There are few foods that are off-limits for babies over the age of six months. You’re more likely to be limited by her own particular preferences than by a list of banned foods. But her gut is still maturing, so it’s advisable to introduce new foods gradually and watch closely for any reactions.
There are a few foods which are not recommended for babies at this stage, no matter how good an eater your little one is. So what should you cross off the shopping list for now?
Don’t give soft, unpasteurised or blue cheeses in the first year due to risk of listeria – a rare but serious form of food poisoning.
This should be avoided until nine months as it could trigger allergies and is a major cause of food poisoning. If you do give shellfish, ensure it is fresh and well cooked: never give raw shellfish to a baby.
Although it’s not officially counter-indicated for babies, kiwi is the fruit most likely to cause an allergic reaction, so you may want to avoid giving it to your child at this stage.
Hard-boiled or well-cooked eggs are safe from six months, but to avoid the risk of food poisoning, raw or undercooked eggs must not be given until your baby is 12 months old.
Nuts can pose a choking hazard so you shouldn’t give your child whole or chopped nuts until the age of five. Seeds, nut butters or ground nuts can be introduced safely at this stage, but many experts advise against giving them before the age of three if you have a history of food allergy, hay fever, eczema or asthma in your family.
This should not be given until 12 months to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
Honey is not suitable for babies under a year old, as it can cause infant botulism, a potentially dangerous type of food poisoning that affects young babies.
To minimise the risk of tooth decay or encouraging a sweet tooth, it’s best not to add sugar to food. Also avoid giving too many sweet foods and drinks, such as biscuits, fruit juice and squash, and sugary breakfast cereals.
Babies’ kidneys are too immature to process salt and it can also contribute to dehydration, so it shouldn’t be added to food before 12 months. Avoid high-salt processed foods like readymade pasta sauces, crisps, sausages and bacon, too.
Low fat or low calorie foods
Babies’ energy and growth needs mean they need full-fat, calorific foods. Many low calorie or diet foods also contain artificial sweeteners and additives which have been linked by some studies to health and behavioural problems.
High fibre foods
Avoid giving high fibre foods like bran, brown pasta and brown rice, as babies can get too full and not eat enough calories. High fibre foods can also interfere with your baby’s absorption of key nutrients.
Cow’s milk to drink
Full-fat cow’s milk is safe to use in cooking and on cereal, but don’t offer it as a drink until 12 months. Compared to breastmilk and formula, it’s too low in fat, calories and nutrients for your growing baby’s needs.