Most parents know that for the first four to six months of life, babies should only be fed breastmilk or baby formula. But what about when Junior is ready to try his baby teeth on a real food? Find out which foods aren’t safe for babies and keep Junior healthy and safe.
Honey is practically a superfood. It’s a tasty sweetener, it never goes bad, and it’s a good home remedy for a sore throat. But as healthy as honey is for you, it’s not good for your baby. Honey may contain spores that can cause botulism, a rare but serious foodbourne disease that can cause paralysis and even death. Older children and adults have developed digestive systems that can destroy the spores, but babies’ guts do not have this ability yet. Even if the honey is cooked, organic, pure, etc., don’t give it to your baby.
With the exception of breastmilk and formula, you shouldn’t give milk to your baby. While milk is a rich source of protein and vitamins, it doesn’t contain all the nutritional content that babies need. Animal milks contain proteins that babies cannot digest, which can cause upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. In some children, milk can also cause allergic reactions that mimic the symptoms of a cold. The American Acadmey of Pediatrics recommends that, until 12 months of age, the only milks parents should give their children are breastmilk and baby formula. This means no cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soymilk, coconut milk, almond milk—basically, no non-human milks.
You love chocolate, so it’s only natural that you’d want to share it with your beloved baby. However, like tea and coffee (which also shouldn’t be given to babies), chocolate contains caffeine, which isn’t good for babies. Chocolate also contains high amounts of sugar and milk fats, which your baby may have trouble digesting. Until your baby is at least a year old, save your chocolate for yourself—you deserve it for being such a great parent.
Beans are great for babies, but bean-based foods may not be. The soft mash of refried beans might seem like something your baby would like, but as much as you love your burritos and bean dip, don’t give them to your baby. Refried beans are rarely just that, and often have extra spices and oils mixed in that might not be kind to your baby’s tummy. Chilis, bean salads, and hummus probably shouldn’t be given to a baby either.
Most Dried Fruits
Commercially-made dried fruits typically contain lots of extra sugar and preservatives, so they aren’t very healthy to begin with. Homemade dried fruits are healthier but still pose a choking hazard to babies. Hard dried fruits, such as banana chips, are especially bad. Large chunks of chewy fruit, like dried mango, are also a no-no. The exception is small dried fruits, like raisins and dried cranberries, which are usually okay—but check the ingredients to make sure it’s plain dehydrated fruit, with no extra sugars or ingredients.
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t give a jalepeno pepper to a baby. And using flavorful spices, such as cinnamon or garlic, in your food is also fine. But what about foods that have just a little kick? Unfortunately, no, you really shouldn’t give spicy food to a baby. Spicy foods can upset a baby’s developing digestive system, and if you give them too much, it could even cause them pain. Wait until your baby is at least 12 months old (or older, if he or she has a delicate tummy) to try spicy foods like curry, chili, etc.
Popcorn is definitely a no-no. Even a little piece of popcorn can be a choking hazard to a baby. Microwavable popcorn is full of preservatives, oils, fats, and other chemical nasties that you probably shouldn’t be eating yourself, let alone giving to your baby. Homemade plain popped corn is better for mom and dad, but even for a baby with teeth, chewing popcorn is a difficult task and the kernels could get lodged in the baby’s throat. Popcorn has no real nutritional value, either, so there’s no reason to give it to a baby. So the next time you’re at the movie theater, make sure to bring a snack for the baby so you don’t feel pressed to share your buttery, salty snack.