While weaning opens up a whole new world of tastes, textures and, dare we say, taste-related tantrums for your baby, it can also leave you a little anxious.
It’s tricky to know what your child should and shouldn’t be eating – especially when friends and family members start weighing in.
So we’ve simplified things for you by clearing up which foods to take off your shopping list.
It may be bursting with antibacterial and antioxidant properties (and taste seriously good), but honey isn’t recommended for babies.
“Honey can contain a bacteria that could lead to infant botulism – a very rare, but serious, condition that can potentially be life-threatening,” says Charlotte Stirling-Reed from SR Nutrition.
Avoid giving it to your baby until she reaches her first birthday.
2. Raw Meats And Fish
Meats and fish are packed with proteins, irons and vitamins but can pose a risk for your baby if they’re not properly cooked.
“Raw and undercooked meats and fish should be avoided because of the risk of food poisoning from bacteria, which haven’t been killed by the cooking,” says Charlotte.
It doesn’t mean your baby has to be vegetarian – just make sure everything she eats is well done.
3. Whole Nuts
Because of the risk of choking, whole nuts aren’t safe for children under the age of five to snack on.
Ground and chopped nuts are fine from when your little one is around six months old – peanut butter tends to be a real winner with young children. But do check that there isn’t a family history of allergies before giving her anything to try.
4. Undercooked And Raw Eggs
NHS guidelines state that eggs can be given to babies over six months old, but you need to make sure they're cooked until the yolk is solid to avoid the risk of salmonella.
5. Whole Grapes
Grapes are a great snack for children but their small size makes them a choking hazard if they aren't chewed properly.
“It’s a good idea when offering grapes to offer them chopped,” says Charlotte. “Removing the skin (if possible) can also help as it can be quite tough and often gets left behind in the baby’s mouth.”
These can be a healthy option for your baby, but if offered alone as a snack raisins can get stuck to the teeth.
“Because of their high sugar concentration this means there is a risk of damaging tiny teeth if this happens regularly,” says Charlotte. “Raisins are fine to offer babies but best to keep it to mealtimes.”
It may be a quick and easy solution when you’re on the go, but your baby doesn’t need any juice in her diet – it’s full of sugar and may lead to tooth decay.
“Milk and water are the best and only tooth-friendly sources of fluid for baby,” says Charlotte. “Any nutrients found in juice can be obtained by eating the whole fruit instead.”
8. High Fibre Foods
Fibre has lots of benefits for your baby, but too much of it isn’t advised.
“Offering too many high fibre foods such as wholemeal bread and bran can bulk out her tiny tummy and make her less full for other foods,” says Charlotte.
Don’t stop offering your baby wholemeal foods and bread, but keep an eye on the portion sizes you give her and offer a mix of varieties.
Babies are born with a preference for sweet foods but offering foods with added sugar can encourage a liking for those foods in later life.
“Sugar can have negative effects on our health and especially on our teeth so it’s best to limit foods with added sugar until your baby is older,” says Charlotte.
Just like too much salt is bad for adults, it’s not good for your baby, either.
The NHS recommends that babies under a year old don’t have more than 1g of salt a day, as their kidneys can’t cope with more.
If you’re still breastfeeding, your baby will get that amount of salt from your milk and formula milk contains a similar amount.
Don’t add salt to your baby’s food and avoid using stock cubes or gravy in family meals that you plan on serving your little one as they have high levels of salt.
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