Before babies can walk, they must learn to crawl. The same goes for their developing digestive systems. Some foods can negatively impact an infant’s health if introduced too early. Here are five things to avoid feeding your child in his or her first year.
Honey, or foods with honey in them, may contain the spores of the bacteria C. botulinum. While harmless in adults, it can cause botulism in an infant under one year of age. This illness is rarely fatal but can cause serious issues such as constipation, weakened sucking, poor appetite, fatigue, and potentially pneumonia and dehydration.
2. Too Much Water
Babies miss out on the nutrients they need from breast milk or bottle feeding if they satisfy their appetite with water. If done regularly, this can lead to weight loss, a decrease in mom’s breast milk supply, and oral water intoxication, which inhibits normal bodily functions and can cause low body temperature and seizures in infants. Breast milk or formula has all the water a baby needs to stay hydrated, even on those hot summer days.
3. A Bottle of Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is difficult for children under one year of age to digest, and it also doesn’t contain all the nutrients (like iron and vitamin E) developing babies need for healthy growth. Your pediatrician may approve whole milk yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheese at 8 months old, and babies can begin to drink whole milk in moderation after their first year.
4. Fruit Juice
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents not give babies fruit juice at all in their first year. Fruit juice doesn’t provide any of the fat, protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, or fiber that they need. Too much of it can cause tooth decay, diarrhea, and other stomach issues.
5. High-Mercury Fish
Although research shows that feeding babies fish can help boost their IQs, you should avoid those with a high level of mercury such as swordfish, king mackerel, and fresh tuna. There are many other safe varieties, including tilapia, trout, and wild salmon. Canned tuna is also generally safe to eat, but stick to canned chunk light tuna, which contains less mercury than albacore.
If you’re expecting, make an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OB/GYN. Start planning your birth and visit a St. Luke's Health Family Birthing Center, or make an appointment with one of our pediatricians to learn more about what your baby needs to grow healthy and strong.
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