Do Not Feed These Foods To Your Baby

By molly atherton 4 months ago
Safeguarding your baby's health is paramount, and understanding what foods to avoid is crucial. This guide unveils a comprehensive list of foods deemed unsafe for infants. From potential allergens to choking hazards, we navigate through the nutritional landscape to empower parents with essential knowledge. Join us in this exploration of responsible parenting, ensuring your baby's first culinary experiences are both nourishing and hazard-free.

1. Refined Sugar

According to the experts, babies should not eat sugar either on its own or as part of a food because sugar can cause tooth decay. Many mothers tend to add refined sugar to milk. Also, by exposing babies to sugar in infancy and early childhood, this may cause a baby to develop a preference for sweet foods.Original content sourced from
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Introducing too much sugar too soon can potentially lead to digestive issues in babies. Their digestive systems are still developing, and an excess of sugary foods may contribute to discomfort, gas, or other digestive problems.  Refined sugar will not give small bodies the high concentration of nutrients for growth and development.

2. Salt

Babies can meet the requirement of 0.37 grams of sodium a day, the recommended amount for 7-12 months old, through breast milk or formula. Therefore, you should not add any salt to your baby’s food. This is vital because if a baby consumes added salt, it can exert undue stress on their immature kidneys.
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Too much salt in a baby's diet can lead to increased thirst and dehydration. High sodium levels can draw water out of cells, leading to an imbalance in the body's fluid levels.  High salt intake is associated with elevated blood pressure, even in childhood.

3. Honey

Honey is a natural sweetener and with its traces of minerals and antioxidants, it is considered to be a healthy alternative to sugar. However, babies under one year old should not consume it. Honey contains a considerable amount of sugar, with similar health risks as refined sugar.
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Honey, particularly raw or unpasteurized honey, may contain spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While these spores are generally harmless to older children and adults, they can pose a risk to infants.  Infants under 1 year old have an underdeveloped digestive system, and their stomach acidity and intestinal flora are not yet fully developed

4. Cow's Milk

Cow's milk protein is a common allergen for infants. Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like skin rashes to more severe reactions such as wheezing or difficulty breathing. Lactose intolerance is another concern, although it is rare in infants.
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The proteins in cow's milk can irritate the lining of a baby’s digestive system, causing occult bleeding and an increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) over a length of time. The baby could also risk developing an allergic reaction to dairy. Once 12 months old, it is fine to introduce cow's milk.

5. Certain Cheese

Many types of cheese can be part of a balanced diet for babies because of the great source of protein, calcium and vitamins but mold-ripened soft cheeses such as goats cheese, brie and blue cheese, are a no-go for the little one as they carry a higher risk of listeria (bacteria).
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Hard or crumbly cheeses can pose a choking hazard for babies, particularly if they are not able to chew and swallow solid foods effectively. It's important to offer cheese in a form that is appropriate for the baby's developmental stage, such as small, soft pieces.

6. Fruit Juices

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) warns against feeding fruit juices to infants. According to these professionals, fruit juices offer no nutritional value to babies younger than 12 months old. An extra chunk of sugar is added to the baby’s diet without any nutritional benefits. Also, fruit juice intake is associated with tooth decay.
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Fruit juices, even 100% fruit juice, lack the essential nutrients that babies need for proper growth and development. They don't provide the same nutritional benefits as whole fruits.   If you do offer it to baby, choose 100% pasteurized fruit juice without added sugars.

7. Unpasteurized Foods

Consuming unpasteurized foods such as raw milk, yogurt, cider vinegar and juices, can expose a baby to E. coli bacteria which can cause severe illnesses. This could result in meningitis in babies, a huge danger as its immune system is unable to handle the infection.
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Pasteurization is a process that involves heating food to a specific temperature for a set period to kill harmful bacteria, parasites, and pathogens.  Babies' immune systems are still developing, making them more susceptible to infections. Consuming unpasteurized foods increases the risk of bacterial contamination

8. Smoked And Cured Meat

Because smoked and cured meats are not usually cooked to the recommended 165 degrees, to ensure the harmful bacteria is killed off,  parents should avoid feeding these foods to infants. This is the opinion of a registered dietician nutritionist Morgyn Clair, founder of the Sprint Kitchen.
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Smoked and cured meats often contain various additives and preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and other chemicals. These additives are used to enhance flavor, color, and shelf life, but their safety, especially in large amounts, may be a concern for infants.

9. High Mercury Fish

Fish is certainly a nutrient-rich food containing iodine, zinc and quality lean proteins. It also has essential omega-3 fatty acids that aid an infant’s brain development. Even though this is the case, king mackerel and bigeye tuna should be avoided as they contain a high level of mercury.
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Mercury is a heavy metal that can have toxic effects on the nervous system.  Regular consumption of fish with high mercury levels over time can lead to mercury poisoning. Symptoms of mercury poisoning can include cognitive difficulties, sensory impairment, and other neurological issues.

10. Raw Sprouts

Sprouts, such as mung, alfalfa and bean sprouts, are healthy foods, offering protein, fiber and micronutrients but feeding raw sprouts to babies is not advisable. This is because raw sprouts could contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli. These bacteria can severely affect the baby’s health. Only well cooked sprouts should be given to babies.
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Sprouts, including alfalfa sprouts, can be challenging for babies to digest. They have a fibrous and sometimes tough texture that may be difficult for an infant's developing digestive system to handle.  They do have some nutrients but not enough for baby's needs.

11. Raw Vegetables And Fruits

Baby carrots, corn, celery and green peas are a potential choking hazard for babies. Therefore, they should not eat them unless they are cooked thoroughly so they become soft. Light and seasonal vegetables can be given after 7 months of age but only if the baby tolerates weaning foods well.
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Whole raw fruits and vegetables can pose a choking hazard for babies, especially those who are just beginning to eat solid foods. The size, shape, and texture of certain raw produce items can be challenging for infants to manage.  Some raw vegetables may be difficult for babies to digest due to their fibrous nature.

12. Whole Nuts And Peanuts

Whole nuts, almonds, cashew, peanuts and pistachios, are all potential choking hazards for babies under the age of four. You must avoid feeding them to babies but as these foods are healthy, you can finely chop or powder them before you add them to different weaning foods, such as porridge.
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Nuts are high in fat and protein, which can be difficult for a baby's immature digestive system to handle. The high fiber content in nuts may also cause digestive discomfort or issues for infants.  Introduce nuts one at a time and wait a few days before introducing another potential allergen.

13. Sticky Foods

There are some sticky foods that babies should avoid. These are raw jelly cubes, chewy fruits, marshmallows and peanut butter. Because these foods stick to the mouth, swallowing becomes difficult for babies, raising the risk of choking. The experts recommend avoiding these foods for babies until they are at least four years old.
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Sticky or gummy textures can become lodged in a baby's throat, increasing the risk of airway obstruction. This can be particularly dangerous, as babies have smaller airways compared to older children and adults.  Opt for soft and easily dissolvable textures, especially when introducing solid foods to younger babies.

14. Rice Drinks

Rice is a common grain used as a complementary food for very young infants, specifically babies. When it comes to rice drinks, such as rice milk, children under five shouldn’t have rice milk as a substitute for infant formula. This is because rice drinks may have high amounts of inorganic arsenic, affecting the cognitive development of babies.
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Rice drinks are a liquid, but rice itself can be a choking hazard when given in solid form. For this reason, rice should be introduced cautiously and in an age-appropriate manner, such as in the form of rice cereal.  When introducing solid foods, start with single-ingredient iron-fortified infant cereals.

15. Raw And Partially Cooked Eggs

Eggs are a nutritious source of protein and babies can safely consume well cooked eggs.  You should not, under any circumstances, feed babies raw and partially cooked eggs since they may pose a risk of salmonella and other bacterial infections. The eggs could pose a risk of an allergic reaction.
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Babies have developing immune systems, and their ability to fight off infections may not be as robust as in older individuals. This makes them more vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. Cook eggs until both the whites and yolks are firm. This eliminates the risk of salmonella contamination.

16. Caffeinated Drinks

There is no way that babies, infants and young children should be consuming caffeinated drinks.  This includes soft drinks, tea, coffee and sports drinks. There is no established safe limit for caffeine for young children.  Parents sometimes put milky tea into weaning beakers for their babies, not realising the harm they are doing.
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Babies have underdeveloped metabolic systems, and their ability to metabolize and eliminate caffeine from the body is limited. This can result in a heightened sensitivity to the effects of caffeine.  Caffeine has diuretic effects, which means it can increase urine production and contribute to dehydration.

17. Seafood

Shellfish like shrimps and lobsters etc. can cause allergies in infants if they consume them under the age of two. Fishes like tuna, shark and mackerel have high levels of mercury so should be avoided completely no matter what age your child is. When eventually introducing fish to their diet, start with white fish such as cod.
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Some types of fish may contain small bones that can be a choking hazard. This is particularly relevant for small babies.  Then there is the issue of mercury. For toddlers, debone fish and ensure that the texture is appropriate for the baby's developmental stage.

18. Berries And Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits and berries are essential for our bodies. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and oranges all contain high levels of acid which could lead to a poorly stomach and a diaper rash. It is suggested to wait for a year or, alternatively, juice up the fruits and dilute them well with water.
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Some fruits have a high water content and may contain natural laxatives, such as sorbitol. Offering too many fruits, especially in a short period, might contribute to loose stools or diarrhea. This is more relevant when introducing certain fruits to a baby's diet for the first time

19. Wheat

Wheat can be given once your baby reaches 8 months and starts to tolerate weaning foods well. You must check for wheat allergy or gluten allergy (Celiac disease) present in the family or check for signs of allergy in your baby after feeding them. Wheat products must not be given earlier than 7 months.
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If there is a family history of celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders, it's advisable to discuss the introduction of wheat with a pediatrician. In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend introducing gluten-containing foods under their guidance.

20. Water

Now, this one might come as a surprise to those who aren't parents, but babies can't drink water until around the 6 month mark! This is due to breast milk/formula containing the perfect amount of hydration, whilst water contains is overhydrating for their underdeveloped kidneys.
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Once a baby starts eating solid foods at approximately six months of age, you can begin introducing water.  However, it's crucial not to replace breast milk or formula with water, as these continue to be essential for the baby's growth and development.

21. Grapes And Raisins

Grapes are out of the picture for babies until they can chew their food properly and are old enough to not choke on them. The skin, size and firmness of grapes could lead to the fruit getting stuck in the baby’s food pipe, even when it is cut in small pieces.
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Maybe peel grapes and cut in half when first introducing.  The skin of grapes can be slippery, making them challenging for little fingers to grasp. This can increase the risk of the grape slipping into the baby's throat without proper chewing so be extremely careful.

22. Solid Foods In A Bottle

Do not feed your baby solid foods from a bottle. It is dangerous and can be a choking hazard. Parents and carers may want to put cereal in a baby's bottle so baby sleeps right through the night. This is an old wives tale and just a popular misconception, putting cereal in a baby's bottle won't help with sleeping through the night and can prove to be harmful.
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Start introducing solid foods to a baby around 6 months of age using a spoon. This allows the baby to gradually learn to chew and swallow while promoting the development of oral motor skills.  Encourage self-feeding as the baby becomes more capable.

23. Baby Food From The Jar

Do not feed ready made baby food directly from the jar. Instead, spoon some food into a separate dish first. By feeding directly from the jar, this could introduce bacteria from your baby's mouth to the spoon and back into the food, thus creating a food safety issue.
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If you don't use the entire contents of a jar, promptly cover and refrigerate the remaining portion. Use refrigerated baby food within the recommended timeframe to ensure freshness and safety.  Inspect baby food for any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor, changes in color, or unusual texture. Discard any jars that show signs of spoilage.

24. Popcorn

Popcorn is a choking hazard for babies and young children. Because of its sharp edges and kernel flakes, popcorn can easily get caught in your child's throat, causing gagging or choking. Once the child is older, they will be able to chew popcorn more thoroughly and it won't be hazardous.
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The hard, sharp edges of popcorn kernels can be abrasive and may cause injury to a baby's delicate gums, mouth, or digestive tract.  Popcorn is a whole grain, and the outer hull of the kernel can be difficult for young digestive systems to break down. This may contribute to digestive discomfort or issues.

25.  Whole Cherry Tomatoes

Although your baby will probably love tomatoes, you should steer clear of feeding the whole cherry ones to start with. As the red fruit is full of vitamins and great for baby's general health, alongside other nutritious food, cut the tomatoes into quarters to start with otherwise it runs the risk of choking.
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Tomatoes are naturally acidic, and some babies may be sensitive to acidic foods. The acidity in tomatoes could potentially cause discomfort or irritation in a baby's sensitive digestive system.  Tomatoes are also a common allergen so bear this in mind when considering food choices.

26. Soy Milk

Soya formula is made from soya beans and not cow's milk. Whilst it is used for babies over 6 months old, under medical supervision, who have an allergy to cow's milk, there are concerns that soy contains phytoestrogens which are found naturally in some plants.
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Soy milk is not nutritionally equivalent to breast milk or infant formula. Breast milk and formula are designed to provide the optimal balance of nutrients needed for a baby's growth and development. Soy milk may lack certain nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, that are essential for infants.

27. Chocolate

As much as your baby will almost snap your hand off if you offer him/her a little chocolate button, don't fall into this trap. Chocolate is loaded with caffeine and sugar and can affect your baby's sleep pattern. It's also not good for baby as they develop new teeth.
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Chocolate, especially in its sweetened and processed forms, can be high in sugar. Excessive sugar intake is not recommended for babies, as it can contribute to a variety of health issues, including tooth decay and the development of unhealthy eating habits.

28. Egg Whites

Egg whites can actually lead to dangerous symptoms in babies and young children. This is the reason why paediatricians advise parents not to feed their baby egg whites until they reach one year old. Egg yolks are safer as long as they are completely cooked right through.
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Egg whites are a common allergen. Allergic reactions to egg whites can range from mild symptoms such as hives or stomach upset to more severe reactions like difficulty breathing. For this reason, it's often recommended to introduce egg whites to babies cautiously.

29. Deep Fried Foods

Some moms like to share their own fried snacks or crispy samosas with their baby but this is not recommended. The fried foods are literally loaded with unhealthy fats, saturated fat and trans fat, none of which are healthy or good for anyone, including babies and young children.
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Fried foods are often calorically dense, meaning they provide a high number of calories without offering a proportionate amount of essential nutrients. Babies have relatively small stomachs, and it's important that the foods they consume are nutrient-dense to meet their nutritional needs.

30. Spicy Food

It is safe to introduce herbs and most mild spices as soon as the babies start to eat finger foods.  This is usually around between eight and ten months. Any earlier and baby could suffer with an upset stomach and tummy cramps. When they do try spices, make sure no sugar or salt is added to the food.
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Introduce new spices gradually and in small amounts. This allows the baby to adjust to different flavors without overwhelming their taste buds.  Start with milder spices, such as cinnamon, mild curry, or cumin, before introducing spicier options like chili or hot peppers.

31. The best foods you can give your baby instead: salmon

While fish with high mercury content is a no-no for your growing baby, salmon is a healthy and delicious choice. Because your baby's brains are still growing, it's important to give them at omega-3 fatty acid they're craving! Salmon is a great source of that.
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When introducing salmon to a baby's diet, it's crucial to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. It's also advisable to start with small, well-cooked portions and observe for any signs of allergies or sensitivities, as you would with many foods.

32. Peanut butter

While whole peanuts are a choking hazard, spreadable peanut butter that you can add to other things like bread or toast is a great idea for growing babies. It could actually give them more of a chance of developing peanut allergies when they're older if you begin feeding them peanut butter at an early age.
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Peanut butter is a good source of plant-based protein, which is important for the growth and development of babies. Adequate protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting the immune system.  Peanut butter also contains healthy fats.

33. Onions

You may not have thought of giving your baby onions because it sounds like such a grown up food to add to your recipes! But there's actually no downside to chopping up a few onions to mix with your baby's food. This can add a little more flavor to your baby's puree.
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Onions are a good source of certain nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and dietary fiber.  Onions contain antioxidants, such as quercetin, which may have health benefits, supporting digestive health and regulate bowel movements - certainly nothing to cry about!

34. Garlic

Garlic has a very strong flavor and has a lot of health benefits for adults (especially if eating raw), but it's also a great addition to baby food in the same way that onions can help to add a new taste. Garlic is very easy to chop up and add to any food you're making for your baby and give it some extra flavor!
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Garlic is rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin C and B vitamins) and minerals (such as iron, manganese, and selenium).  Some compounds in garlic have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for overall health.

35. Leeks

Leeks are just as healthy for your baby, too - even better, try to chop up onions, garlics and leeks all at once to mix them all together for a tastier meal for your little one! Leeks also have a very soft texture when they've been cooked so even better for your baby to eat.
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Leeks contain iron, an essential mineral for the formation of haemoglobin and the prevention of iron-deficiency anaemia. Introducing iron-rich foods is particularly important as a baby's iron stores from birth begin to diminish.  Leeks can be a nutritious addition to their diet.

36. Spinach

Spinach, as well as other leafy green vegetables, have a ton of health benefits, and it's also a perfect choice to add to your baby's food. The problem with foods like spinach can be the very earthy taste that might be off-putting to a baby at first, but it's always worth trying!
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Spinach is an absolute powerhouse of essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate) and minerals (such as iron, calcium, and magnesium).  Begin introducing solid foods, including vegetables like spinach, around 6 months of age.

37. Beef

If you're a meat-eating family and happy to have your baby try some meat, then beef is a good choice for when they're still growing. This is because beef is full of protein and zinc, both of which will be beneficial for your baby's food. You can serve beef on its own or mix in a puree with leafy green vegetables!
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Beef can be a nutritious and beneficial food for babies when introduced at an appropriate age and in an age-appropriate form.  Beef contains important nutrients such as zinc and B vitamins (including B12, B6, niacin, and riboflavin) so is extremely beneficial to babies and toddlers.

38. Whole grains

As an adult you might be tired of hearing of all the health benefits of whole grains compared to white stuff - but it's all worth paying attention to! Especially for your growing baby. You can feed your baby healthy whole grains, like certain breakfast cereals or brown rice, for more fiber!
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As babies transition to solid foods, the introduction of whole grains provides opportunities for them to practice chewing and develop oral motor skills. Age-appropriate textures contribute to the development of the baby's ability to handle a variety of food textures.

39. Butternut squash

It's always handy when you can find a healthy food that can also easily be mashed up to make it easier for your baby to eat and that's why butternut squash is a great choice. Mashed butternut squash is actually a popular baby food you may already know about, so definitely stock up on it!
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Butternut squash can be cooked by roasting, steaming, or boiling. Choose a cooking method that preserves its nutrients and suits your preferred baby food preparation.  gradually progress to more textured options as the baby develops chewing skills.

40. Lentils

Lentils are a good source of various essential nutrients, including iron, protein, fiber, folate, and potassium. These nutrients are crucial for the growth and development of babies.  Lentils are an excellent plant-based source of protein, essential for tissue and muscle develoment.
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Not only are lentils a fantastic source of iron - which is definitely what your growing baby needs - they're also an easy and versatile meal choice. They don't need cooking or soaking for ages, like beans, and you can easily add lentils to anything else you're making your baby, like with vegetables or purees.

41. Peaches

Peaches can be introduced to babies in various forms, such as purees, mashed, or finely chopped. They can also be added to baby cereals, yogurt, or incorporated into homemade baby food recipes.  The vitamin C content in peaches helps support the baby's immune system.
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It's important for your baby to eat healthy fruit and veg as they're growing and peaches can be a great choice for when your baby starts eating solids. That's because peaches that are very soft in texture are perfect for baby foods and if they're ripe, they'll have a taste your baby will (hopefully) enjoy!

42. Zucchini

Zucchini is not a common allergen, making it a safe option for introducing new vegetables to babies.  Zucchini has a high water content, contributing to hydration. Proper hydration is important for overall health and well-being, especially for young ones.
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Zucchini is also very healthy and it's also something that can easily be cooked and added to other different recipes, or blended. You should make sure to chop up the zucchini into small pieces and cook until it's become very soft - that way it's easy for your baby to eat and digest.

43. Lamb

Initially, offer lamb in a form that is suitable for the baby's developmental stage, such as finely minced or pureed. As the baby becomes more skilled at chewing, you can gradually increase the texture.  Lamb provides a complete amino acid profile, including essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
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As we said about beef, if you are a meat-eating family then meat for your baby is always a good choice for protein and lamb can also be a really good option if you'd prefer to get lamb instead of beef.  If your baby isn't taking to the taste of beef, they might like lamb's flavor instead!

44. Kale

Kale and spinach often come as a popular pair and they're both very beneficial in terms of being leafy green veg (for adults and babies!). The difference between, if you'd rather pick kale or spinach for your baby, is the vitamins you'd get. Kale can be a good option if you want more calcium for your baby, while spinach is rich in other vitamins.
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Kale and spinach are packed with essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. These nutrients are crucial for the baby's growth, bone development, immune system function, and overall health. Both kale and spinach are good sources of iron, which is important for preventing iron-deficiency anaemia in infants

45. Oats

When your baby is ready to eat solid foods, oats and porridge is such a good choice because of how soft the texture is for them. Not only that, it only takes a few minutes to make so it's easy for those busy parents not wanting to cook anything too complicated!
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Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, promoting healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. The fiber content can help prevent constipation, a common concern in babies transitioning to solid foods. Oats are a whole grain, providing complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly.

46. Beets

Beets can be prepared in various ways, including steaming, boiling, or roasting. They can be pureed, mashed, or served in small, soft pieces, providing different textures for babies as they explore solid foods.  The vibrant color of beets adds visual appeal to baby food.
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Beets are another source of nutrients for growing babies, and specifically fiber which is great for keeping their developing digestive system working the way it should! Beets are also full of nutrients which are needed for a baby's development at a young age, so you'll definitely want to give this one a go.

47. Basil

Basil contains coumarin, a natural compound that can act as a blood thinner. While the levels in basil are generally considered safe in culinary amounts, excessive consumption may pose a risk. It's advisable to offer basil in moderation.  If you're not growing your own basil, consider the source of the herb which may have pesticide residues.
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Basil is a delicious herb that your baby might enjoy, too. It's easily bought, or you can even grow your own, and you can then add it to any other meal you've made, or even add some basil leaves to a blender if you're making a puree for your baby. Basil can make your baby enjoy food which may otherwise taste bland!

48. Other herbs!

When introducing herbs to babies, it's recommended to do so gradually and one at a time. This allows parents to monitor for any potential allergic reactions or sensitivities and helps babies adapt to new flavors. It's important to note that while many herbs are safe for babies, some should be used more cautiously.
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The same goes for any other herbs, really! All herbs are going to add something a little different to the flavor of baby food that might otherwise be bland, especially if your baby seems to be growing bored of the same flavors. You can easily add herbs to anything and it's even better if you're already growing your own.

49. Pumpkin

When your baby is ready to eat solids, pumpkin is another great choice! Pumpkin can be the same texture as butternut squash, and roasted or cooked in a similar way, so that you have a soft and nutritious meal. Pumpkin has a high amount of vitamin A, which will benefit your baby's eyesight and immune system development.
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Furthermore, the natural sweetness of pumpkin can make it an appealing option for babies, introducing them to diverse flavors early on. Pureed pumpkin can be mixed with other baby-friendly foods, such as apples or carrots, to create a delicious blend.

50. Some cheeses

There are certain cheeses that you shouldn't feed your baby like we mentioned earlier, but that doesn't mean you should shy away from cheese altogether! Once your baby is eating solids from around 6 months old, they can eat full-fat cheeses like mild cheddar.
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It's important to introduce cheeses one at a time and in small portions to monitor any potential allergies or sensitivities. Soft cheeses like brie or blue cheese, as well as unpasteurized varieties, should be avoided in the early stages due to the risk of harmful bacteria.