It's an exciting time once your baby starts eating solid foods at 6 months old, and then explore different flavors and textures as he reaches his first year. And while we are careful what we give them, sometimes it can be tempting to let them have a "taste" especially when he hungrily grabs whatever you're munching.
Here are foods you should avoid giving your baby from 2 years old and below, as advised and recommended by experts:
1. Salt There are specific recommendations for salt intake for kids. For the 1-year-old and below set, the rule is not to add any salt whatsoever into their food. Their kidneys are still developing so they are not yet ready to process it. For baby food, try baby-friendly herbs and spices instead like cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, and parsley, as recommended by nutrition coach Renee Rose Rodrigo. When buying baby food products, it’s good practice to check the nutrition table for salt content as well. 2. Sugar Children below 2 years old do not need the added sugar in their diet, according to the most recent recommendations from the American Heart Society (AHS). They can't have sugary drinks or pre-packaged sweets. “Taste preferences begin early in life, so limiting added sugars may help children develop a life-long preference for healthier foods,” says AHS. Again, always check the nutrition label when buying baby food products if they contain additives like sugar and salt.
3. Honey It isn’t just the sugar you’re trying to avoid. Honey surprisingly is not advisable for young babies, according to the U.K. National Health Service (NHS). Wait until he is 1 year old before introducing it into his diet. Honey can contain the spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria can produce toxins in a baby's intestines leading to infant botulism, which can cause constipation, poor appetite, lethargy and, in more severe cases, even pneumonia and dehydration.
4. Popcorn, whole grapes, and jelly snacks Food that's sticky, slippery, hard, chunky and round are all potential choking hazards to babies. Other foods to avoid also include raisins, marshmallows, whole nuts and berries, whole hot dogs, candy, chips and white bread (as it can stick together), as advised by KidsHealth. Only choose the food you can mush, can be gummed (like ripe banana and well-cooked pasta), and picked or sliced apart, so it's small enough.
5. Raw and undercooked food You might like your yolks runny, but when it comes to your little one, always cook the egg all the way through -- both the yolk and the white should be firm, says the Food and Drug Administration. High temperatures kill harmful bacteria. So meat should reach 62° C, ground meat at 71° C and poultry at 74° C. Fish are okay to give to babies once he's around 4 to 6 months old, according to BabyCenter but cook it until the flesh becomes opaque and the meat flakes easily with a fork. See here for the updated guidelines on fish consumption for children and also pregnant women.