While most babies can eat just about anything provided you start them off slowly, there are certain foods which should be avoided at all costs. There are a number of reasons that babies cannot eat certain foods. Some of these reasons are that the foods cause gastric upset. In other cases the foods may be common allergens in babies and even older children. If you have a family history with food allergies, you will want to be even more careful with what you feed your infant. The same can be said if you have noticed that your baby does not tolerate everything you feed him/her well. Some babies have very sensitive stomachs and cannot handle a number of different foods. The bottom line is that it is more than likely that your pediatrician will clue you in as to what is appropriate for your baby, depending on his/her age. With that being said, the following is our list of what the latest studies have shown to be potentially harmful to your baby.
Salt should be avoided when feeding babies who are younger than one year old. There are a few reasons for this. One of the main reasons that added salt is a very bad idea for young babies is that their kidneys are too young to process salt properly and this can lead to serious complications. Another reason it is a bad idea to add salt to a babies diet is because it can desensitize their taste buds to natural flavors, making him/her become dependant on salt. If you think about your own diet and how often you use salt, you may understand why it would be better for your infant to learn to appreciate the flavor of foods just as they are. Our tastes change as we get older and our taste buds dull. Your baby will naturally become a bit more immune to certain flavors as he/she grows older. There is no reason to help this process along. In addition, there has been a link to salt in infant’s food and the onset of diabetes later in life.
It is absolutely vital that you totally avoid honey during your baby’s first year. This is because honey contains bacteria spores which can easily lead to infant botulism. While this disease is quite rare, it can be very dangerous and even fatal when it does occur. In fact, even with the statistics showing that these harmful spores have only been found in a few cases, the illness they can cause is so severe that doctors suggest avoiding honey all together. Some parents even opt to wait until their child is well into the toddler years before allowing honey in his/her diet. If for some reason your baby should ever get honey by mistake or because someone did not know, there is a very low chance your baby will actually get sick. However, it is a good idea to watch for any symptoms including, poor sucking reflex, constipation, irritability, blank facial expression, loss of head control and a very weak or strained cry. If you have any doubt about the safety of your baby, contact your pediatrician right away.
Vegetables Which Are High in Nitrates
There is a list of vegetables which are high in nitrates and should not be given to babies under the age of 4 months of age, or even better a full year old. Spinach, turnips, beets, carrots, collard greens, cabbage and broccoli are among them. Foods which are too high in nitrates can affect your baby by causing what is known as “Blue Baby Disease”. This occurs because babies cannot process high amounts of nitrates and as a result the oxygen level in their blood will diminish greatly. When this happens the baby will take on a blue appearance. Some studies do suggest that vegetables which have been grown organically have a lower number of nitrates. However, it is still the wisest choice to avoid these foods altogether during the first four months of your baby’s life.
Avoiding nuts is important for a few reasons. The first and most important reason that babies should never be given nuts during the first year of their lives is that there is a high percentage of people who are allergic to nuts. Allergy to nuts can be quite serious and even fatal because what generally happens is that the tongue swells to the point of not being able to take in air. This can be life threatening in anyone, especially in a baby who cannot communicate with you properly. In addition, there have been many cases of young babies choking on nuts as they cannot chew them with ease. Keep in mind that peanut butter is no different in that is does contain nuts and if your baby should have an allergy to them, this can trigger a reaction.
While you have seen people give their babies cow’s milk when they are much younger than one year old, it is not at all recommended and should be avoided until at least 9 months of age. This is because cow’s milk contains much higher levels of things like protein, potassium and sodium than what your baby’s sensitive digestive system can handle adequately. This may cause your infant to experience discomfort or become ill in the form of vomiting or diarrhea. In addition, any of the nutrients which may be present in the milk will be lost as a baby cannot properly absorb them. Some people make the erroneous choice to feed their infants skim or low fat milk. This may be even worse as not only is there too high a concentration of sodium, protein and potassium levels but there is not enough fat to sustain the baby. This is a double no for babies under one year old.
There are other foods which you may want to avoid feeding your infant during the first year of his/her life but the above are just some of the choices which have been proven to be potentially dangerous or harmful to your infant. The best thing to do when deciding what to feed is to speak with your doctor or a pediatric nutritionist for a much more detailed list on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your baby’s diet.