One of the biggest worries when you start to wean your baby onto solid foods is what they can and can’t eat. You go to a friend’s house and get chatting, they ask you to stay for lunch and offer something for the baby. But is it safe for them to eat? The short answer is yes, probably.
If your baby is over six months old, and has no history of allergies, there are very few things they really can’t eat.
Honey can carry a bacteria that leads to infant botulism. Pasturised honey is fine but it’s best to avoid the standard jar until your baby is at least a year old.
Nobody really needs sugar and the longer you avoid it the better really, develop your baby’s taste for more savoury foods instead. A little bit wont actually do them too much harm though.
Again, large quantities of salt aren’t good for anyone and since babies are only little it is harder for them to process it. A little bit, in cheese or ham for example, isn’t a problem occasionally but avoid salt in cooking and hold off on the marmite for now.
Eggs can carry salmonella, which you obviously want to avoid. Make sure they are well cooked and they wont be a problem. Any jar of mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce that can be kept on a shelf before opening, instead of the fridge, has been treated and is also safe. If you do want to make a runny boiled egg or creamy scrambled eggs stick to bought eggs with a lion mark and make sure the white is completely cooked.
Shark, swordfish and marlin
You have unusual friends if you get offered any of these for lunch! They all have high levels of mercury so it’s best to avoid them.
What about allergies?
For years we have been told to avoid various things in fear that giving them too soon will increase the risk of your child developing an allergy. In fact research now shows the opposite to be the case! Delaying introducing foods after the first six months is more likely to increase the risk. Of course if you have a family history of allergies or if your baby has eczema or you have another reason to suspect they may have problems do talk to your doctor or dietician. For the majority though, a little bit of everything is the best approach.
Textures and choking
Generally if a baby can sit up straight (not reclined) they are safe to eat most things. Avoid very hard foods that are difficult to chew or anything sticky or claggy, and have a look at my blog post 6 Things You Should Know About Babies and Choking.
If you are a bit nervous about weaning, why not take a look at my “First Foods” course? It is absolutely packed with information on everything from what age to start to avoiding fussy eating and is perfect whether you plan to use baby led weaning, purees or a mixture of the two.