- Foods with higher sugar and salt content, like soda and chips, are not appropriate for babies.
- Avoid hard, round, sticky foods, such as raisins and nuts, to prevent choking.
- Breastmilk or infant formula should be your baby’s main beverage during the first year.
- Offer juice in limited quantity and wait until 12 months before introducing whole cow’s milk.
Giving your baby more adult foods, such as sweetened beverages, chips or cookies, may seem like a treat for your little one, but nutritionally these don’t offer much. Babies need nutrient-dense foods that deliver important nutrients relative to the amount of calories suitable for their age.
Hold up on the sugar and salt
Some babies are being introduced to salty snacks, chips and soda as young as 7 to 8 months old. These foods are inappropriate for such young children and run the risk of filling them up before they can eat more nutritious foods. This also establishes poor eating habits at a very young age that may become harder to change as time goes on.
Limit the juice
Juice is one food that can easily be overdone. If you choose to offer juice, you may start after six months by offering juice from a cup to introduce new flavors. Never offer juice in a bottle. Start with 1 to 2 oz. per day, and limit juice to four oz. a day. This can count toward one fruit serving for the day and the remaining fruit servings should be from pureed or mashed, peeled fruits. Only give your child 100% juice, not juice drinks or other blended juice-like beverages, which contain added sweeteners.
Waiting on cow’s milk
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be fed breastmilk or Iron-fortified formula during the first year of life. This is to ensure a good supply of Iron and other important nutrients in your baby’s diet.
After your baby is one year old, you can introduce her to whole cow’s milk. Reduced-fat and fat-free milk are not usually recommended because little ones need the extra fat in whole milk to provide energy for their growing bodies until age two. Recent guidance indicates that this advice may be changing, and in certain cases, low-fat dairy may be recommended at an earlier age.
Consult your doctor
Talk with your pediatrician to see which milk option is right for your child once he’s ready to drink cow’s milk.
Hold off on the honey
Honey can contain botulinum spores and cause serious health problems. Even in small amounts, honey can be dangerous for a baby younger than 12 months.
Your baby will start out with thinly pureed foods, work up to thicker textures, then move to tender pieces of food. You might think he’s ready to handle more by about 7 to 8 months, but do not give your baby foods that are known choking hazards until at least age four or older.
Some foods that may be choking hazards:
- Raisins and whole grapes.
- Popcorn, nuts and seeds.
- Hot dogs, chunks of meat or poultry.
- Spoonfuls of peanut butter.
- Hard, raw or chunky fruits and vegetables such as whole peas, raw carrots, bell peppers, apples, unripe peaches, pears or plums.
- Gum, chewy or hard candy.
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