- When and how to start solid foods (baby foods) in infants
- When and how to start finger foods and table foods
- How to prevent food allergies
Foods to Avoid for Babies
- Honey. Never give your child honey during the first year of life. Reason: rarely, it can cause infant botulism, a muscle weakness disease.
- Cow's milk (whole milk). Do not give during the first year of life. Reason: in some babies, it can cause a low iron level (anemia). Cow's milk formulas are fine.
- High-risk Foods for Choking. Do not give any foods your child might choke on. Some high-risk foods are grapes and hot dogs. These may block the airway and cause sudden death. Raw vegetables (like carrots) and peanuts should also be avoided until 4 years old. Reason: young children can't chew them and they could be inhaled into the lungs. Also, avoid large pieces of any sticky food (such as peanut butter).
- Heavy metals in trace amounts are found in some baby foods. The tiny amounts eaten are harmless. They can't be completely avoided. Reason: heavy metals are normally present in the soil and water (AAP).
- We all need iron in our diet to prevent anemia. Certain foods are very good sources of iron. Red meats, fish, and poultry are best.
- Lunch meats are also a good choice. Children may eat ham or turkey slices if they won't eat other meats.
- Other good iron sources are iron-enriched cereals and beans of all types. Egg yolks and peanut butter are iron-rich. Other good foods are plum juice and dark leafy greens. After age 4, raisins and other dried fruits can be offered.
Vitamins: When They Are Needed
- Formula-fed babies get all the vitamins they need from formula.
- Breast-fed babies need extra vitamin D. Start 400 units per day at 2 weeks of age. Vitamin D drops can be found in most drug stores.
- After your child is 1 and eating a balanced diet, added vitamins are usually not needed.
- If your child is a picky eater, give him 1 chewable vitamin pill. Do this at least twice a week. Gummy vitamins are not as helpful. Reason: they have all the vitamins, but not the minerals.