Do you remember learning to ride a bike? Like me, you probably had a dozen (or more) shaky spins down the driveway before you could cycle confidently off into the sunset. It took time, patience and plenty of practice to get it right.
Learning To Eat Is Hard
Learning to eat is like riding a bike for the first time. When kids first start solids, they’re not very good at chewing and swallowing—in their defense, they’ve never done it before! At this stage, your tiny human may only have a tooth or two and have no idea how to use their new chomper(s).
Plus, when kids start solids, their baby digestive systems aren’t very good at processing food. It takes time for their tiny tummies and guts to mature and get better at digesting new forms of nourishment. For these reasons (plus a few more), there are a handful of foods on the no-go list for new eaters:
- Dried fruit
- Raw veggies
- Whole grapes and berries
- Hard candy
- Fish with bones
- Thick nut butters not thinned with breast milk, formula or water
- Big chunks of tough meat or cheese
Other Risky Foods
- Cow’s milk: Cow’s milk consumption increases iron deficiency risk in kids under 12 months and can irritate their stomach and intestines. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding cow’s milk for the first 12 months of life. Instead, stick to breast milk or formula.
- Honey: Sorry bees, but honey has repeatedly been linked with infant botulism, a food borne illness that attacks the nervous system. So hold off on your favorite sweet spread until after the first year.
- Fruit juice: Drinking large amounts of juice during infancy is associated with diarrhea, poor appetite, failure to thrive, obesity, and dental decay. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping the juice boxes at bay until at least 12 months old.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are light on nutrients and increase risk of tooth decay in infants (and adults). Skip them in favor of more nutrient-dense options.
- Tea and coffee: Both tea and coffee contain tannins that bind up iron and other nutrients essential for normal growth and development. And the caffeine found in some teas and coffee is a central nervous system stimulant not appropriate for widespread infant consumption. Besides, do you really want to see your toddler hopped up on caffeine?
- Added salt: Infant kidneys are not capable of excreting excess sodium, so adding salt to food for new eaters is not recommended. Looking for more info about salt and babies? Read our full post on Tiny Reads here.
The good news is that there are plenty of foods that new eaters can try (and, you know, splatter all over the ceiling). At Raised Real, we package up some of the healthiest, baby-friendly choices into single serve portions and ship them straight to your door to make feeding your new eater easier. Bon appetit!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment in any manner. Always ask your pediatrician or other qualified health provider any questions you have regarding any medical conditions.