Babies eat baby food. Everybody knows that. That’s why baby food is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the companies involved in making it have released so many different products and formulas. Babies don’t only eat baby food, though. They’re naturally curious, and they’ll eat almost everything we feed to them. They won’t be able to cope with every type of food before they get their ‘real’ teeth, and they’ll enjoy some foods more than others as they develop their taste buds, but experimenting with different food types is something that all parents do as they prepare to transition their newborn away from baby formulas and on to conventional food.
As is the case with most things in life, moderation is the key to success. We all know which foods are bad for us, and because of that, we all know which foods we should only eat in small portions, or only on occasions as opposed to every day. Even then, though, there are some foods that are more dangerous to babies than they are to adults – and they’re food types that would never occur to you as being dangerous. All of us would be horrified to discover that we’d accidentally put our baby’s life at risk by feeding them something that they shouldn’t have eaten, so let’s avoid the risk of that happening. Here are five things that you should never feed a baby who’s less than one year old.
Scientists and dietitians are forever telling us that we should eat more fruit. We all know that we should be getting our ‘five a day,’ and many of us fail in the attempt to do so, but we’re keen to ensure that our babies get their fill of fruit because we know it’s good for them. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Citrus fruits (that’s limes, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries) have exceptionally high levels of Vitamin C. Those Vitamin C levels can cause rashes in adults with allergies, but those rashes are far worse in infants. Stomach upsets are also common. In very extreme cases, such reactions can be fatal. Stick with non-citrus fruits and fruit juices until they’re past their first birthday.
This is similar to the situation with citrus fruits. We’re all told that milk is good for us because it helps to build healthy bones and teeth. In fact, many of us were ordered to drink cow’s milk every day when we were at school! We’re not saying that milk isn’t good for you, because it is, but where that milk comes from matters to very young children. Breast milk is still the best option, but we appreciate that not everybody can or wants to go down that route. There are still substitutes available, though, and they should be used in place of cow’s milk because cow’s milk contains such high levels of lactose that it will inevitably lead to stomach upsets. Surprisingly, it’s a myth that cow’s milk is essential to any step of a child’s development – other forms of milk work just as well.
Some people never develop a taste for seafood in their whole lives. Others swear by it, and because they swear by it, they’re keen for their children to start eating it as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s totally up to you as a decision – but save their first dose of shellfish until they’re at least one year old. Even then, it’s probably wise to consult your pediatrician before they enjoy their first portion. Aside from the fact that shellfish and seafood allergies are reasonably common, some shellfish contain high levels of mercury that your infant’s developing digestive system simply won’t be able to process and cope with. The best fish to start developing your baby’s palate with are softer, gentler fish like cod and flounder. They can work their way up to shrimps and lobster as they get a little older!
While we could start listing things like chocolate and ice cream one at a time, it’s easier for us to put them all in one category and say that any babies younger than twelve months old should be kept away from sugar. We’re not sure whether sugar should be more accurately referred to as a food type or a national obsession. It inspires such devotion that it’s even been used as a theme at online slots websites, where you’ll see it in free spins casino like “Sugar Train” and “Sugar Rush.” Perhaps there’s a clue in that. Online slots websites are targeted at adults, so we should take the hint that sugar is for adults, too! You shouldn’t be any more inclined to allow a small child near sugar than you would be to allow them access to online slots – by which we mean they shouldn’t be consuming any of it at all. It can turn them off breast milk, cause obesity, and prompt them to reject other foods that don’t taste as sweet.
Yes, just like fruit and milk, raw vegetables are bad for small children. We’ve spent our whole lives believing that eating fruit and vegetables and drinking milk is the key to a healthy lifestyle, but it won’t be for our children if we start them on it too early! There are two reasons why you shouldn’t give raw vegetables to a baby. The first is an obvious one – they’re hard and chunky, and so they present a risk of choking. The second is something that most people don’t know, which is that raw fruits contain a surprisingly high level of nitrates. That won’t be a problem for a child who’s two or three, but it could easily be too much for a younger child to deal with. Processed or cooked vegetables are a different matter, and you can start introducing those at around the six-month mark, but raw vegetables should only be on their plate after their first birthday.
How many of these surprised you? We all knew sugar wasn’t good for us, and perhaps some of us could have taken an educated guess about shellfish, but milk, fruit, and vegetables? We were as shocked as you are when we found out! Now you know, though, and so you can keep them off your baby’s menu!