As you introduce your baby to solid foods, be sure to avoid the following foods for nutrition or developmental reasons during your baby’s first year:
Limit adult sugary and salty foods
Babies as young as 7 to 8 months old are being introduced to adult sweets, such as candy and soda, and some babies at 7 to 8 months old are being introduced to adult salty snacks such as chips. Babies’ relatively high needs for nutrients and low needs for calories mean all the foods they eat should be packed with nutrition.
Waiting to give your baby cow's milk
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be fed breastmilk for the first 12 months of life, with iron-fortified formula as the only alternative. The AAP doesn’t recommend whole cow’s milk as a replacement for breastmilk or infant formula during the first year of life. The main reason is to ensure an adequate supply of iron and other important nutrients in your baby’s diet.
After your baby is 1 year old, you can introduce her to whole cow’s milk. Reduced-fat and fat-free milk aren’t usually recommended because little ones need the extra fat in whole milk to provide energy for their growing bodies until age 2 years. Recent guidance indicates that this advice may be changing, and in certain cases low-fat dairy may be recommended at an earlier age. Please discuss with your pediatrician to see what’s right for your child.
Too much juice
Babies who consume too much juice may not consume enough breastmilk, formula, or healthy solid foods, leading to a decrease in nutrient intake. In addition, some children consuming excessive amounts of juice may experience stomach pain or diarrhea.
Juice can be part of a baby’s healthy, well-balanced diet after 6 months, and a way to introduce new tastes. You should feed your juice to your baby only from a cup. Start with small amounts of one to two fluid ounces a day. Juice intake for older babies can be up to four fluid ounces a day. A four-fluid-ounce serving of 100% fruit juice equals one serving of fruit. Other fruit servings should come from whole, peeled fruit that’s mashed or pureed. You should also avoid fruit-flavored drinks, or sweetened beverages such as soda.
Wait on honey
Be sure to wait to introduce honey until your baby is 12 months old. Honey may contain botulinum spores, which can cause serious illness in infants. Even small amounts of honey can cause problems.
As your baby continues on the solid food journey, be sure that you’re closely watching her developmental readiness. Solid foods should start off as pureed or strained and then progress to thicker textures and tender pieces when your baby is ready. However, there are some foods you should avoid until your baby is 4 years old—and peanuts until age 7—due to possible choking hazards:
Raisins and whole grapes
Popcorn, nuts, and seeds
Hot dogs, chunks of meat or poultry
Spoonfuls of peanut butter
Hard, raw, or chunky fruits and vegetables such as whole peas, raw carrots, bell peppers, apples, unripe peaches, pears, or plums
Gum, chewy or hard candy