Having a baby is a wonderful experience. While at one hand it is quite amazing and fulfilling, on the other hand it can be a very stressful and confusing job, too. First time parents are always worrying about whether or not they are parenting right, and what if they accidentally harm their baby? Yes, the challenges of parenthood can be quite daunting.
As parents, we have a natural instinct to protect our little ones and provide them with everything they need. We all want to give our babies everything we can afford, just to make them healthy and happy. However, there are some things which you should not give your little kid. Your little angel, for example, may always be screaming for ice cream but we all know that you can’t it to him every single day.
While this was a very clear cut example, sometimes parents may not be very clear on what to give their baby and what to avoid. This is why today we are going to present you with a list of things which you can’t give your baby. This is a comprehensive list, so read on to find out about all the things you must avoid.
So what things you can’t give your baby ??
1 – Cow Milk:
Every baby needs milk, and really, is there any difference between different types of milk? The answer is yes, indeed there is! Babies have a delicate digestive system, which is why doctors advice that for the first six months, they should be fed nothing but mother’s milk or formula – mother’s milk being the preference.
Even when babies start eating solid food, their tummies and intestines are still not developed enough to process cow milk till they are older than a year. The minerals present in cow milk can even cause damage to a baby’s kidneys. For at least the first year of a baby’s life, if you must give milk other than breast milk, go for formula. This is especially designed to suit a baby’s needs. If at all you have to give an animal’s milk, goat’s is still preferable to cow milk, as it has lower fat content and can be digested more easily.
2 – Honey:
This one might come as a surprise to many parents, as honey is usually seen as a wonder food, and indeed for adults it is. However, for babies up to a year old, the food item can be quite dangerous. This is because honey sometimes harbors spores of a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism.
Babies who suffer from this disease become weak and lethargic, with poor suckling ability. While every morsel of honey definitely does not contain the spores, it is better to be safe and avoid it for the first year altogether.
3 – Carrots, Peas and Other Hard Vegetables:
Vegetables are good for you; everyone knows that. And of course they are good for kids too. However, little babies should not be given raw, hard vegetables like carrot pieces, peas etc. as they might prove to be a choking hazard. You can offer these vegetables to babies older than six months but only if they have been thoroughly cooked and hence softened. Mash them with a fork before serving.
4 – Other Vegetables you should Avoid Giving Babies:
There are a few other vegetables which you should not give your little one, whether cooked or raw. These include spinach, lettuce and collard greens. These vegetables have high levels of nitrates. In an adult’s stomach, these nitrates are broken down by acid and hence rendered harmless. However, babies have not yet developed very strong stomach acid, and thus the nitrates can bind oxygen, preventing it from being properly supplied to their bodies.
Keep in mind that this restriction is only for babies younger than a year.
5 – Nuts:
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts taste great and are rich in nutrients, but still are not a good option for babies. They are hard and babies do not yet have molars with which to chew them. These nuts are thus a choking hazard and can get stuck in your baby’s windpipe.
People often crush nuts and then give them to babies, but even that is not a good idea as some hard little pieces can still go in the baby’s windpipe and cause a severe coughing fit.
6 – Other Hard Foods:
Popcorn and all other hard food items are strictly off limits as they can cause choking.
7 – Seeds:
Whenever you are feeding your baby bits of fresh fruit, make sure you remove the seeds. This goes for all fruits including oranges, watermelons etc. Seeds may be small but they can still enter the windpipe and illicit a strong choking reaction. It is best to be safe and avoid seeds altogether.
8 – Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter tastes amazing, and is quite soft and smooth. Why then, you might be wondering, should they be avoided in babies? For one thing, peanut butter may illicit an allergic reaction in your baby. Parents of young babies are not yet aware of their little one’s allergies, and if the baby is allergic to peanuts, giving him peanut butter can be quite hazardous.
Another reason is that peanut butter is quite sticky. If, by mistake, your baby aspirates a spoonful of peanut butter and starts to choke on it, it won’t be easy to remove the sticky material from his windpipe. Therefore, if you want to feed your baby peanut butter, don’t give it to him straight from the jar. Instead, spread it in a thin layer on a slice, so there is less chance of the sticky food getting stuck in her throat. Also, introduce this food item alone so if there is an allergic reaction, you will know what caused it.
And if at all there is family history of allergy to peanuts, avoid peanut butter altogether.
9 – Other Sticky Food Items:
Sticky food items like sticky candies, marshmallows etc. should all be avoided for the same reason – they are difficult to dislodge from the windpipe, even by performing the Heimlich maneuver. If your baby chokes on one of these food items, it can be a very serious problem and you really don’t want to risk that.
10 – Whole Grapes and Other Large Chunks:
It is recommended that for babies less than one year old, you should not give them any food item which is greater than ½ inch in size. If you want to feed them fruits, for example, or bread, cut them up into little pieces and give them one at a time. Babies have trouble swallowing large chunks of food, and may choke on them instead.
If you want to give them grapes, always make sure you slice them in two pieces vertically. That will be safer and your baby will be able to eat it without harming himself.
11 – Some Varieties of Fish:
Fish are rich in nutrients, one very important of which is omega 3- fatty acid. Fish is in fact good for a baby’s brain development, and is a rich source of proteins. However, some fish are very high in mercury and therefore should be avoided. These include tuna, shark, swordfish and mackerel.
Instead, go for salmon, trout, cod, haddock or even scallops. Just make sure that you carefully remove all the bones before feeding the fish to your baby, and give it to him in small pieces. Also, the amount of fish you feed your little one should not be too much. Once a week is an adequate amount; you can increase the frequency if you want when the baby is older than two years.
If fish allergy runs in your family, it is best to avoid fish altogether for the first year of your baby’s life.
12 – Unpasteurized Dairy Products:
If you are feeding your baby cheese, make sure it is pasteurized. It should be mentioned on the cheese label. If the cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, it can result in food poisoning.
13 – Berries:
Berries are great for health and rich in anti-oxidants. However, it is best not to give them to babies less than a year old. This is because berries contain a type of protein which infants have trouble digesting. This is true for all berries including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Babies older than a year can enjoy this tasty and nutritious snack but make sure you introduce it to them slowly.
14 – Sodas and Fizzy Drinks:
This one’s a no-brainer. Everyone knows that fizzy drinks are bad for you, and they are even worse for babies. For one thing, fizzy soft drinks have a huge amount of sugar in them. While sugar is essential for children of growing age, it needs to be given in low amount. Excess of sugar, like that present in cold drinks, is very harmful for health.
Fizzy drinks can also end up discoloring a baby’s new teeth. The acid present in these drinks can damage enamel too. What’s more, they contain caffeine, which is never good for children. As fizzy drinks are high calorie food product, they can lead to toddler and childhood obesity, if your little one has them very often.
15 – Egg Whites:
Eggs are a very healthy food item, and should definitely be given to babies. However, you are better off if you give them just the egg yolks and remove the whites. The reason is that egg whites can illicit strong allergic reactions. The best idea is to give your baby a boiled egg with the white part removed, or to separate the yolk and fry it in a tiny drop of oil before serving it.
Of course, there will come a point when you will need to introduce egg whites to your baby’s diet. It is best to start this food alone and not add any other new food item at this time. In this way, if a reaction does occur, you will know exactly what caused it.
16 – Juice:
Babies love juice. It is sweet and tastes quite good. But while they will always be happy to have this snack, it should not be given to them. Processed fruit juice bought from the market dos not have the fiber, fat or other nutrients like vitamins and minerals that the fruits themselves contain. If the juices do have vitamins, they may not be in high amount.
Juices are also rich in sugar and artificial sweeteners. This may make your baby feel full rather quickly, and he will refuse to eat other, more nutritious food. Also keep in mind that babies who get used to drinking fruit juices often don’t eat the fruit itself, as the juice tastes sweeter. If your baby has too much juice, he can even develop diarrhea or damage to his teeth.
For the first six months, don’t give any juice at all. After that, if you must give your baby fruit juice, go for a little at a time, and none at bedtime as the added sugar will make your baby less prone to fall asleep. Diluting juices with water before serving them to your little one is also a good idea.
17 – Chocolate:
Everyone loves chocolate, and babies are no exception. However, giving your little one a piece of chocolate is not a good idea. For one thing, it contains caffeine, which is not good for babies. Secondly, chocolate is a rich source of sugar and cause damage to teeth. If you give your baby a large piece of chocolate, it poses a choking risk.
If you really want to let your kid gorge on a little chocolate, make sure the piece is really tiny and soft. Also, avoid giving it near bedtime. For older kids, make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.
18 – Salt:
Babies really don’t need any added salt. All the salt they get from breast milk and formula is sufficient to fulfill their bodies’ requirements for the first six month. Even later when you are introducing solid foods to your baby’s diet, make sure they are low in salt. Kids less than one year old have kidneys which are still developing their full potential. Therefore, they are not yet ready to handle the stress of added salt.
If you want to give your baby the same food that the rest of the family is having, you should take out a bit before you add salt. Then mash it up properly and feed it to your little one.
19 – Crisps:
Now this is a food item that all babies absolutely love gorging on. Crispy chips are delicious and crunchy, but they are also quite bad for health. They have a high salt content, which as we have already discussed is bad for babies. They can also make your baby feel full rather quickly, so he won’t want to eat other, healthier food.
A one year old baby only needs 1 gram of salt per day, and giving him crisps will exceed this limit. If you want to give him crisps as a treat, give him only a few instead of the whole pack.
20 – Candies:
All kinds of candies are bad for babies, whether they are hard ones like lollipops or sticky ones like toffees. They wreak havoc with a child’s teeth, and younger ones are even more prone to damage as they cannot yet brush their teeth. Candies have very high sugar content, which can result in enamel destruction. Candies at bed time are a terrible idea as your baby will then have too much sugar in his system to settle down for sleep.
Hard candies are a choking hazard and must be avoided at all costs. Even if you break them into little pieces, they can still end up going into the wrong pipe. Sticky cadies are not better, because not only can they go in the windpipe; they are also more difficult to remove by Heimlich maneuver.
Toffees dissolve very slowly, which means that they remain in contact with your child’s teeth for a long time. They result in the production of acids in the mouth, which then attack your baby’s teeth. Therefore, you should only give candies to an older child who can brush his or her teeth, and even then you should only give them very rarely.
If you want to give your child candy as a treat, give it to them at mealtime. At this time, more saliva is produced which helps to neutralize the effect of all that extra sugar.
21 – Wheat:
This food item does not need to be avoided; you just have to be careful when you introduce it to your baby’s diet. However, if there is gluten intolerance in your family, you should definitely hold back on wheat till the baby is at least a year old. In such cases, you should go for gluten free cereal, but make sure it is made for babies and does not have added salt or sugar.
Generally, introducing wheat at around 8 months of age is a good idea, particularly if your baby tolerates oats and barley cereals.
22 – Prepared Meals for Adults:
Sometimes, you may not find the time to prepare a meal for your baby. At these times, it is convenient to give your baby the readymade TV dinner that you are having. However, pre-prepared meals for adults are not appropriate for babies as they are usually rich in salt content and other ingredients which babies shouldn’t have.
If you must give your baby a prepared meal, go for one specially made for babies.
23 – Smoked Meat:
You should not be giving your little one smoked meat, even if you cut it up into tiny pieces. Such meats are usually rich in nitrates, fats and salt, which is too much for a baby’s kidneys to handle. If you want to give your little one meat, go for boiled meat with very little salt.
24 – Ice cream:
Ice cream should be avoided till a baby is at least a year old. By this time, your baby’s gut will have developed enough to digest whole milk, which ice cream is made of. Ice cream is also very rich in sugar, which is bad for babies’ teeth as well as their overall health.
Things Other Than Food Which You Shouldn’t Give your Baby:
There are a few things other than food which you should keep away from your little baby, as they can be harmful. We are going to mention a few of these things here, so you know how to keep your baby safe.
25 – Tiny Toys:
Have you ever noticed that toys come with a minimum age limit mentioned on them? This is because any toy set which has small parts can be a choking hazard and thus should be kept away from babies. This includes sets of small toy soldiers, cars, marbles and anything else which a little baby can pick up and put in his mouth.
If you have older children in the house, stress upon them the importance of keeping their little toys out of reach of the baby. It is best if your little one is not sitting in the same place where older siblings are playing with small toys. Also when your older kids are done playing, make them collect their toys and put them somewhere where the baby can’t reach them.
26 – Mobile Phones and Tablets:
This one is so obvious, yet so difficult to manage. With mobiles and tablets so common, it is not surprising that kids want to use them, too. However, it is best if you say no to your child when he asks for your mobile phone or tablet to play a game.
For one thing, these screens are not good for the eyesight. Also, kids can get used to these devices rather quickly, and soon they’ll want nothing else. Toddlers, babies and older kids all need time out in the sun, as well as creative hobbies. If you start giving your baby a mobile phone to engage him when he is little, he will develop this habit and it will be more difficult to make him stop when he is older.
27 – Too Much T.V.
Kids love cartoons, and you can’t keep them away from them altogether. However, you should still limit your baby’s T.V. time. Television can harm your kid’s eyesight, just like mobile phones can. Also, when your child knows that he can only watch a limited amount of T.V. that sets the right boundaries for him and he learns how to follow rules.
28 – Plastic Bags:
No parent knowingly gives their baby a plastic bag to play with, but babies can get a hold of them all the same. Perhaps you went grocery shopping and left a bag behind on the floor while you were putting the goods away, and your baby picked it up. Babies can put the bag over their head and accidently suffocate themselves. This is why you need to be extra careful and ensure that no such bag lies anywhere where a baby can reach it.
29 – Coins:
Coins are a huge choking hazard. Unfortunately, they are also rather easy to drop and lose. Babies love putting everything in their mouth, and coins are no exception. You need to be extra careful here to ensure that your baby never picks up a coin and puts it in his mouth. Have a jar on your kitchen counter for spare change, so everyone can empty their coins in it and reduce the risk of dropping them to the floor while changing their clothes or removing something from their pocket.
30 – Pencils and Pens:
Babies enjoy making lines and drawing. However, they should not be given pencils as the tips can be dangerous. A baby may accidently poke himself in the eye and hurt himself.
Give your baby pencils only when he is older than 2 years.
Keep your Baby Safe and Healthy!
Keeping your baby safe and healthy can be a daunting task. We hope our list helped you and now you know about the things you should keep away from babies at all costs.
Babyhood is a challenging time, but it is not without its wonders and rewards. Give your baby only healthy food which has been proven to be safe, and you will see your child flourishing mentally and physically! Happy parenting!