergies or any other reactions.