(BlackDoctor.org) — As a new parent, you have a LOT of questions. A common one is what are the best foods for a baby, and what are the best ones to avoid.
The Importance of Breastfeeding
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continued breastfeeding (or formula feeding, when necessary) beyond a child’s first birthday, as long as it’s mutually desired by mother and child, and unless a doctor suggests otherwise. In fact, worldwide, the average age for weaning is between two and four. In some societies, breastfeeding continues up to age six or seven — not that we’re saying you should follow suit, of course!
Scientific research on the benefits of long-term breastfeeding for the health and well-being of both the child and the mother continues to grow. Further research has shown that the longer children are breastfed in their first year of life, the better they perform in tests of cognitive skills and academic achievement. This especially holds true for children who are breastfed for more than eight months.
That said, when you and your baby are finally ready to take the next step beyond breastfeeding (or formula feeding), here’s what you should avoid at least until baby’s first birthday:
Honey can contain poisonous botulism spores. While an adult’s intestinal tract is strong enough to prevent the growth of these spores, a baby’s system is not, and can produce life-threatening, poisoning toxins.
The sticky and thick consistency of peanut butter can make it hard for an infant to swallow. Avoid peanut butter and other thick buttery spreads to your child.
Breast milk is the most advised choice until your child is a year old. Babies cannot properly digest the protein in cow’s milk. Also, cow’s milk lacks many nutrients found in breast milk, and contains minerals that could damage a baby’s developing kidneys.