The main piece of concern for any mother with her newborn as well as for the growing baby is food. We mothers are constantly looking for healthier options for our kids. Often we hear suggestions from the neighbourhood or from our moms and other women in the house what to and what not to feed the baby. However, not everything that is considered as a healthy food in common Indian household is actually healthy for your baby. Surely a diet chart from a paediatrician is the one to stick with. But certain meals that the paediatrician prescribes as ‘home cooked light food’ is where the concern lies. Therefore, you must know certain foods that might seem easy for the baby to consume and considered healthy, does not suit a baby’s digestive system. Here’s a list of foods that you should avoid for your baby.
You might have heard from other mothers that sabudana khichdi or kheer is a food to keep your baby full for a long time. True! It does keep the baby full longer but has no nutrients in it for optimum growth of the baby. Tapioca is starch and that is what makes the baby feel full with a small bowl. Though it may get digested easily and increase the baby’s weight, there are no essential nutrients in it.
Egg whites are a rich source of protein. However, when your baby is less than 1 year old, the digestive system is not developed enough to break down complex proteins found in egg whites. You can rather include the egg yolk in the diet which contains a lot of essential nutrients like calcium helpful for bone development, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6, B12, folate, Vitamin A, D, E and K and all the essential fatty acids.
Shellfish might be a good source of calcium and one might assume is good for bone development in kids. This is completely untrue. Seafood like crabs and shellfish contain mercury and can hinder the baby’s development. Also, seafood can cause allergies as well. However, if you wish to include fish in your baby’s diet, opt for white fish like cod, haddock, flounder or sole. Take care that no bones remain before you serve. The portions should be limited and should not be fed more than once a week.
Stick to only breast milk for your baby under one year. Animal milk is difficult to digest and can cause allergies, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Vegetables like beets, spinach, fennel and lettuce contain a high level of nitrates and are difficult for your baby to process these nitrates even when they are pureed. Since baby’s digestive system does not contain strong enough stomach acids to process these nitrates and may result in a decreased level of oxygen carried by the blood and can cause Blue Baby Syndrome. Instead stick to sweet potatoes, peas and other vegetables which have low nitrate content.
Berries and Citrus
Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries contain a high level of protein and can get difficult for your infant to digest. It is therefore recommended to wait for a year and a half before you introduce berries to your baby’s diet.
Contaminated honey contains botulism bacteria and can create botulism poisoning in babies and the baby’s intestines are not strong enough to fight these bacteria.
Tips To Follow when Planning Meals for the Baby
- Avoid lentils and beans since these tend to create gas in the baby’s stomach.
- Too much of plain khichdi is not nutritious. Add vegetables that are low in nitrates and are easy to digest.
- Avoid raw vegetables since this not only makes the digestion difficult but also pose a risk of choking and presence of bacteria in them.
Food and nutrition are the main concern for a mother. You might hear from your mother or mother in law that they fed these foods to you and you have turned out fine. The above suggestions are the ones based on recommendations by paediatricians and should ideally be followed.