As your baby grows, he'll be eager to sample food from your plate – and you'll be eager to introduce some variety to his diet. But not all foods are safe for your child. Some pose a choking hazard, and a few aren't good for your baby's still-developing digestive system.
Foods to avoid: Birth to 4 to 6 months
All food and beverages except breast milk or formula: It is advisable to feed your baby only breast milk or formula for the first four to six months.
Foods to avoid: 4 to 12 months
Honey: Honey can harbour 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.
Cow's milk and soy milk: Stick with breast milk or formula until your child's first birthday. Why? Your baby 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.
Choking hazards to watch for
Large chunks: A chunk of food larger than a pea can get stuck in your child's throat. Vegetables like carrots, celery, and green beans should be shredded or cooked and cut up. Cut fruits like grapes, cherry tomatoes, and melon balls into pea-sized pieces before serving. Cut meats and cheeses into very small pieces or shred them.
Small, hard foods: Hard candies, cough drops, nuts, and popcorn are potential choking hazards. Seeds may be too small to choke on but can get stuck in a child’s airway and cause an infection.
Soft, sticky foods: Soft foods like marshmallows and jelly or gummy candies can get lodged in your child's throat.
Peanut butter: The sticky consistency of peanut butter and other nut butters can make it tough for a young child to swallow safely.
More choking prevention
- Avoid letting your child eat in the car. It's too hard to supervise while driving.
- If you're using a rub-on teething medication, keep a close eye on your baby as it can numb his throat and interfere with swallowing.