If you eat a mostly varied, healthy diet, you can share almost everything you eat with your baby. BLW isn’t about special baby food – it’s about babies learning to eat real, family foods. However there are some things you might eat which aren’t suitable for babies:
- Salty foods. Babies have immature kidneys and there have been cases of babies becoming seriously ill or even dying when given to much salt. Adults are recommended to stick to 6g salt a day (with many of us struggling to stick to this) so consider how little the 1g a day limit for babies really is. Avoid processed foods, ready meals and salty sauces; and never add salt to food you’re going to give to your baby (you can salt your own portion after dishing up baby’s, if you like).
- Honey is a big no-no for babies under one as it can be the source of the rare but potentially deadly infection botulism.
- Some exotic fish. Shark, swordfish and marlin aren’t suitable for babies (or indeed even older children) due to high levels of mercury. Keep other oily fish (except tinned tuna, which has less toxins) to a maximum of two servings a week for girls and four for boys.
- The advice on raw or lightly cooked eggs is mixed – most sources say to avoid undercooked eggs but a news report recently came out that the guidance in the UK is changing and that raw or lightly cooked eggs are no longer considered a risk. I still cook all eggs thoroughly for Eli as I keep my own hens – while I feel they’re healthy, they aren’t subject to the same checks as commercial hens.
- Quorn – wait until your baby is at least 9 months to introduce this. It’s very low in fat and calories for how filling it is, so it may stop your baby wanting to eat as much of other, more nutritious foods.
- Bran and high-fibre foods can have the same effect of filling your baby up and can interfere with how some nutrients are absorbed by your baby’s body, so don’t give these too often. You can offer wholegrain options like pasta and bread but it’s best not to make these the only source of starch for your baby.
- Processed foods, additives, hydrogenated fats etc – you know these aren’t healthy already, right? I would try and limit anything junky as much as possible. Stick to good, home cooked options and whole foods.
- Sugar – it’s a personal choice but there are a few reasons not to allow your baby to have too much added sugar. If you baby has teeth, sugar is bad for them. Sweet foods generally have little in the way of nutrition and eating too much sugar now could set up a lifetime habit of sweet snacking – putting your baby at risk of obesity and other health problems. I personally avoid artificial sweeteners for Eli too. There’s plenty of research emerging to show that these aren’t as healthy an option as previously thought.