The first year is full of milestones and getting to know your new baby. It’s also when you need to be very careful about introducing certain foods. With so many companies marketing cereals and “treats” for babies over 6 months — many with added sugar, oils and potential allergens, we asked Kim Corrigan-Oliver, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, to share the foods moms need to avoid or postpone during the first year.
CAUTION: The following foods should be avoided during the first year due to allergy risk:
- Egg whites (egg yolk is okay after 9 months)
- Citrus/acidic fruits and juices, including tomatoes – these may also cause digestive upset or rash due to their high acidity
- Corn – also a choking hazard
- Peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts and pecans), peanut butter, and nut butters – these are also a choking hazard; some experts recommend avoiding these until your child is at least two or three years old, particularly if there is a family history of nut allergies; if there is no family history of nut allergy introduction at one year is fine
- Wheat, difficult for baby’s digestive system. It has been suggested that the enzyme to digest gluten — the protein in wheat — is not present in sufficient amounts until eighteen months of age. In a small number of children, early wheat introduction can also trigger celiac disease – an inability to digest gluten
Other foods to avoid during the first year include:
- Honey (in any form or amount) and corn syrup (to a lesser extent) may contain botulism, a serious food-borne illness that can be deadly for infants less than one year of age.
- Milk, other than breast milk or infant formula (including cow’s, goat’s, soy, and rice milks) is difficult for your baby to digest, can lead to allergies, and is nutritionally inadequate for infants.
- Salt can strain a baby’s immature kidneys, causing damage. Too much salt for children has also been linked to diabetes later in life.
- Sugar is implicated in early tooth decay and severe changes in blood sugar levels. Adding sugar to a baby’s food can also develop a “sweet tooth” in your little one that can be very difficult to break.
- If you have a family history of food allergy, avoid that food during the first year, and then introduce with caution, watching carefully for any adverse reactions.
Kim Corrigan-Oliver is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and a Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner. Her practice Your Green Baby specializes in nutrition for mom, baby and toddler – preconception to preschool. For more information please check out her website at www.yourgreenbaby.ca