For the first 6 months of your baby’s life, breastfeeding is the best food option, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When your baby’s development and behavior indicates, he will be ready for the introduction of solid foods to his diet. As you expand your baby’s diet, keep in mind specific foods you should avoid before your baby’s first birthday.
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Avoid giving your baby cow’s milk during the first year of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren website. Cow’s milk contains proteins and minerals that a young baby’s system cannot digest effectively, which could lead to illness. The AAP also encourages parents to avoid giving a baby juice during the first year because of the high concentration of sweetness in even sugar-free juice. If you choose to give your baby juice during the first year, put it off until your child is at least 6 to 9 months old.
Some sweeteners can be lethal to infants, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Avoid giving your little one food items that contain honey or corn syrup before age 1 due to the possibility of contracting botulism from the sweetening ingredients that may have been in contact with bacteria-contaminated soil, the Utah Department of Health explains. Synthetic reduced-calorie sweeteners can upset your child’s system and cause diarrhea. Even foods that contain granulated sugar could promote obesity and fill your child up, preventing her from eating more nutritious foods.
Several foods top the list of the most common allergenic foods, including wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and tree nuts, according to HealthyChildren. A family history of food allergies may lead to a physician recommending you delay introducing any of these foods to your baby during the first year. Without a family history, the AAP recommends introducing commonly allergenic foods to a child as complementary foods after the introduction of other solid foods after 4 to 6 months. If you notice a skin rash, gastrointestinal upset or wheezing after your child eats allergenic foods, seek advice from your physician and discontinue those foods. In a medical emergency where your child experiences breathing difficulty, call 911. A child with a life-threatening food allergy may need to have epinephrine injections available to treat possible future episodes.
A variety of foods can be choking hazards for infants. Avoid giving your child round, hard or chewy foods, such as candy, raw carrots, whole grapes, whole olives, large meat chunks, cubes of cheese, raw apples or pears, popcorn, hard chips, nuts and hot dogs. Babies under age 1 do not have sufficient teeth for chewing and they do not possess strong chewing and swallowing skills. Cutting up foods such as very ripe pears, ripe avocados, well-cooked carrots and well-cooked apples may make them safer for your baby. Cut food pieces so they are no larger than a half-inch across in any direction, advises the University of Michigan. Smaller food morsels are safer. Always supervise your baby's meal time carefully.