Once baby clocks six months, it’s time to start trying solid foods ranging from purees to mashes to soft boiled finger foods. There are however some foods that we should avoid introducing to babies until after they turn one year or more. This is because they are either pose a health or choking hazard to babies.
This is not good for their kidneys and therefore too much salt should not be added to your baby’s food. If you are cooking for the whole family and plan to give your baby part of it, then it is worth scooping out baby’s portion before adding salt. Stock and seasoning cubes contain a high amount of salts and should be avoided too. Personally, i believe a little pinch won’t be of any harm but it may all be better to avoid it until after 12 months. You can use natural herbs and spices in baby’s food like nutmeg, dawadawa, okpei, scent leaf (nchuanwu/effirin), cinnamon etc.
Some bacteria in honey can trigger some toxins that causes an illness called ‘infant botulism’ which can be serious for your baby. This sickness may make your baby to have constipation, poor appetite, weakened sucking and also dehydration. Don’t be tempted to even use honey as a cough syrup until your baby is one year old.
Whole groundnuts or other types of nuts should not be given to your baby as they can choke on it, which could be very dangerous or fatal. You can give your baby groundnuts or nuts that are crushed or blended well like peanut butter as long as there is no history of allergies or eczema in your family.
Sugar and Fizzy Drinks
This includes sugary snacks and drinks too like fruit juices as they help trigger tooth decay. Instead of pure sugar, why not use fruits like banana and mango to sweeten your baby’s pap or cereal.
Raw and Undercooked Eggs
I am sure this cannot be an issue because we Nigerians are used to cooking our foods until they are done, eggs inclusive. But it is worth mentioning to know that whole eggs can be given to your baby from six months, just make sure it is cooked well till both the egg white and yolk are solid.
Infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk for babies under one year. The cow milk (powdered or liquid) that we take should not be used to replace infant formula or breast milk because it does not contain the nutritional components to sustain a growing baby. It is also difficult for babies to digest the proteins in it. Yogurts can however be offered to babies as they are cultured and more digestible. Choose natural yogurt and sweeten with fruits like this.
Tea or Coffee
Tannin and caffeine which are found in these two are not suitable for babies and even children as it can inhibit their absorption of nutrients form the food they eat.
Low Fat Foods
In this era of #fitfam, you may be tempted to give your baby low-fat foods that you have made for yourself. No no, because fat is an important source of calories for babies until at least 2 years of age. They should generally get half of their daily calories from fat for the normal development of their body and brain.
There are foods that pose a choking hazard for babies despite some of them being good for them. Just like whole nuts, foods that cannot dissolve or be easily mashed with baby’s gum and also that they can easily suck into their wind pipes should be avoided. Whole pea, raw carrots, hard apples or pears, grapes, popcorn, chunks of beef or chicken should all be avoided unless they are mashed or pureed to make it easier for their gums.