During the first year of your baby’s life, there are some baby foods that you should be careful to avoid for several reasons. Your baby’s digestive system is not yet able to handle some foods, while others may pose a risk of a serious illness. Other foods should be avoided simply because your baby is not yet able to chew them and the risk of choking is high. While most foods are safe enough for your baby in the first year, keep this list handy to avoid problems.
Baby’s Digestive System Isn’t Ready!
There are some foods your baby’s digestive system just isn’t ready to handle for various reasons. For the first six months, your baby’s tummy can really only handle breast milk or formula, but once solids are started there are still some choices that can cause digestive problems.
Among other reasons, cow’s milk should be avoided in the first year because your baby’s body can’t digest the proteins easily, leading to gastrointestinal distress. Cow’s milk also blocks the absorption of iron, which can cause your baby to become anemic.
The same goes for wheat, which can be hard for young babies to digest and could lead to celiac disease, or gluten intolerance. While there are differing opinions on how soon babies should have wheat, it can’t hurt to wait out the first year to be safe.
Some foods are unsafe for babies under a year old because they are difficult to chew or are just the right shape and size to pose a threat of choking. While some of the top choking hazards such as grapes can be cut up to minimize the risk, there are other foods that should be avoided altogether. Don’t give your baby nuts – they are very easy to choke on and your baby won’t be able to chew them until molars appear. Nuts were once off the list due to allergies, but the new stance on allergenic foods only means nut butters are now alright for baby (unless there is a history of allergies). Whole nuts are still a poor choice under one year old, and often well into the second year.
Another major choking hazard is raisins, which can become very gummy, stick together and get caught in baby’s throat. Wait until after a year old to introduce them, and watch your baby for signs of readiness for such chewy foods.
Foods that Can Make Baby Sick
Babies under a year old should never be fed honey, as it can contain botulism spores. In a baby’s undeveloped digestive system, this can quickly form a toxin that leads to infant botulism, a serious illness.
Extra salt should never be added to baby’s food. Excess sodium upsets the balance of fluids in the body, and it can also damage your baby’s kidneys which are not yet able to process salt effectively. There is no reason to season your baby’s food with salt, and any food containing high levels of sodium should be avoided during the first year. Even into the second year, use caution with salt.
A Word on Allergies
If allergies run in your family, especially in the immediate family, you will need to strike a few more foods off the list in baby’s first year. Babies with a family history of allergies should avoid highly allergenic foods such as eggs, nuts, strawberries, and seafood for the first year and in some cases beyond. Discuss the introduction on allergenic foods with your baby’s doctor.