The same food that runs our life can be dangerous for our kids if given at the wrong time. Selection of foods in the first year of the child is very crucial. As a parent, you must know which food is safe and healthy for your baby.
Be aware of following while introducing solid foods to your baby.
- Always start new food when the baby is at home. You should be around her.
- Keep your baby under your supervision at the time of eating.
- Continue and do not give any other new food for at least three days to check any food allergies.
You should be careful about certain foods while giving in the first year of your child. There’s a bonus video at the end, read the whole article or scroll to the bottom to watch the video.
1. Cow’s Milk (not recommended by doctors)
It’s not advisable to replace the breast milk or formula with cow’s milk until the baby is 12 months old.
Babies can’t digest cow’s milk completely because it has high concentrations of protein and minerals which can stress newborn’s immature kidneys. Cow’s milk has a low amount of iron, Vitamin C and other essential minerals that can cause iron-deficiency in babies. Cow’s milk doesn’t have sufficient fat for baby’s growth.
You can give curd (dahi) and cheese (paneer) because these are cultured, so it’s easy for your baby to digest.
Always remember to give mother’s breast milk or formula in the first year of baby.
Pure cow’s milk is rare these days. In old times, cow’s milk was pure because people used to take care of cows at home & feeding them organic food. Now a day, different kinds of feed & medicines are given to cows to increase milk production.
Your baby’s immune system is gradually developing in the first year. Your child is not strong enough to resist many kinds of bacterial infections.
Honey may contain a spore of a bacterium which may cause a prompt disease called infant botulism.
In case, she has consumed honey then you should watch her carefully for at least 36 hours. If symptoms like constipation, lethargy, lack of appetite, droopy eyelids, swallowing difficulties or breathing problem are observed then contact your paediatric immediately. Even ready to eat foods or home remedies that contain honey may not be a good choice for babies below one year of age.
Babies over one year of age have a stronger immune system to fight the strain of botulism. It’s best to check with your doctor, before introducing any form of honey to your baby.
Baby’s first grain food should be rice or oats instead of wheat.
First, rice & oats are easy to digest. Second, wheat is an allergen. It contains gluten that is high in protein and difficult to digest for babies. Wheat may cause loose motion, skin rash, constipation or poor sleep in your child. Wheat/gluten allergies are temporary, but you should consult your doctor in case you found any symptoms of allergy.
4. Egg White
Eggs are one of the most allergies food, especially in childhood.
You can start introducing the eggs to your baby after eight months but start with fully cooked yolks (yellow portion). Egg white may contain allergenic components. Many paediatricians do not recommend serving egg white until the baby is older than one year.
5. Egg Yolk
Egg allergy develops when the body reacts to proteins in egg whites or yolks. Don’t mix eggs with any other food while introducing first time to your baby. Otherwise, it will be difficult to find the reason of allergy.
You can introduce egg yolk after 8 months of age, but check with your paediatrician first. After introducing egg to your baby’s diet, monitor your baby for 36 to 48 hours for any signs of allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can be like skin rashes, stomach pain, breathing problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, running nose, watery eyes or Anaphylaxis(less common). If your baby is allergic to eggs, ask your doctor.
6. Fruit Juice
You can introduce fruit juice to your baby after six months, but with limited intake per day.
Although it is not allergic food, it may cause diarrhea and rashes in infants. Citrus fruit juices like oranges, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple are acidic and very rich in Vitamin C. It can cause tummy trouble in children. So, you can start with apple, pear or pomegranate juice, diluted with water.
One more reason to avoid fruit juices is the sugar content. Juices are full of sugar that is difficult for the tiny tummy to digest.
Fish is one of the most allergenic foods on the earth.
Doctors recommend starting with cereal, fruit or vegetable puree before introducing fish into your baby. If your family history has fish allergies, then talk to the doctor before introducing fish to your baby. Fish should be cooked completely to kill all bacterial infection. Shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crab may trigger an allergic reaction in babies under one year of age.
Avoid fish with high levels of mercury like swordfish and fresh tuna.
8. Salt and Sugar Intake
Babies below one year of age don’t have any taste buds. They are good with bland food and no salt food. The maximum amount of salt intake for infants should be less than one gram per day. Your baby gets it from breastmilk or formula powder. Extra intake of salt put stress on tiny immature kidneys of your baby that may lead to kidney disease.
Sugar is not only harmful for children but also for adults.
By sugar, we mean “refined white sugar” that is refined by chemical processes. Sugar is very addictive. Once your baby gets the taste of sugar, she will prefer consuming sugar and refuse breast milk that is naturally bland.
9. Choking Hazard Foods
Choking is really scary in infants. Avoid giving foods that won’t dissolve in her mouth.
Some of the foods that are not safe for your baby – hard foods like
- hard candies
sticky foods like
- chewing gum
- chunks of cheese/paneer
- peanut butter
and round & firm like
- chunks of meat
- whole grapes or dates
- chunks of raw vegetable or fruit
Food is the most common cause of choking. Some choking incidents happened because of whole grapes. Always advisable to cut firm or round food into thin strips or small pieces. If the grapes have seeds, make sure to remove it before giving it to your baby.
Peanut is one of the highly allergenic foods during the first year of baby. Peanuts and its butter is not recommended for infants.
It’s important to talk to paediatric even if your baby has mild allergic reaction to peanuts.
An allergic reaction to peanuts can be a minor irritation or life-threatening (anaphylaxis). Peanut allergy is often diagnosed in first two years of children’s life. Don’t give whole peanuts to babies under three years of age because of choking hazard. Symptoms of peanut allergy can be running nose, skin reactions, itching, nausea, or wheezing.
11. Coffee and other Caffeinated foods
Foods like soda, ice tea, coffee or chocolate are not recommended for babies because of its high caffeine content.
Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia, upset stomach, headaches and increased heart rate. In babies, these symptoms can occur after having a small amount of caffeine. Too much caffeine can affect bone strengthening process.
You should take care of food in the first year of the child. After the first year, you can give anything to your kid. Whenever there is any doubt, ask your doctor.
Just a quick question, how many times did you speak with the doctor regarding your child’s food?