Feeding an infant is a delicate task. The person taking care must be aware of the things that should be done and those that must be avoided. What are the things to avoid feeding an infant? This is a common query raised by many care takers. Let us look at it in detail.
What Are The Things You Should Avoid Feeding An Infant?
Medical experts advice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months. Further, it is advised that breastfeeding continues on demand and complimentary foods are introduced at 6 months of age.1 This is mainly because breastfeeding is insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the baby after 6 months. It also helps to excite the little ones tastes buds and develop the habit of taking in food of different flavors.
As parents, we often become too curious and forget that the child is still too young to bear certain things and start feeding with all things we choose for us to eat. However, all foods are not safe for the baby. Hence, it is important for you to know what foods to avoid in an infant.
Here are some of the commonest foods to avoid feeding an infant.
Honey – It is advised that honey should not be fed to infants who are less than a year old, as honey is found responsible for infant botulism.2 This condition disturbs the voluntary motor and autonomic functions, thus affecting the muscles. It can cause poor sucking abilities, low muscle tone and muscle weakness, affect bowel movement and cause constipation. In severe cases it can also cause paralysis. Most of the time, the child with this infection would show, signs of irritation and dizziness. Intestinal tract in the infant is not strong enough to fight these infections. Studies report that honey samples across the United States have shown the presence of Clostridium botulinum spores and toxins, which is the organism causing infant botulism.3 Thus, this is one of the commonest foods to avoid in an infant.
Cow’s Milk – Breast milk is the best option for an infant as it provides the child with all the essential nutrients necessary for growth. However, if breastmilk is inadequate, formula milk may be given as advised but not cow’s milk. It is advised that cow’s milk should not be given to the infant until 12 months of age and for at least 6 months of beginning the diet.4 There are certain enzymes and proteins present in it which the child under one year of age cannot digest well. Also, cow’s milk contains certain minerals which can damage the kidney of the infant. Hence, cow’s milk too is one of the foods to avoid feeding an infant. If the mother is not able to produce enough milk to meet the needs of the child, formula milk can be started, but wait for at least one year to feed the child with cow’s milk.
Egg Whites – A rich source of proteins, egg whites have various health benefits. But the infants should not be fed with it as it can lead to an allergic reaction or can put them at risk of future allergies. The bacteria present in egg white can lead to upset stomach and other complications. It is believed that infant may be at greater risk of egg allergy, whereas the rate may reduce as they grow. As many children outgrow their egg allergy, periodic evaluation may help to gradually form egg white a part of their diet.5
Peanut Butter – Peanut butter is a rich source of protein, potassium, and fiber and is loved by all the kids. If the child has a nut allergy, it should be restricted and also the sticky consistency can lead to sediments and dental issues in the infant. So, peanut butter is one of the foods to avoid feeding an infant, if they are allergic to it.
Seafood – Seafood such as shellfish, lobsters, shrimps, etc. can lead to allergies if given to an infant. Due to the high level of mercury present in seafood, it is not recommended for a child below one year. Allergies and risk of illnesses make seafood one of the foods to avoid feeding an infant. However, when you really wish to start it, you can begin with white fishes but always consult the pediatrician before.
Chocolate – Chocolate contains caffeine which would never be in your ‘to feed’ list for your infant. Also high sugar content in the chocolates also makes it less recommended for an infant. You can always wait for the infant to turn one before introducing them to chocolate.
Wheat – Wheat is another allergen which you should avoid feeding an infant. Many children have a strong allergy to wheat, and if there is a case of wheat allergy in the family, you should surely not introduce wheat to an infant before they turn one. Also, there is a protein named gluten present in the wheat which can lead to tummy troubles in an infant.
Raw Vegetables – Babies under one year of age have weak tummies. The veggies such as beets, lettuce, fennel, etc. contain a high level of nitrates which the infant is unable to digest. Nitrates can also block the body’s ability to transport blood to all part of the body and lead to blue baby syndrome (low level of oxygen in an infant’s body). These too are some of the foods to avoid feeding an infant.
Citrus Vegetables – Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grenadines are a very healthy and rich source of essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Also, these fruits are highly acidic and can lead to stomach issues in the infant and should rather be avoided until the baby turns one.
The diet and digestive system differ in infants. There are a list of foods to avoid feeding an infant. Hence, following medical advice is important. If you wish your infant does not face any tummy issues, it is good to choose the right food and always consult a pediatrician or a child nutritionist for the same.