Feeding your baby

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breast-feed your baby during the first six months. After that, your baby will probably be ready to start trying solid foods. Pediatricians tell parents to begin with foods that are easy to digest and, gradually, foods with different tastes and textures can be introduced. The following recommendations were offered:

Babies birth to 6 months old

Unless directed by your baby's doctor, your baby should NOT eat anything except:
Breast milk - The best food for your baby is breast milk. Milk-based or soy-based formula - If it is not possible for your baby to drink breast milk, your pediatrician will recommend a formula that has vitamins and/or iron added to it.

Babies 6 to 12 months old


Rice cereal is the first solid food that pediatricians suggest feeding your baby. Oatmeal is usually next, followed by barley cereal. After the cereals, you can try strained or pureed vegetables such as peas and carrots. Usually mashed fruits, like very ripe bananas, come next. Introduce foods slowly so that your baby will be less likely to develop food allergies.

Babies in this age range should not eat the following foods:
  • Chocolate - Due to its highly allergenic properties, chocolate should not be offered to babies who are younger than 1 year old.
  • Honey - Babies should not eat honey until they are at least 1 year old because it can cause botulism, which is potentially life threatening.
  • Oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits - Always check with your pediatrician before giving your baby citrus fruits and juices because they are highly allergenic.
  • Egg whites - Cooked egg yolks that have been either scrambled or hard boiled and then mashed are usually fine when your baby is 8 to 9 months old. Because of its allergy-producing qualities you should wait till your baby is at least 1 year old before introducing cooked egg whites.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter - Because they can produce highly allergic reactions, peanuts and peanut butter should never be eaten by children younger than 3 years.
  • Wheat and wheat products - Only after rice, oat and barley cereals have been mastered should wheat and wheat products even be attempted. Since wheat is the most common cereal allergen, babies should be at least 6 to 8 months old before it is offered.
  • Whole milk - Breast milk or formula is recommended for the first year of your baby's life. Cow's milk has been found to increase the likelihood of your child developing allergies.
Toddlers 1 to 2 years old
  • Your toddler is getting more adventurous and curious about trying new foods. Allergy-producing foods are still a concern, but you also have to be careful about foods that can be a choking hazard. The following foods are inappropriate for toddlers who are 1 to 2 years old:
  • Carrots - Because they can easily choke a toddler, carrots should never be eaten raw. They must be shredded or well cooked and very soft.
  • Grapes - Whole grapes are a choking hazard for small children and should always be cut into small pieces before being offered.
  • Hot dogs - Slicing hot dog lengthwise and then cutting it into pieces that are about a quarter-inch wide greatly reduces the risk of choking.
  • Low-fat milk - The fat in whole milk is nutritionally important for young children up to 2 years of age, so low-fat milk should not be used for children in this age range.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter - In addition to being highly allergenic, peanuts also present a choking risk for toddlers. Don't feed young children peanuts or peanut butter until the child is 3 years old.
  • Snacks - Since hard candy, lollipops, nuts, popcorn or other snacks are just the right size to become lodged in a small child's throat, great care must be used when offering them to toddlers. These snack foods are a choking risk.
  • String cheese - For your toddler to safely eat string cheese, serve it shredded and never sliced or cut into chunks.
Toddlers 2 to 3 years old

Foods that are choking hazards are still a concern, so for toddlers that are 2 to 3 years old, avoid the following foods:

  • Grapes - Whole grapes are a choking hazard for small children and should always be cut into small pieces before being offered.
  • Hot dogs - Slicing a hot dog lengthwise and then cutting it into pieces that are about a quarter-inch wide greatly reduces the risk of choking.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter - In addition to being highly allergenic, peanuts also present a choking risk for toddlers. Don't feed young children peanuts or peanut butter until the child is 3 years old.
  • Snacks - Again, as mentioned above, hard candy, lollipops, nuts, popcorn or other snacks are just the right size to become lodged in a small child's throat, great care must be used when offering them to toddlers. These foods are a choking risk.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.