Babies start to have solid foods around 6 months. It is important that babies get introduced to a range of tastes and textures but there are some foods to avoid. If you have allergies, there may be some other foods to avoid but speak to your health visitor or GP for specific advice so you don’t avoid things unnecessarily.
Added salt or high salt
- Not good for young kidneys.
- Don’t add salt or use stock cubes or gravy or soy sauce, even baby stock is unnecessary for baby.
- Babies also acquire a taste for salt so the less salt they have, the less salt they will crave. They will get the salt they need from other foods, so if you can avoid it, don’t add salt (this is a great time for the rest of the family to cut down on salt and add flavour in other ways).
- Processed foods usually contain added salt so check the label and avoid those with added salt, if you can.
- Sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay, the leading cause of children to have operations.
- Avoid sugary snacks and drinks.
- Never put anything other than milk or water in a bottle.
- Add mashed fruit, breast or formula milk to sweeten if necessary.
- Babies naturally lean towards sweet tastes because breast milk is sweet so it is really important we get them used to more savoury tastes.
- Occasionally, honey contains bacteria which can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to a very serious illness (infant botulism).
- It’s best not to give your child honey until they’re one year old.
- Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help to prevent tooth decay.
Low fat foods
- Babies have small tummies so they need more energy from their food by weight.
- Babies need the fat and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
- Babies under 2 should have full fat milk, cheese and yoghurt and then semi skimmed until they are 5.
- Although you want full fat foods, try and give your child foods rich in unsaturated fat. Trim off the visible fat from meat and try and give them lean proteins like chicken (without the skin), mince with the fat skimmed off, eggs, pulses, fish, Also limit the use of coconut oil which is high in saturated fat.
Shark, swordfish and marline (not the most common of foods!)
- The amount of mercury in these fish can affect a baby’s growing nervous system.
Unpasteurised soft cheese and blue cheeses
- Potential risk of food poisoning.
Uncooked or partially cooked non-Lion marked eggs
- If the egg has the Lion mark, the hens have been vaccinated against salmonella and the practices on the farms reduce the risk of salmonella.
- Non marked eggs don’t come with the same assurance and so could be a risk – if using these, make sure they are fully cooked.
- Risk of food poisoning.
Foods containing bran
- High fibre diets are not great for babies because there is a lot of bulk without the energy and nutrients they need.
- Too much fibre can affect the absorption of some nutrients in the gut too.
- Bran has a high fibre content.
- Not for children under 5 years due to choking hazard.
- Nuts are good for babies (if they have no family history of nut allergy) but make sure you crush or grind nuts from 6 months.
Rice milk as a drink
- Because of the amount consumed and the arsenic which is found in low levels in rice.
Sweetened fruit squashes, fizzy drinks, tea and coffee
- Tea contains tannins which can affect the absorption of iron. Some herbal teas contain tannins too.
- Caffeine can have a negative effect on children so tea and coffee should be avoided.
Undiluted fruit juices – only give juice well diluted at meal times
- Due to the sugar and acid in fruit juice, it is only recommended in dilute form.
- If you can avoid it, even better, but if you can’t, dilute as much as possible but a minimum of 50% water.
- Avoid putting juice in a bottle and limit juice to mealtimes to reduce the amount of time the juice is in contact with the teeth during the day.
Anything marketed for adults e.g. cholesterol lowering products
- They haven’t been tested for babies so they might have undesirable effects.
If you would like further information, please get in touch. There are so many wonderful new food experiences for baby to enjoy.