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A Solid Start: Introducing Baby to Solid Foods

Everything you need to know to begin your child on baby foods and other solids.

Feeding Baby: What Foods Should You Hold Off On?

There are some foods that you should definitely wait on. Honey is one -- it can cause a potentially dangerous disease called infant botulism and should not be given to a child younger than one year. Whole cow’s milk is another, because the milk proteins and fat can irritate a baby’s stomach. (Other dairy products have these proteins broken down, so they’re less likely to cause tummy trouble and can be introduced earlier.) Popcorn and other foods that are choking hazards should not be introduced until later.

Some pediatricians recommend waiting until baby is 1 year old to introduce citrus fruits because the acidity can be irritating. Shu thinks it’s up to the parent. “There’s probably no harm in letting your 8-month-old try a small cut-up piece of orange,” she says. “Just be forewarned that there may be a little rash or some stomach upset.”

What about sweet treats, like sugar? Babies do not need them and shouldn’t be offered these foods regularly, says Shu. But what if you’re at a birthday party for an older child and your 11-month-old is reaching for a taste of cake? “One bite isn’t going to hurt," she says. "Don’t make it a habit, and they won’t develop a preference for sweet things like cake or juice. I’m a fan of moderation, not deprivation or excess.”

Reviewed on September 15, 2013
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