Most babies can start eating table food around 6 months old. However, there are certain foods that little one’s should NOT eat. Please always ask the parents what foods the children can eat while you are babysitting.
Here is a list of foods that babies can not have and why:
- Honey – can harbor spores of Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. An adult’s intestinal tract can prevent the growth of these spores, but in a baby the spores can grow and produce life-threatening toxins. Avoid honey until after the first year.
- Peanuts and treenuts (including peanut butter and other nut butters). Please ask before feeding any young children peanuts or tree nuts.
- After One (1) Year for the Non Food Sensitive/Non-Allergic Child
- After Two (2) or Three (3) Years for the Food Sensitive/Allergic Child
- Cow’s milk and soy milk – Stick with breast milk or formula until the child’s first birthday. Why? Babies can’t digest the protein in cow’s milk and soy milk for the first year, they don’t have all the nutrients he needs, and they contain minerals in amounts that can damage his kidneys. Milk also hinders proper absorption of iron; iron is crucial during the 1st year. Yogurt and cheese are exceptions.
- Citrus and acidic fruits – many infants under the age of 12 months old suffer rashes and tummy upsets due to the acidity. This has nothing to do with allergies.
- Egg whites – contain four proteins — ovomucoid, ovalbumin, ovotransferrin and lysozyme — that can potentially range from mildly to highly allergenic.
- Strawberries Raspberries, Blackberries the current recommendation for introducing strawberries is after a baby has reached 12 months of age. Commercial Stage 2 baby foods contain strawberries because it is said that processing strawberries at such a high temperature “kills” the protein that causes the allergic response.
- Shell Fish – may be a high allergen. Introduction depends on a baby’s history of food allergies as well as the family’s history of food allergies.
- Wheat – for the infant who has had no issues with gluten in Oats and/or Barley, and who has no history of wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, that offering wheat products (such as wheat toast) is fine around 8+ months
- Chocolate – steer clear of giving a baby chocolate — even if it’s just a little taste. Because of its high caffeine content (not to mention sugar), it’s best to avoid giving any chocolate to babies under one year of age
- Corn – possible allergen and not very nutrient rich