Introducing your baby to real food takes time. Fortunately, there is no need to rush, In fact, going slowly gives your baby a chance to develop a taste for different types of food, and in the long run enables her to make healthier food choices. There is an enormous selection of fresh, natural food that your little one can eat, but there are also several foods that are not good for babies. Here is a list of many of the foods that you should avoid:
- Foods with sugar, salt and caffeine as a main ingredient – Avoid introduction as long as possible: As a general rule, foods containing high amount of these ingredients, usually do not contain much nutritional value and are not very healthy.
- High Nitrate Foods – Introduce over 8 months: Vegetables: beets, carrots, green beans, spinach, and collard greens, Meats: hot dogs, cured ham, bologna, sausages, salami, and many other deli meats. Foods containing high levels of nitrates can deplete iron stores and can cause anemia.
- Honey – Introduce over 12 months: Honey contains bacteria that can cause botulism.Un-pasteurized, juices, food items, and raw fish
- Un-pasteurized, juices, food items, and raw fish – Introduce over 12 months: Juices, such as apple cider, other food items such as raw goat’s milk, blue cheese, brie cheese, and raw fish, such as sushi can contain disease causing bacteria.
- High allergens – Introduce at least over 12 months, possibly later: Food that most often cause allergic reactions include berries, chocolate, citrus fruits, cow’s milk, egg whites, fish and shellfish, nuts, peanuts, and tomatoes. Processed foods containing food additives, coloring agents and preservatives are also known to cause food allergies in your children. If you have a family history of any food allergies, discuss them specifically with your baby’s healthcare provider and seek their advice on food introductions.
- Choking hazards – Introduce over 2-3 years old: Nuts (other than finely ground), peanut butter, caramel, candy, gum, whole grapes, raw hard fruits and veggies, chunks of meat, pieces of bacon, hot dogs, sunflower seeds, popcorn, raisins, potato chips and hard candy. As a precaution, learn the American Red Cross choking for infants emergency procedures.
- Hot Foods – Introduce over 3-4 years old: Baby and toddler foods should be served cold, at room temperature or slightly warm. If you use the microwave to warm your baby’s foods, make the sure the food has been thoroughly stirred (if possible) or allowed to stand and cool down to remove any hot spots. Always check the temperature of food and drinks before serving them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has actually revised their recommendations around allergenic foods: