While babies are getting older, parents find it really exciting to introduce new foods to their little ones. Every simple piece of food becomes a new experience for a baby and opens a new taste for one. This process gets simultaneously thrilling and challenging as parents have to pay special attention to the food they want to serve. It’s crucial to make the baby’s diet healthy and nutritious as it directly affects one’s development, growth, well-being, and even mood.
Nowadays, it doesn’t make any difficulties to find the necessary information on raising a child. So parents can easily look something up on the Internet or consult a doctor if they are curious about one or another subject. But there are some basic recommendations that all parents should know about when introducing their baby to “adult” food.
Rules for Introducing Solids
Try to follow these basic guidelines:
- serve only organic natural food
Babies and toddlers don’t have a completely developed immune system, which makes them more vulnerable and prone to get affected by adverse ingredients. Foods that are not organic may consist of chemicals, GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides, and other harmful elements, which your little one won’t be able to confront.
- foods should be fresh and ripe
It seems to be obvious, but you surely have to pay attention to the freshness of food that you serve. Using fresh ingredients may boost your baby’s immune system and provide all the vitamins and minerals.
- diversify your baby’s diet
Your little one should consume different types of foods which are rich in various nutrients. To make it entertaining for a baby, you can serve foods of different colors and textures. Kids are usually fond of colorful food.
- choose ready-made baby food carefully
There are plenty of ready-made baby foods on supermarkets’ shelves like puree baby food pouches and others. You should definitely take advantage of them, but make sure the content is safe and beneficial.
- choose the right food portions
The child should grow and develop according to the norms, so try to serve food in the right amount. Do not overfeed or underfeed the baby, as this can have negative consequences.
5 foods that you should never give to your baby
When it comes to specific foods, there are a few of them that are quite controversial when talking about a baby’s diet. So it’s time to consider what foods are better to avoid in your baby’s diet:
You’ve probably heard that babies have a natural affinity for sweets, but their taste buds are also open to other flavors. Kids like discovering new tastes like tart, sharp, tangy, and even bitter, so parents should focus on other tastes so that sweets are kept away from the child for as long as possible. Sugar is just a useless ingredient, which, moreover, has only negative consequences. A baby, who constantly eats sweet foods, may be at risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and dental caries.
But, at the same time, you don’t have to ban naturally sweet baby favorites like bananas, carrots, and other fruits and veggies. You can serve them among other foods like cereal to make it tastier. But it’s necessary to avoid sugar itself and especially sugary treats like chocolate and candies.
Adults are used to salting everything they eat as it tastes differently without it. But it’s better not to introduce salt to your baby as long as possible. The problem is that salt negatively affects babies’ kidneys. And as these little ones are still immature and their organs are only developing, they aren’t able to filter out excess salt as efficiently as adults’ kidneys.
In addition to avoiding the use of salt in cooking, parents should also avoid feeding their babies foods that already contain a high percentage of salt. These are some of them:
- Chips with added salt
- Ready meals
So, keep that in mind when you’re cooking for the whole family, make sure your little one gets only salt-free foods.
3. Raw and lightly cooked eggs
Some parents are convinced that eggs in any form should be avoided when it comes to a baby’s diet as they make a serious allergen. Actually, babies can have eggs from around 6 months, but they have to be well-cooked. Raw eggs and runny egg yolks carry a risk of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella. So experts recommend avoiding giving them to your baby at least until age 5. At this age, the immune system gets more resistant to serious infections.
In addition, you should think about homemade foods which include raw eggs. So, it’s better not to feed your little one with uncooked cake mixture, homemade ice cream, mayonnaise, or other kinds of desserts.
4. High-mercury fish
Fish is actually a beneficial food for babies and toddlers as it provides high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. These elements are essential for a child’s brain development as well as the nervous system and vision. But it’s literally dangerous to blindly feed the baby with all types of fish.
Parents need to avoid fish with high levels of mercury. These are shark, swordfish, fresh tuna, king mackerel, tilefish, and some others. Instead, you can serve haddock, hake, whitefish, wild salmon, shrimp, ocean perch, and others. Canned tuna is also hugely popular and liked by kids. So you can find the one your baby enjoys the most. But the most important thing for a fish is to be fresh and caught in clean waters.
5. Choking hazards
Unsurprisingly, you should avoid foods that can become a choking hazard for a baby. So check if the food can be easily chewed and swallowed. Otherwise, this food may get into the windpipe and harm your little one.
This is the list of the most common choking hazards that should be avoided:
- Whole nuts
- Uncooked raisins
- Whole grapes
- Whole peas
- Pieces of hard raw veggies
- Pieces of hard raw fruits
- Big chunks of meat or poultry
- Chewing gum
- Uncut cherry or grape tomatoes
It is best to start with a homemade puree of various fruits, vegetables and other food, or puree baby food pouches in order to protect your little one from choking. But when the baby is old enough and ready to take bites of food, make sure that this food will be safe and healthy.