When babies first start eating solids, a whole new world opens up, but some foods aren’t safe for your baby until they reach a certain age. Here are some food safety issues for your baby that you should know:
Until your baby is 7 months old, there are certain foods you should avoid. Beets, turnips, carrots, spinach, or collard greens contain large amounts of nitrates, which can cause anemia in young infants. If you want to include these foods into your baby’s diet, make sure your buy the commercial kind that are nitrate-free.
Until your child is 1 year old, avoid honey. Honey can contain Clostridium botulinum spores that may produce life-threatening toxins in infants (Botulism).
Unless specifically cleared by your pediatrician, you should avoid cow’s milk or soy milk, and stick with breast milk or formula until your child’s first birthday. Your baby can’t digest the protein in other milks until his digestive system has matured a bit. Cow and soy milks also don’t have all the nutrients he needs, and may contain minerals in amounts that can damage his kidneys.
Until your child is 4 years old, avoid these common choking hazards, or at the very least, let him have them only under strict adult supervision:
- Nuts, seeds, and raisins
- Raw vegetables, unless shredded or chopped into tiny pieces
- Hard or sticky candy, cough drops
- Chewing gum
- Whole grapes, cherries, tomatoes, or other small fruits, unless sliced or chopped into tiny pieces
- Soft, sticky foods like marshmallows, jelly, or gummy candies can get stuck in your child’s throat
- Peanut butter (and other nut butters) have a sticky consistency that can be hard for a young child to swallow safely.
- Foods or chips that are sharp or angular (tortilla chips, potato chips, hard crackers)
If your child experiences symptoms like a rash, vomiting, bloating, excessive gas, or diarrhea after a new food, these may be signs of an allergy or food intolerance and you should talk to your pediatrician.