There are several foods that can be hazardous to your baby’s health.
Starting your baby on solid foods is an important step in your baby’s development. But what you don’t feed your baby is just as important as what you do feed him. There are many foods you shouldn’t feed your baby because they can cause allergic reactions, botulism, or dangerous bacteria to enter your baby’s system. This is especially important in the first twelve months of a baby’s life because their digestive system cannot protect them from bacteria as it can in an older child.
Below is a list of foods you should avoid serving your child during the first year of life.
Honey, Corn Syrup, and Maple Syrup
Babies should never be given any of these products because they can contain the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. When babies ingest this, it turns into a toxin that causes botulism. Infant botulism attacks the baby’s nervous system and can result in death.
Raw or Un-Pasteurized Milk
Babies should refrain from cow’s milk entirely for the first year due to allergies and should never drink the raw or un-pasteurized types. This milk contains pathogens, micro-organisms that cause diseases such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and other organisms. People with weakened immune systems, such as young babies, are at the most risk for developing a serious illness, possibly resulting in death, from pathogens.
The list of cheeses your baby should avoid is feta, brie, camembert, blue veined and Mexican-style cheeses. Soft cheeses, even when refrigerated, can contain the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium causes flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches, and can eventually hit the nervous system causing stroke-like symptoms. For young babies’ immune systems, this can be fatal.
Yes, even juice needs to be pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Un-pasteurized juice can contain the bacterium E. coli and Salmonella, among others. About 98% of all juice sold is pasteurized but read the label if you are not sure.
Babies and young children should never eat raw eggs or foods prepared with raw eggs. Raw eggs can contain the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis, which can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Always cook eggs until yokes are firm and make sure foods containing eggs are cooked thoroughly.
Pediatricians prefer you wait to serve cooked egg whites to your baby until after the first year. Allergic reactions to egg whites are very common, so it is best to wait until your child has grown older to introduce them. Cooked yokes that are either scrambled or mashed are fine to serve to your baby.
Oranges, grapefruits, kiwi fruit and other citrus fruits can produce an allergic reaction in babies under 12 months old. Avoid these altogether or consult your pediatrician before trying to add them to your child’s diet.
Wheat and Wheat Products
Refrain from offering your baby foods made with wheat until he is at least eight months old. Wheat can cause allergic reactions, so it is best to wait until baby is older to try it.
Nuts and Peanut Butter
These can also provoke an allergic reaction, so it is best to wait until baby is older to offer them.
The bacteria Salmonella can exist in all forms of sprouts, (alfalfa, clover and radish), even ones that are grown at home. Refrain from serving sprouts, or any foods prepared with sprouts, to your baby.
Pre-Sweetened Foods and Candy
Sugar-fortified cereals, candy, sweetened juices and sodas are all low in nutrients and high in sugar, an ingredient your child doesn’t need a lot of. Once children are pre-disposed to these sweat foods they will prefer them to the healthier ones. This can also lead to your child being overweight or obese later in life. Skip the sugary foods and give your child foods that are healthier for him. Make sure the juice you serve is 100% fruit juice, not the flavored varieties.
As your baby grows older and his immune system grows stronger you will be able to expand on his diet. For now, keeping baby healthy and happy is the most important thing you can do.