Are there foods my baby should not eat?

The introduction of solid foods into your baby’s diet may be confusing or cause you to wonder what to introduce and what to avoid.

Your baby has a developing digestive system and may have an early sensitivity or allergic reaction to certain foods. 

Avoid giving your baby these foods until after the first year:

  • Citrus fruits and juices                                                     
  • Cow’s milk           
  • Egg whites                                                                            
  • Fish or shellfish
  • Food or beverages containing caffeine, including chocolate
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Foods that contain artificial sweeteners
  • Honey or foods made with honey (honey can cause food poisoning)
  • Nuts or foods made with nuts
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Wheat products                                                                  

Some experts feel wheat products, egg whites, nuts and shellfish should be delayed even longer. Talk to your child’s doctor about when to introduce these foods.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if your family has a history of food allergies, wait to introduce foods like citrus, cow's milk, soy and wheat until after your baby's first birthday, eggs until after his second birthday and fish and peanuts until after his third birthday.

  • Keep track of everything your baby eats. Until you know what foods upset your baby, serve single-grain infant cereals and plain fruits, vegetables and meats instead of mixed varieties. If your baby has a reaction to a certain food, stop that food.
  • As you introduce new foods, offer one at a time. Wait a couple of days before introducing another new food. That way if your baby has a problem, you'll know which food caused it.

Avoid giving a child under age five any foods which pose a choking hazard. These include:

  • Candy (especially hard or sticky candy)
  • Celery
  • Cheese cubes
  • Chips, pretzels, nuggets and snack foods
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruit with skin and/or seeds
  • Hot dogs
  • Large pieces or chunks of food, especially tough foods
  • Marshmallows
  • Peanut butter and nut butters
  • Peanuts and other nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grapes, cherries or cherry tomatoes

The Health and Nutrition programs of Michigan State University Extension may be a helpful resource that can also provide you with weekly nutrition classes and the support you need!

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