Weaning your baby? Make sure you avoid these foods!

If you thought the first six months of having a baby was a challenge, you have another one coming. Once you start to wean the baby, you’ll come across a lot of advice about what to give the baby and what to avoid. However, a lot of these are just myths and you should know what to believe and what to dismiss. Read this to know about popular weaning myths!

1. Don’t give the baby meat now

The popular idea is, at the time of weaning, a baby should not be given any meat or fish because these can be difficult for the baby to digest. However, you can go ahead and give meat and fish to the baby, as long as these are thoroughly cooked and not fibrous, and contain absolutely no bones.

2. Don’t give the baby eggs

What you shouldn’t give the baby is soft boiled eggs because these are not cooked through and may cause poisoning. However, hard boiled eggs, in limited quantities, are fine for the baby.

3. Don’t give the baby any wheat-based food

Not giving the baby any wheat-based food deprives them of gluten. This can cause celiac disease or even Type 1 diabetes at a later stage. Start introducing gluten to your baby’s diet and wait to check if she shows any signs of allergy. If yes, stop.

4. Don’t give the baby nuts

Yes, whole or chopped nuts can be a choking hazard, and therefore should be avoided. But your baby can have nut butters. Smooth peanut butter is fine for the baby and can be introduced at the time of weaning.

5. Give the baby bland food

Don’t! Babies are used to bland breast milk and some taste in solids is a good idea. Indian food contains a great deal of variety in terms of spices, and these have a lot of nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, etc, which your baby needs

6. Give the baby honey regularly

There are many beliefs in India that say giving honey to a newborn or infant is a good practice. But please be warned that honey can cause infant botulism and botulism toxicity in babies under 1 year, and these are both life-threatening conditions.

7. Give the baby sweetened water

When your baby is breastfed, she does not need additional water. At a later stage, if you are giving water, do not listen to anyone who tells you to add sugar to the water to make it sweeter for the baby. Your baby cannot process additional sugar at this stage and it is best to avoid any added sugar.

The research regarding introducing solid foods is actively changing. This means the foods that have been traditionally restricted until later in toddlerhood (eggs, shellfish, peanut butter) are no longer on the “Do Not Have” list. In fact, some recent data suggests that delaying the introduction of high-allergy foods (shell fish, nuts, eggs) actually increases the risk of developing a food allergy. In addition, adding dairy sources (cheeses, yogurt) and animal proteins (meat, chicken, pork, fish) can be added at any time.

In general, keep the following in mind:

Foods you shouldn’t give the weaning baby

  • Nuts and seeds - whole or chopped - these can cause choking hazards and are difficult for the baby to digest

  • Honey - can cause infant botulism in babies

  • Soft boiled eggs - may cause salmonella in a baby

  • Citrus or berry fruits - may have allergens and contain seeds that the baby might choke on

  • Cow milk - difficult for babies to digest

  • Fizzy, aerated drinks - contain caffeine and a kind of sugar (high fructose corn syrup) that are not good for your baby’s digestion or development

  • Turnips, beets, carrots, spinach - these contain nitrates that can cause anemia

  • Salt - your baby’s kidneys are not prepared to process additional salt

  • Sugar - the baby’s metabolism cannot process additional sugar

  • Flavoured milks - contain additional sugar that’s best avoided

  • Adult foods - contain additional salt and spices that the baby cannot digest

Foods you can give in limited quantities

  • Wheat-based foods - contain gluten that is difficult for the baby to digest

  • Fish - may contain mercury that is not good for the baby

  • Fruit juices - ideally give fruits, instead of juices, because juices don’t have enough fiber, calcium, fat, vitamin D etc.

What to watch out for:

Additional sugar is very difficult for the baby’s digestive system. When you buy food for the baby, read the label carefully to see the ingredients. Store-bought foods contain additives and sugars, which may not be named as ‘sugar’ on the label. Look out and don’t buy items that contain the following:

  • Fructose

  • Glucose

  • Fruit juice concentrate

  • Syrup

  • Molasses


Feature image: Meaningful Mama