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Weaning your Infant to solids Can be an exciting time! However, some of the foods that you innocently enjoy as an adult are not good for your infant.
There several foods and reasons to stay away from them. Here is a list of some them and why should not offer them to your infant!
Honey is a potential source of Clostridium Spores which can multiply in the baby’s intestines and result in Botulism (Which is a rare but very dangerous type of poisoning that affects the nervous system).
A mature digestive is able to digest these spores, But an infant (under the age of 1) has a relatively weak digestive system and therefore unable to.
The symptoms of this kind of poisoning are floppy movements, weak cries, inability to suckle (milk) and constipation.Botulism (Which is a rare but very dangerous type of poisoning that affects the nervous system).
A mature digestive system is able to digest these spores, But an infant (under the age of 1) has a relatively weak digestive system and therefore unable to digest the spores.
The symptoms of this kind of poisoning are floppy movements, weak cries, inability to suckle (milk) and constipation.
Instead, use mashed fresh fruit to sweeten or add flavour to your baby’s food.
FRESH COWS MILK
Until you baby is over the age 1, stick to breast milk or formula milk.
Do not be tempted to give them cow’s milk for two reasons.
1) Cow’s milk contains protein that cannot be digested by your baby and this can damage your baby’s maturing digestive system and kidneys.
2) The lactose from the cow’s milk can cause severe diarrhoea and other allergy symptoms such as diarrhoea that leads to nappy rash.
It’s ok for you to make baby cereal or porridge with your baby’s formula milk, or if you have any breastmilk stored, feel free to use that.
This also goes for softening foods (i.e mashed sweet potatoes). Yes, I used to squeeze some breast milk in my baby’s food – for those who are wondering what I mean.
It’s also important to make friends, relatives and nursery carers aware that your baby is NOT on fresh milk!
Otherwise, your baby will be offered fresh milk without you knowing.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have no formula and can’t breastfeed, offer a tiny, very tiny amount of water to your baby instead. Fruit juice is also not encouraged as you will read later.
Be mindful in ensuring that the foods (especially packaged) you’re giving your baby do not contain dairy. Dairy in the foods will have the same effect as fresh milk in infants. Foods include cheese, chocolate etc.
Giving your baby fruit Juice may cause diarrhoea and this is simply because Fruit Juices contain a non-digestible sugar known as Sorbitol.
Excess Sorbitol makes the body try to dilute the sugar by pulling water away from the bloodstream into the digestive system.
If you were really attentive in class, it’s a little like Osmosis – remember that? Lol. So basically, not only is it leaving your child dehydrated, but also causing diarrhoea.
It’s therefore wise to hold off the Fruit Juices (yes this also includes that ‘baby’ juices) until your baby’s digestive system has matured – which will be when they’re at least over a year old.
In any case, why on earth would you be pumping sugar into your baby – they’re hyper and energetic enough as it is! – Don’t encourage it!
PEANUT BUTTER AND OTHER NUTS OR SEEDS
Peanut Butter and other types of nuts cause a serious allergic reaction if given to babies. Especially if there are known allergies to Nuts in the family.
Therefore, it’s advisable to hold off these until your child is well over one. It’s also better to take them to your Doctor for allergy testing before offering them to your child.
That way, you will be able to know if there is a possibility your child has nut allergies.
As I always say, It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Allergies aside, Have you seen the consistency of peanut butter? It’s thick and sticky, it’s hard for me to swallow (even just talking about it is making my throat feel weird).
Imagine how hard it would be for an infant to swallow. This and other nuts and seeds pose a high choking hazard to infants and should be avoided.
SOME FRUITS – ESPECIALLY BERRIES
Some fruit such as Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries contain protein which is hard for an infant to digest.
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and Grapefruit and Strawberries are not recommended as not only can they cause allergic reactions, The citrus in them may too strong for your infant’s stomach causing diarrhoea and nappy rash.
Giving your baby too much fruit (like fruit juices) may also cause diarrhoea in your baby.
Some vegetables such as beets, spinach, fennel may contain high levels of nitrates which can be hard for an infant to digest. It is better to avoid offering these to your infant in any form (raw, pureed or cooked).
Instead, stick to your Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, mashed peas (or you can mix them all up)
Giving your infant egg whites can cause an allergic reaction. It’s, therefore, advised that if you’re going to give your baby eggs, make sure you give them a thoroughly cooked egg yolk.
Eggs are one of those really funny foods that I’m on the fence with. I’m always cautious when giving my babies eggs and both my daughter didn’t have eggs until she was nearly two, even then, it was a bit at a time.
My son, however, it was a little after one. I always associate eggs with bacteria and Salmonella, even though the potential danger is very small. There’s always a niggling thought in the back of my mind that this might be the very ‘rare’ time.
So I pretty much cook the eggs till they were charred – well, my poor kids still have them that way. But it makes me feel better.
I don’t want to deprive them (because neither are allergic to eggs) because of my insecurities about eggs, but I don’t want to bring harm to them by being sloppy in the way I make their eggs.
But anyway, that’s just me. If you have the same kind of feelings towards eggs and infants, let me know in the comment section so I know I’m not weird alone
CAFFEINATED FOOD AND DRINK
OK, so with this one, I didn’t know where to even start writing. I only have to think of how busy, energetic and hyperactive my kids are – without any sugar.
The thought of what they would be like with caffeine cripples me from head to toe.
So let’s not even think about it.Why on earth would you want to do that to yourself, like seriously? Your kids keep you busy enough, don’t make your life harder by offering caffeinated foods and drinks.
And I’m not talking about coffee and energy drinks. Caffeine is also in tea and chocolates too! Save your sanity and stick to water!
It’s not advisable to give some foods to infant purely on the basis that they pose a high choking hazard.
These foods include; Peanut butter, nuts and seeds (as mentioned before, popcorn, small pieces of fruit are a Choking Hazard.
As are vegetables like peas (whole) and sweet corn, grapes, blueberries, cut up strawberries, raw carrots.
Sweets such as hard-boiled sweets, chocolate pieces (if you’ve not heard a word I’ve said on caffeine and infants). To be fair, a lot of food can pose a choking hazard, not only to infants but to adults too.
The main thing is you MONITOR your infant when they have something in their mouth (even mashed foods) never leave an infant alone with food. Not only will they make a mess, but they could choke when you’re not there.
Always be mindful of the food you’re giving your infant. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but I’ve pulled up some foods that I know in my experience!
Contact your doctor and seek medical attention if your gut instinct tells you something isn’t right, even if the allergic reaction doesn’t seem so bad on the ‘outside’ you never know what’s happening on the inside of the body.
On the flip side, don’t let this scare you introducing new foods (slowly and carefully) when your baby is old enough. Weaning and discovering the world through food is an exciting part of your baby’s life journey. So enjoy it!
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