Honey is One of the 17 WORST Weaning Foods for Your Baby?
Do not give your baby these harmful foods when you introduce him to solids!
You’ve started weaning your baby and just realised that you are dealing with a picky eater? In such situations, parents often end up feeding the wrong foods. But little do we know that sometimes the food we may be giving our babies could do more harm than good.
Feeding children the right food from a tender age sets up the building blocks for a healthier future. Click on Next to see which weaning foods are absolute no-nos and what you should be feeding your little munchkin instead, as suggested by experts.
A high-calorie food with low nutritional value, biscuits, especially cream biscuits, are loaded with fat and sugar. They are not ideal as weaning foods. “The fat gives a fullness in the mouth and the sweetness masks any traces of bitterness,” says Gurgaon-based Lokendra Tomar, a dietician and nutritionist.
What to give instead: You could try giving homemade biscuits sweetened with applesauce and some amount of good quality or homemade butter.
Nuts have great nutritional value, but they are not suitable for babies. “Whole nuts shouldn’t be given to children under 5 years unless they are powered as they create a choking hazard,” says Sherly Ganesh, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bengaluru.
What to give instead: “Soak the nuts overnight and make a fine paste. Add some raisins before blending for sweetness. Babies will love this,” suggests Tomar.
Instant baby food
Tons of instant weaning food items are available in the market. Packaged baby foods may be okay once in a while, but do not make feeding this a regular affair. “These products contain a high amount of carbohydrate without any fibre. The baby can eat this food easily as it goes down the mouth quickly. Excess carbohydrate in the food stimulates insulin hormone. With the influence of high insulin in the blood, the baby wants to eat more and starts gaining weight,” informs Tomar. This sudden weight gain is unhealthy.
What to give instead: You can make healthy baby food at home by grinding 1 cup of millet flour, 1/3 cup raw black gram, 1/3 cup raw bung bean, 1 cup raw rice and 1/3 cup raw peas after they have been dry-roasted individually. Sieve and store in an air-tight container. Before feeding your baby, mix a heaped teaspoon of the mix in some cold water and then gradually add boiling water to it, to get the desired consistency.
Sweet breakfast cereals
Do not start your baby’s most important meal of the day with ready cereals. They can damage your baby’s teeth. “They are also hard to digest and contains high sodium. Babies would not be able to digest these,” says Ganesh.
What to give instead: Oats porridge, baby rice porridge are healthier alternatives.
Many traditional sweets have high amounts of butter, oil and sugar. High in calories, they will give your baby a feeling of fullness but provide no nutritional value.
What to give instead: Homemade fruit custard, homemade fruit-flavoured yoghurt with less sugar are better options for your child.
Cakes and pastries
Hard to resist, we admit, but cakes are a bad weaning food for little babies’ tummies. Also high in fat and sugar, they have low nutrition and tend to make babies lazy.
What to give instead: Homemade besan ka halwa, kheer, sugar-free rusks or mashed banana are better options.
Chocolates and candies
High in sugar content, candies and sweets attack a baby’s developing teeth. Chewing gums are a strict no. They may stick to your baby’s mouth and you might not even realise it. There’s also a risk of choking with hard sweets. Chocolate also contains caffeine along with sugar.
What to give instead: Pureéd and cut fruits are the best sweet snacks for your little one.
Please, no! We may love those roadside goodies but they are prepared in highly unhygienic conditions and are laced with infection-causing germs, so keep the babies away from them! “Due to low immunity, babies are prone to bacterial infections and the ability to digest these foods will be at a poor rate,” says Ganesh.
What to give instead: Carry some homemade pureés or the homemade baby food powder (as mentioned in the previous slide) in a container if you will be dining out.
Salty snacks and chips
Babies under age one require very low salt. Tidbits like chips or wafers are high in salt content and hard to stop eating. “High salt may increase blood pressure and even increase the size of the heart. This may lead to heart-related diseases at an early age. Children even at the age of 15 have had heart attacks,” informs Tomar.
What to give instead: Rice cakes, puffed rice, baked breadsticks are better snacks for your little ones.
Don’t we all know this one? Children take a fancy to instant noodles because of the tangy taste and the smooth texture of well-cooked noodles. “Noodles are made up of white flour which is high in gluten. Gluten sticks in the intestine and causes constipation,” informs Tomar. Moreover, little babies cannot chew them well and end up swallowing them. This could cause abdominal pain and constipation. This is one food we all can do without.
What to give instead: For young ones, rice porridge is a better option. If your older babies wish, you could give them homemade rice noodles (rice vermicelli).
Fizzy drinks contain loads of sugar which erodes a baby’s developing teeth and interferes with his digestive system. “Most of these drinks also contain caffeine which is unsuitable for a baby,” says Ganesh.
Packed juices are to be avoided as well. “Packed juices contain chemicals called aldehydes. A unique characteristic of aldehydes is that they smell like fruits but they are toxic for the liver. Regular intake of these chemicals can damage the liver which plays an important role in the growth and development of the infants,” says Tomar.
What to give instead: Dust out that juicer and give your baby fresh fruit juices.
Tea and coffee
Tea and coffee must be avoided at all costs. “Any drink that contains caffeine is unsuitable for a baby, and the tannins in tea may prevent iron absorption,” informs Ganesh.
What to give instead: Cow’s milk is the safest drink for your baby after the age of one.
Ready meals, packaged foods are convenient to whip up, but are a definite no-no weaning food. “These foods are high in sodium content and hard to digest as well,” states Ganesh.
What to give instead: Give your baby healthy meals with a good balance between carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Bottom-dwelling fish such as marlin, swordfish, tuna or shark contain high levels of mercury.
What to give instead: Give your baby well-cooked bite-sized pieces of pomfret, cod or sole with very less spice.
Pizzas, burgers, finger chips- Yum! High in fat, sugar and salt- not yum! The sugar, salt and unsaturated fat in these food items do not suit babies’ delicate digestive systems.
What to give instead: Encourage healthy eating by giving your baby steamed carrot sticks or mashed boiled potato
Fried snacks such as samosas, curry puffs and cutlets have high unsaturated fats. These are difficult to digest and also are not nutrient-dense.
What to give instead: Try giving baked snacks or snacks such as boiled/steamed potato or corn for older babies.
You may receive some bad parenting advice that honey can make a baby’s speech clear, but it is anything but true. Giving your baby honey must be avoided until he’s year old. “Honey contains bacteria which can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism, which is a very serious illness,” says Ganesh.
What to give instead: Use ripe fruits such as bananas or stewed apple to sweeten your baby’s porridge. Some jaggery will also do the trick.