At the age of six months, it’s time to introduce solids to your baby. Every mother is keen to give her baby a variety of foods that provide him/her with the needed nutrients. However, there are some foods that shouldn’t be given to babies before the age of one year. Babies’ digestive systems, before the age of 12 months, are still not capable of processing some foods.
Besides, other foods might cause allergies and serious medical conditions to babies if early introduced. Moreover, some whole foods might cause choking in babies. Here is a list of foods that you have to avoid including in your baby’s meal before his/her first birthday including the danger of each for babies at this age.
Foods to avoid for babies under 12 months:
- Cow milk
- Unpasteurized cheese
Although honey has endless nutritional and curing benefits, it shouldn’t be given to babies under the age of one. Honey contains bacteria that can produce toxins in your baby’s intestines leading to Botulism.
Botulism is a serious condition that occurs after clostridium botulinum bacterial spores grow in a baby’s intestinal tract. It usually attacks babies between 2-8 months. Honey causes constipation for babies too. Avoid giving honey to your baby even in the form of other foods like honey cereals or crackers.
Not only does cow milk not contain the right amount of nutrients your baby needs in this stage, but also it has proteins and minerals that your baby’s kidney can’t handle and too much lactose that is heavy on your baby’s tummy. Moreover, cow milk might put your baby at risk of intestinal bleeding.
Never add salt or stock cubes to your baby’s food before he/she reaches 12 months. Before the first year of age, their kidneys are still not mature enough to process salt. Their needed intake of salt during this stage is low and can be met through breast milk or formula milk, followed by fruits, vegetables, eggs.
High salt intake can cause high blood pressure leading to heart diseases and strokes as babies get older. The need of salt taste in food is a learned taste preference. Therefore, the best way to avoid developing a preference for salty foods is to not introduce them in the first place. Even healthy sea salt should be avoided as it contains sodium chloride.
It’s embedded in our Egyptian culture to give chocolates to children from a very young age. However, this shouldn’t be done before the age of one and you have to be careful later about the amount of chocolate you give to your child. Chocolates contain many stimulants that are harmful to your child’s health.
- Caffeine: Increases blood pressure and heart rate
- Sugar, theobromine, and phenylethylamine: Have stimulating effects on a baby’s nervous system.
- Anandamide: Affects brain function if consumed in large quantities.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recommends introducing cheese to your baby by the age of seven to eight months. However, it’s better to check with your baby’s pediatrician before including cheese in the diet as it may be delayed until the baby is 10 months old according to his health condition and nutrition development.
The important part is to include only pasteurized cheese as light cheddar, cottage, and cream cheese. Avoid soft-aged, mold-ripened, and bacteria-ripened cheeses as they might contain a harmful bacteria called Listeria that causes food poisoning.
When you first give cheese to your baby, be alert to any symptoms of lactose intolerance or cow milk allergy like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, bloating, or gas.
Allergic reaction signs can range from mild to severe. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency. Symptoms include hives, wheezing, swelling of the throat, lips, or tongue. This requires immediate medical intervention.
Babies are naturally born with a predilection for sweet tastes as breast milk is sweet. If babies are introduced to artificially sweetened foods at a young age, they are more likely to often crave sugar and in larger amounts as they grow. Adding sugar to a baby’s food before 12 months has many harmful effects on his/her health.
- Obesity: Artificial sugar in your baby’s diet means more calories, converted into fats and stored in the body.
- Diabetes: Consuming sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes later on.
- Lethargy: It’s a state of fatigue, sleeplessness, and sluggishness that can be caused by too much insulin, resulting from high blood sugar levels, which causes a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
- Hyperactivity: Sugar is quickly absorbed into the blood and the blood sugar levels spike. This leads to higher adrenaline levels and causes hyperactivity.
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Sources used in this article:
- Foods and drinks to limit – Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention
- Foods to avoid giving babies and young children – National Health United Kingdom
- 12 Foods You Should Avoid for Your Baby – First Cry Parenting
- Botulism – Mayo Clinic
- How much is too much salt for babies? – The Children’s Nutritionist
- What You Should Know About Lethargy – Healthline
- Salt and Sugar for Babies – Reasons to Avoid Them – First Cry Parenting
- When Can Babies Eat Cheese? – Healthline