As a parent, there’s nothing more important than your child’s nutrition. You want your baby to grow up strong, healthy and happy. But, not all foods are safe for babies and toddlers during their first year or more. Here are 10 dangerous baby foods to avoid.
Many parents aren’t particularly inclined to give their little one sugar-laden candy. Not only because it can make your child hyperactive, there are also important health reasons to steer clear of sweets. Eating sugar can cause babies to develop an unhealthy craving for junk food. This in turn can make it harder to convince them to eat the nutrient-rich foods they need. Additionally, round candy is a choking hazard.
All forms of honey — even cooked — may contain Clostridium botulinum, the spore responsible for botulism. The chance may be small, but trust us, it’s a risk not worth taking. Even at toxin levels far below what it would take to sicken an adult to get sick, botulism can cause muscle problems and paralysis in infants.
3. Cow’s Milk
Hold off giving cow’s milk and other dairy products to your baby. Their systems need time before they can successfully digest the complex proteins and enzymes in milk. If possible, always opt for breast milk. It provides and supplies the best nutrients and antibodies for your baby. If that’s not possible, select formulas designed specifically for infants.
4. Citrus Fruit and Orange Juice
It’s a great idea to introduce fruit and vegetables into your child’s diet. This helps them develop a taste for healthy foods. However, hold off on the oranges, grapefruit, pineapple and other citrus fruits. They are too acidic for a baby’s delicate tummy and could cause stomach pain or acid reflux.
Your parents or grandparents may have already told you that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or soda are a no-no, but what are the reasons behind this advice? For one thing, caffeine makes your child’s heart beat faster, leading to anxiety, restlessness and headaches. Coffee consumption can also cause diarrhea and dehydration. Finally, any amount of caffeine — even from chocolate — gets in the way of a baby’s natural sleep cycle.
Doctors have divided opinions on whether fish is safe for infants. On one hand, many types of fish — such as haddock and tilapia — contain positive nutrients. However, tuna may contain levels of mercury high enough to put pregnant moms and babies at risk. Also, there are the potential allergy dangers from fish and shellfish. If your pediatrician gives you the go-ahead, discuss with them which fish is best for you.
7. Peanut Butter
Some pediatricians discourage parents from exposing children to peanut butter and grains at a young age. Many believe it can reduce the risk of food allergies. Others recommend staying away from it completely to avoid the possible risk of an allergic reaction. It’s best to speak with your pediatrician to monitor any potential issues. In any case, avoid chunky peanut butter and give kids only a small quantity — not a spoonful — since the sticky stuff can also be a choking hazard.
8. Raw Carrots
Carrots are an excellent food choice for your baby. Just make sure you cook them and cut them into manageable pieces. Raw carrots are too hard to chew for infants. And don’t worry, cooked carrots have the same nutritional value as fresh ones.
9. Marshmallows, Gummy Bears and Chewing Gum
If it’s squishy, it should be safe for babies, right? Actually, spongy and sticky foods are dangerous because of how easily they can get stuck in an infant’s throat. Babies don’t fully understand the concept of chewing. So, they’re more likely to attempt swallowing everything whole.
10. Undercooked Meat
Healthy proteins are a good choice for introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet. Just watch out for two things: first, cut the meat small enough for them to swallow safely. Second, cook it longer than you would for an adult. Babies have a weaker immune system, so you want to go the extra mile to eliminate bacteria.
New Foods Can Be Fun
Don’t let a few dangerous baby foods keep you from presenting your child with new and exciting culinary experiences. It’s healthy for your baby to have a bountiful diet loaded with awesome nutrients straight from the source. However, before adding any new foods ask your pediatrician for guidance. For other helpful tips and trustworthy parenting advice, check out our helpful blog articles.