After your baby’s birth, you might often be puzzled about how to treat your baby in the best possible way so your child can grow up healthy and happy. The choice of products offered for babies is overwhelming, and making a decision on what to buy may even be harder than raising your child! Your selection should not be based on a brand or a price tag. Focus on the actual benefits of each item. Before you buy another baby food jar or bubbly soap, make sure to find out exactly what is inside!
At 4-6 months of age, babies open a whole new world of tastes and textures and are ready to start mouthing and chewing solid food. This is the golden period when you can start introducing new products. It is best to choose the most natural organic foods as your baby will develop love for specific flavors and will actually prefer them in the future.
It is true that commercial baby food is convenient, but the price tag for convenience may be too high and the health of your rapidly growing little pride of joy is of the utmost importance. When you buy commercial processed foods, as natural as they may seem, they are often diluted with water and starchy fillers such as tapioca, rice flour and modified corn starch. Even the companies producing organic baby food sometimes use fillers, so make sure to read the ingredients!
Most baby foods also have added water, sugars, salt, and may contain trace amounts of chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These are obviously not essential nor beneficial to your baby’s diet.
Processed foods lose the important nutrients of the natural ingredients put in them due to the exposure to light, heat, and long storage times. A little jar of vegetable puree with a 2-year shelf life does not compare to the smell, taste, color and vitality offered by organic garden grown foods that have been steamed and mashed and then served from your own kitchen.
Try to avoid the introduction of these foods until your child is much older and nourish your offspring with homemade baby food that is pure and wholesome. The bright side of preparing baby food at home is that you can add herbs, combine flavors, and easily introduce new textures which makes your baby’s mealtime a pleasurable, gourmet experience. The upside to preparing all of this incredible and healthy food is that cooking might become your new hobby!
Baby Nutrition – Foods to Avoid
Citrus: Introducing citrus fruits and juices before the age of 1 may provoke an allergic reaction, especially if allergies run in your family.
Egg whites: Your baby can eat egg yolks now, but wait a year or two before giving the protein-rich whites because they may be allergic to them.
Honey: Honey can contain spores of clostridium botulinum, which may lead to botulism in children. While an adult’s intestinal tract is able to prevent the growth of these spores, babies and children don’t have a fully developed immunity, so the spores can grow and produce life-threatening toxins.
Peanuts, tree nuts (pecans and walnuts) and peanut butter: Nuts and peanuts which are considered to be legumes are highly allergenic and are often not well-tolerated even by grow-ups. Rather than risk a violent allergic reaction, wait a few years before introducing these. The majority of children can start with nuts and peanuts pureed in food or in nut butters, but the sticky consistency can make it tough for a young child to safely swallow. Whole nuts and pieces of nuts may turn from a nourishing addition into a choking hazard.
Wheat or wheat products: Wheat is the most common grain allergen and most babies can only start to tolerate it beginning at 6-8 months from birth. Besides, there are plenty of better choices of complex carbohydrates like buckwheat, quinoa, spelt and oats.
Shellfish: Excluding shellfish from your baby’s diet until his first birthday is a good idea since shellfish is a very common allergen. Just to be on the safe side, you may even want to wait 3-4 years before you serve the first shrimp salad to your lovely kid.
Other potential food allergens: Don’t rush into including corn, soy, chocolate, cow’s milk or anything else your digestion and immunity can’t fight. After all, if these foods don’t make you feel well, how can they be beneficial to your child? You can safely nurture your baby with most pureed fruit for desserts (except citrus) and cereals, along with cooked and mashed vegetables added to home-cooked natural cereals mixed with beans, peas and lentils. Use herbs and spices instead of salt and remember that when it comes to sugar, your baby is already sweet enough! If you’re breastfeeding, avoiding potential allergens in your own diet may help in delaying or preventing allergies in your baby.