Never Feed Your Baby This
(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.
Some Other Foods to Avoid
• Salt (baby’s kidneys are not strong enough)
• Low-fat foods (not recommended for kids under 2)
• Undiluted citrus and fruit juices
• Raw eggs
• Artificial sweeteners
• Hot dogs and sausages that are high in fat
• Foods with added spices and seasonings
Pea-sized foods are the safest for babies because there’s less of a choking hazard. Cut or dice everything you serve your baby, from fruits and vegetables to cheese and meats. Small, hard foods like nuts, popcorn, hard candies, raisins should be avoided as your baby could choke on them. Even soft foods like marshmallows and jelly candies can get stuck in your baby’s throat.
Doctors recommend waiting until the age of 1 or later to introduce solid foods that are common allergens, such as foods containing nuts. It’s best to introduce new foods gradually, waiting several days to make sure your baby does not have a bad reaction to the meal. If allergies run in your family, check with your doctor to come up with the best plan for introducing foods like cow’s milk, nuts, wheat, soy, fish and eggs.
Never let your baby eat in the car. It is difficult to supervise while driving and it’s possible for them to choke on food if the ride becomes bumpy. If using a rub-on teething medication, make sure to keep an eye on your baby’s eating habits because the medication could numb his or her throat and make it hard to swallow.
The Safest Foods To Feed Your Baby
Within the first few weeks of weaning, it’s safest to feed babies pureed foods, like pureed carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cooked apple, banana and pear. Packaged baby foods often contain a lot of sugar, so it’s actually healthiest to puree the food yourself, so that you know exactly what you’re feeding your baby.