The Do’s and Don’ts of Solid Foods

Introducing solid foods to your baby can be an exciting milestone! It’s fun to see the faces that your baby makes as he or she tries new flavors and textures.  But there are a few things you should think about when choosing what foods to introduce.  

Good news for you!

I took all of my experience as a Certified Pediatric Nurse and carefully reviewed all of the information out there.  Then I put it all down in writing for you.  No need to worry about where the information came from because I made sure to only include the most credible sources and have links for you to check them out if you want to do some more research yourself.  

Foods to Avoid

Believe it or not, there aren’t that many foods that you should avoid (or delay!) giving your baby.  In fact, it’s more important to think about variety of foods than what your baby CAN’T have.  

The recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization is to start introducing solids to your baby around 6 months of age.  However, there are a couple of foods that should wait until your little one is a little older.

  • MilkLiquid cow’s milk by itself should not be given to your baby until his or her first birthday. The reason for that is because it is difficult for your baby to digest and does not contain enough iron.  It is okay to give your baby other dairy products like yogurt or cheese after 6 months.

    Once your baby reaches 12 months, it is okay to introduce whole cow’s milk, but you want to make sure he or she is still eating a variety of other foods as well.  Milk is good, but too much milk is not good!  Try to limit the amount of milk your child drinks to no more than 3 cups a day. More than that can cause him or her to not get other important nutrients.

  • Honey: Honey contains a type of bacteria that can cause a serious illness in children less than 12 months old.  It is best to avoid all honey, or products containing honey, until your baby is over 1 year.
  • Foods that could cause choking

Allergies

Some foods can cause allergic reactions.  You may notice diarrhea, a rash, or vomiting.  It’s a good idea to only introduce one food at a time so that you can look back to see what might have caused the problem.  Reactions may not occur right away either, so try introducing a new food every 3-5 days.

It used to be recommended to wait to give foods that might cause allergies, thinking this would help prevent a baby from having a reaction.  Newer research and guidelines now suggest that it is better to introduce foods (like peanut butter) than to wait.

Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans are the eight foods most likely to cause an allergic reaction.  But, for the most part, you do not need to wait to introduce these foods, unless your child’s health care provider has recommended that you wait. 

Choking

Foods that are choking hazards are not recommended in children younger than four years. These foods include hot dogs, peanuts, tree nuts, grapes, raisins, raw carrots, popcorn, and round candies.

Resources

When in doubt, your child’s health care provider is always the best place to look for information.  You may want to read up on a specific topic before you have a discussion with your health care provider, but only he or she will be able to help you apply that information to your child’s specific situation.  

Remember that no matter what information you find, it is always best to be open and honest with any health care provider!

Here is a list of reliable, up to date resources that may answer some of your questions:

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