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Feeding a baby well is so important because their nutrition directly impacts how well they develop. Giving them the wrong foods can cause all kinds of problems; some much more serious than others. To help you boost your knowledge and confidence, here are five foods you should never give to a baby:
1. Cow’s Milk
Little babies are unable to digest cows milk very well. It contains a ton of protein and extras which can make a newborn’s kidneys work overtime, causing hot flashes, diarrhea, and sometimes anemia.
Even worse, the milk doesn’t contain a lot of the nutrients that your baby needs.
Instead, use an age-appropriate baby formula. Once your child celebrates their first birthday, if you want to introduce cow’s milk slowly and carefully in addition to a well-balanced diet, then you can safely do so.
Babies under a year old should not be fed honey because a certain bacteria (called Clostridium) is common in foods like honey. It can cause botulism which creates problems with digestion, muscle weakness, and poor latching. Honey in products like cereal, or on its own, should be avoided until a child is one year or older. Use mashed bananas or homemade applesauce instead as a natural sweetened suitable for your baby.
3. Whole Nuts
If your family has a history of nut allergies, you should consult a pediatrician for allergy testing and advice on ensuring you introduce nuts to your baby safely. If there is no history of nut allergies, then your baby can safely have nuts in their diet from the time they start weaning.
Finely chopped nuts, and salt and sugar-free peanut butter, can be added to baby foods as a great source of protein. You should, however, never give kids whole nuts until they are five years old. Whole nuts are a choking risk, so they should be avoided completely. If you want a healthy, protein-packed alternative to nuts, consider things like lentils, beans, fish, and yogurt.
4. Certain Cheeses
Mold-ripened soft cheese (like brie), goats milk cheese, and blue-veined soft cheeses should not be given to babies. They all have a risk of carrying something called listeria, which is a bacteria that can cause illness. Instead, boost your child’s calcium intake with cheddar and yogurt, or dairy-free sources like leafy greens, broccoli, and oranges.
From this and the honey section, you have probably picked up that babies have not yet developed the immune system needed to battle bacteria that barely have an impact on adults. Keep this in mind with all the food choices you make for your child.
5. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice can be problematic for babies as it can reduce their appetite for breast milk or formula. It can also cause issues with tooth development and lead to diarrhea and tummy problems. The AAP (American Academy Of Pediatrics) suggests that fruit juice not be given to babies under a year old, and then after that time, only in small amounts and not before bedtime. Whole fruits (chopped into small pieces or as purée) are much better for babies and provide a greater nutritional punch.
Babies are sensitive little souls, and it’s up to us as parents to feed them safe, nutritional foods that help them grow big and strong. If you’re ever in need of nutritional advice when it comes to feeding your baby, do consult your healthcare providers. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and safety of your baby.