Some foods that are safe for adults are not safe for babies and young children. Read our article below to find out which foods aren’t safe for babies and why.
Babies shouldn’t eat much salt as it isn’t good for their kidneys. You shouldn’t add salt to your baby’s food or the water you cook their food in. Try not to use stock cubes or gravy either, as they’re often high in salt.
You will need to keep this in mind when cooking family meals that your baby will share.
Avoid salty foods like:
- Chips with added salt
- Ready meals
Your baby doesn’t need sugar. Avoiding sugary snack and drinks will help to prevent tooth decay.
Try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, such as crisps, biscuits and cakes. Checking the nutrition labels on foods can help you to choose foods that are lower in saturated fat.
Occasionally honey can contain bacteria that produces toxins in a baby’s intestines. This toxin leads to infant botulism, which is a very serious illness. Don’t give children under 1-year old honey, as after 1 year old the body is able to remove the toxins. Honey is also sugar, so avoiding it will prevent tooth decay.
Whole nuts and peanuts
Whole nuts and peanuts are a choking hazard and shouldn’t be given to children under 5 years old. You can give your baby nuts from around 6 months old if they are crushed, ground, or a smooth nut or peanut butter.
If there’s a family history of food or other allergies, talk to your GP or health visitor before introducing nuts and peanuts.
Cheese can form part of a healthy, balanced diet for babies, but they shouldn’t be given mould ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert. They also shouldn’t be given ripened goats’ milk cheese or soft blue-veined cheese like Roquefort. This is because these cheeses are higher risk of carrying a bacteria called listeria. It’s also best to avoid cheeses made with unpasteurised milk for the same reason.
However, listeria is killed by cooking. So, it is safe to use these cheeses as part of a cooked recipe.
Raw and soft cooked eggs
It is suitable to give your baby eggs from around 6 months old. If the eggs are hens’ eggs and are red lion stamped, it’s fine to give them to your baby raw or lightly cooked. You may also see the words ‘British Lion Quality’ on the box.
Hens’ eggs that are not red lion stamped, duck eggs, goose eggs, and quail eggs should all be cooked until both the yolk and white are solid. Avoid everything that contains raw egg where you can’t confirm if they are red lion stamped.
Children under 5 years shouldn’t be given rice drinks as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula as they may contain too much arsenic. Arsenic is found naturally in the environment and can find its way into food and water. Rice typically takes up more arsenic than other grains, but this doesn’t mean you or your baby can’t eat rice. There are specialist baby rices you can buy that contain less arsenic.
Raw jelly cubes
Raw jelly cubes are a choking hazard so they shouldn’t be given to babies and young children. If you are making jelly using jelly cubes, ensure to follow the manufacturers instructions.
Raw or lightly cooked shellfish can have an increased risk of causing food poisoning. Avoid giving babies foods like mussels, clams and oysters.
Shark, swordfish and marlin
The amount of mercury in fishes such as shark, swordfish and marlin can affect the development of your baby’s nervous system.