Starting a baby on solids can be such an exciting time for all parents. But not all foods are suitable for babies under one year of age. Some foods can present potential choking hazards or health risks for small children. Knowing which foods to feed your little one can help you avoid this. On this page, I talk about some common forbidden foods to avoid, which are great to know about before introducing solids to babies.
Foods to avoid giving to babies under the age of 1 year
1. Honey, Corn Syrup, and Maple Syrup
Honey, corn syrup, and maple syrup are three things you should not give to babies under 1 year of age as they may ( in very rare) cases cause Infant Botulism. Infant Botulism is a paralytic illness which happens when a baby ingests the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum through foodstuffs such as honey, corn syrup, and maple syrup. These bacteria produce a toxin known as Botulinum Toxin in an infant’s immature intestine. Symptoms of botulism include constipation (usually the first sign), lethargy and a weak cry. Although infant Botulism is very rare, it is best to avoid giving babies foods that may put them at risk of infection during their sensitive first year of life.
2. Foods to Avoid – Some Fishes
Fishes such as mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tuna should never be given to babies under the age of 1 year as they may contain high levels of heavy metals such as mercury which can easily cause damage to a baby’s nervous system. For those living in Scandinavia that would mean avoiding fishes from certain lakes and the Baltic Sea.
3. Raw Eggs
Foods to avoid giving to babies also include uncooked eggs. Raw eggs may contain the bacteria salmonella which can cause severe food poisoning. Avoid giving your baby foods such as homemade ice cream (containing eggs) and mayonnaise.
Eggs can also cause allergic reactions, so consult your doctor before adding eggs to your baby’s diet. Eggs should never be offered to babies under the age of 6 months and especially not to babies who have other types of confirmed allergies or have a family history of food allergies before consulting a Doctor for medical advice.
4. Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts and Other Nuts
Nuts especially peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions. Apart from that, they present a potential choking hazard to babies and small children. Whole peanuts and other nuts should not be given to children below the age of 5 years.
The kidneys of children younger than 1 year of age are not developed enough to cope with high salt levels. Ready-made foods that are meant for adults usually contain high amounts of salt and therefore should never be fed to Babies. Soy sauce, sausages, and bacon are some of the foods that normally contain quite high amounts of salt.
Sugar is simply not good for your baby’s teeth and health. Babies get enough sugar from breastmilk, milk formulas, and fruits. A baby’s teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay than an adults teeth. Avoid giving babies sweet foods such as cookies to discourage a sweet tooth.
And, contrary to conventional beliefs, diluting juices does not make them less harmful, diluted juices still contain amounts of sugar enough to still cause tooth decay, so try limiting sweet juices to mealtimes and snack times only.
7. Foods to avoid – Some Vegetables such as Spinach, fennel, beetroot, lettuce, and nettles
These vegetables are likely to contain high levels of nitrates, and you should not give them to babies younger than six months. Nitrites disturb the blood’s ability to transport oxygen leading to Blue Baby Syndrome, i.e. low oxygen levels.
Foods to avoid giving to children under 3 years of age – potential chokers
- Whole grapes: Grapes are quite firm and can therefore easily get stuck in a little one’s throat. Peel, stone and chop up grapes before offering them to your baby.
- Small Pieces of hard fruits or other hard foods: Babies and small children can easily choke on small hard pieces of fruit or vegetables
- Popcorns and whole olives with stones: The size and hardness of these foods make them really likely to choke an infant.
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