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Food Safety For Infants

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Food Safety For Infants

Learn which foods your infant should be avoiding, with simple tips to maintain at mealtimes.

Also check out our previous article on this topic: Baby’s First Foods- Safety Tips.

Potential choking hazards:

  • Hot dogs, grapes, whole olives, raw carrots, meat chunks, candy, grapes, raisins, cherry tomatoes, frozen cut green beans, celery, whole nuts, popcorn and peanut butter.
  • Caution with foods that are similar in size or shape to grapes or green beans. If you’re unsure of the safety of a food’s size,
    cut it.
  • Do not leave your child alone while eating snacks or meals. Avoid having them eat while toddling around. Once they can feed themselves be sure to bring any activities you plan to do into the kitchen while they’re eating.

They’re not ready for:

  • Unpasteurized cheese or milk. It can contain harmful bacteria and viruses. It may lead to foodborne illness or more serious health problems.
  • Honey. It may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum. The spores can grow into bacteria that can lead to foodborne illness called botulism. For children under the age of one, these bacteria can be deadly.
  • Cow’s Milk, especially low-fat or fat -free. If you are no longer breastfeeding, wait until the age of one for cow’s milk and be sure it’s whole milk, not reduced fat. It is very important for infants to have whole milk as this is a needed source of fat for their rapid growth and development. Before the age of one their kidneys aren’t mature enough to handle cow’s milk. After the age of 2, children can drink reduced-fat milk (1% or skim).
  • Caution: goats milk is lower in folate, iron, vitamin C and vitamin D, which are needed nutrients for your growing baby.
  • Juice should not be offered before the age of one. It should not take the place of needed breast milk or formula which contains many nutrients the baby needs to grow and thrive. If juice is provided, after the age of 1 year, limit to  4 ounces of juice per day at most.
  • Fluid outside of breast milk or formula. Speak to your child’s pediatrician about when additional fluids would be needed. Breast milk or formula usually provides adequate fluid. In hot climates, small amounts of additional fluid may be needed up to 4 ounces.

Dealing with Left Overs

  • If you use baby food from a jar, wash the jars and re-use them when feeding. Take half of the food out of the new jar and place it in the re-cycled jar to feed your baby. Place the untouched baby food back in the refrigerator with a tightly closed lid.
  • If you do feed your baby out of the jar, the baby’s saliva may contaminate the food and should be discarded.
  • To avoid wasting food, use slightly less than you anticipate he or she will eat, then add more as he starts to finish his meal.

For more tips on what to feed your infant, read Meal Time Tips For Your Infant & Toddler.

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About the Author

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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