15 Foods That Are Not Baby-Friendly Day 3: 15 Foods That Are Not Baby-Friendly

15 Foods That Are Not Baby-Friendly

There are certain foods that are not recommended for young babies under 1 year of age. They can consume these foods at a later stage. But at this point (6 to 12 months), your baby is not yet developmentally ready to consume these foods in a safe, enjoyable manner.

In fact, some of these foods also pose a choking risk.

Read on for our expert-recommended “List of Foods to Avoid” for babies under 1 year.

1) Honey

Honey contains botulism spores, a type of bacteria that can cause infant botulism. This means that honey can be poisonous for infants under 1 year. Honey is one of the most common sources of botulism. 

It’s best to avoid honey in any form (avoid adding it to cooked or baked goodies as well) as it can be very harmful for infants.

2) Cow's Milk

Avoid serving cow’s milk as a beverage to drink as it is. You can add cow’s milk while making your baby’s food. You can also offer curd and other dairy products to babies.

Cow’s milk (served as a beverage) can be tough on your baby’s digestive system, so it’s best avoided.

3) Added sugars

Babies have a natural tendency to choose sweet-tasting foods. This is because their primary form of food or nutrition comprises formula or breast milk, which are slightly sweeter in taste.  

In a baby’s first year of life, it’s necessary that they get exposed to various flavors and taste profiles, beyond the sweetness of formula/breast milk. Also, babies do not need added sugar at this age and it does not add any value to their diet.

WHO recommends that parents not introduce sugar in any form to babies under 1 year old. This includes candies, chocolates, baked goods, sugary snacks, desserts, caffeinated drinks, juices, biscuits, tea cakes, etc. 

When making your baby’s meals, you can use dates or fruits to naturally sweeten porridges, kheers, payasams, or halwas.

4) Salt

A baby’s kidneys are not yet fully matured at this age and cannot handle sodium in high amounts. It’s good to avoid adding salt to the food when you’re making your baby’s meals. 

Formula and breast milk already contain some sodium, which is adequate for your baby’s requirement at this age.

Be aware of readymade sauces or masalas and packaged foods, all of which tend to contain more sodium. Check the ingredients list to be sure.

You can always prepare your main meal for the family without salt, keep aside a small portion for your baby, and then add salt and spices/seasoning to the larger potion that your family can enjoy.

As your baby crosses the 1-year milestone, you can add a tiny pinch of salt to home-cooked food as needed. But it’s best to keep the intake of salt at minimum until your baby is 2 years old.

5) Whole nuts

Whole nuts are very unsafe for babies as they can be a choking hazard due to their hard and chunky texture and small, round shape. 

If you wish to offer any nut butters, you can certainly do so, but remember to thin out the consistency of the nut butter and spread it thinly on a chapati or bread. Avoid serving nut butters in their natural form as they’re thick and gluggy and can cause choking.

6) Certain types of fish

Certain fish that have high mercury contents should be entirely avoided for babies. E.g., swordfish, shark, king mackerel. These can be harmful for babies’ nervous systems.

If you’re a fish-eating family, you can offer low mercury fish to your baby. We have covered types of fish, safety, and methods of preparations in a later article

7) Hard snacks or foods

Hard foods like popcorn and candy as well as snacks like murrukku, chakli, shankar pali, sev, bhakarwadi, rusk toast, khari, etc. should not be offered to babies even in small quantities. Be very careful as they can be choking hazards and they will also be high in sodium. 

8) Highly processed or spicy foods

Babies under 1 year are not ready for processed or spicy foods at this age, and consuming this may cause discomfort or not be well received. A lot of processed foods also contain maida (refined flour) as well as excessive sugar and salt, all of which should be avoided for babies.

9) Raw, unpasteurized foods

Raw, unpasteurized foods or dairy are not recommended for babies below 1 year as they can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella or E.coli.

Your baby’s immune system is still maturing, and these bacteria can cause severe infections. It’s best to choose pasteurized options in food and drinks.

10) Fruit juices

Fruit juices are not recommended for babies below 2 years; consuming juices can cause dental caries and tooth decay at a very young age. 

Avoid getting swayed by labels that say “100% fruit juice” or “100% natural.” All packaged foods and drinks contain preservatives and added sugars/sodium – none of which your baby’s body can manage at this point. Juices are also low in nutrition and do not add value to your baby’s health.

For babies under 1 year of age, breast or formula milk meets the major fluid requirement their bodies need to grow.

11) Chips or wafers

Wafers, chips, crisps, or salted crackers can be choking hazards for babies under 1 year and contain high amounts of sodium.

12) Ready-to-eat foods

Ready-to-eat meal packets should be avoided. These include the Indian brands of curries and rice items, where one has to warm or heat the packet and consume it.

These are high in sugar and salt and should not be given to babies.

13) Sweets and chocolates

Since sugar should be avoided for babies at this age, all sugary items are a part of this list of Foods to Avoid.

14) Traditional Indian sweets

In India, offering “mithai” during festivals or  marriages is a way of bonding and spreading love. Whether you’re in North or South India, every family and community has its own unique rituals and food. Traditionally, certain sweets are offered during certain festivals or ceremonies, which brings the whole family together! Food is an important way of passing on our family’s rich traditions to our children.

If you’re having a religious ceremony or celebrating a festival, there are bound to be sweets, like gulab jamun or jalebis or ladoos. It’s natural that your baby will want to feel involved and you may feed them some sweets. Go ahead and give them a tiny piece. As long as this “sweet giving” does not become a daily thing, your baby should be fine! No stress at all.

15) Coffee and tea

Across Indian homes, many adults have this quirky habit of dipping biscuits, roti, or khari into their “chai” (tea) or coffee. While that’s a delicious option for us grown-ups, it’s a big NO for young babies.

Tea and coffee contain tannins, an anti-nutrient that prevents the absorption of other nutrients in the baby’s growing body. Caffeine, in any form, is also not good for your baby’s brain health. 

So, there you go! Yesterday, we covered foods that make excellent first foods for your baby as they embark on their solid food journey. Today, we looked at foods that are not recommended for babies under 1 year of age.