Foods to Avoid
80% of food allergies are caused by the following foods:
- Cow's Milk
- Tree nuts (e.g. walnut)
If your baby is at high risk for food allergies, for example one of his parents has a food allergy, delay the introduction of these foods until baby is one year old. For the rest of us, we recommend that you wait until at least 8 months old before you introduce any of these foods. Your baby's digestive system needs to be mature enough to handle these foods to decrease the risk of a food allergy. If you are concerned about food allergies, introduce new a new food and then wait 2-3 days before introducing another one. Finally, if your baby drinks formula then he has already had the potential cow's milk allergen and there is no need to worry about milk allergies.
BabyFood101's e-mails are designed to ensure that you don't give an inappropriate food too early to your baby. In addition, we suggest you introduce just one food at a time so that you are aware of which food may be causing problems for your child. We have organized our suggested food for the week in age order to help you introduce the right foods at the recommended age for that food.
How to diagnose a food allergy
The most common food allergy symptoms are:
- sores around the mouth
- trouble breathing
- severe diaper rash
- gastrointestinal distress (bloating, gas)
It may take up to 2 hours for symptoms to present themselves, and the symptoms may be so mild that it is hard to tell if it is related to the food you gave your baby. If you think your baby is having a serious allergic reaction call your doctor. We suggest you keep a version of children's Benadryl in your medicine cabinet. Call your doctor to ensure the correct dose for your baby.
Some foods may cause a rash around your baby's mouth just because of a high acid content. While not harmful to your baby, it may make him a little uncomfortable. These foods include:
- citrus (oranges, tangerines, lemons)
- tomatoes (including sauces)
If your baby gets a rash from these foods, just wait a few days and the rash will disappear. It would be best to wait until baby is one year old before eating these foods.
There is a lot of fear around choking for many parents. Our first suggestion is to take an infant CPR class before your baby starts to crawl to become confident of handling a potentially life threatening incident. Secondly, ALWAYS be in the room while your baby is eating so you can monitor his/her swallowing. Finally avoid these foods:
- cherries with pits
- whole olives
- potato chips
- small hard candy
- whole grapes
- fruits that are under ripe, dried, or unpeeled
- raw or undercooked pieces of vegetables
- large pieces of hot dogs or other meat
- nut butter that is eaten with a spoon or spread thickly
In essence, you want to avoid anything that is small and hard enough to get lodged in baby's throat.
Specific Foods to Avoid
Do not feed your baby the egg white until he/she is at least 12 months old because of a high percentage of allergies to a protein found in egg white. You can serve your baby egg yolk beginning at 7 months old.
Do not give potential high mercury or high PCB concentration fish to your baby. These fish include:
- Striped bass (wild)
- Croaker, white
- Eel (American or European)
- Sturgeon (wild imported)
- Tuna (bluefin)
- Mackerel, king
So what fish is safe to give your baby? Below is a list of safe fish that you can consume more than 4 times per month after 8 months old:
- Haddock (trawl)
- Herring, Atlantic
- Mackerel, Atlantic
- Salmon, wild (Alaska)
- Tilapia (Latin America and U. S.)
- Trout, rainbow (farmed)
There is a great summary page cited below for which fish are safe for both baby and adult to eat from the environmental defense fund. Check for your favorites there.
Wait until your baby is one year old. Honey can have botulism spores that can produce life-threatening toxins in your baby's intestinal tract. Since we discourage sweeteners for your baby food, this should be an easy one to avoid.
High Nitrate Vegetables
The concerns about nitrates are very specific. If you are not making your own baby food then you don't have to read further because baby food jars are tested for nitrate levels. For the industrious among you, it is important to avoid making high nitrite vegetables for your young baby (less than 6 months old). Too much nitrates can cause a fatal blood disorder in very young babies. In the e-mails that you receive from BabyFood101, the only food of concern is carrots which we suggest you introduce after 6 months old anyway. High nitrite vegetables include: spinach, beets, carrots, turnips, turnip greens, and collard greens.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Epoxy resins are sometimes used as interior liners in food packaging. Polycarbonate plastics are frequently used because they are clear and almost shatterproof. These plastics are used in sports bottles, baby bottles, and many other common household items. BPA has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor. This means that BPA, after it has leached into food or drink, has been found in animal studies to mimic hormones in the endocrine system. There is a seven class system for plastics in the United States. Polycarbonate plastics fall into the “Other” category and have a recycling label 7 on the bottom. However, because #7 labeling is the “other” category, not all plastics marked #7 contain BPA. The only true way to know if a #7 vitem contains BPA is to get the information from the manufacturer.
What does this mean for parents?
The good news is that many baby product manufacturers do not use BPA in their feeding products because of BPA concerns. In addition both Glad and Ziploc do not use it in their plastic storage containers. If it doesn't have a #7 on the bottom of the container there is no cause for alarm, and now many baby product manufacturers are adding a "BPA Free" label to their products. We have included below a summary of the latest opinions on BPA from the U.S. Government. Basically, there is a consensus that more data is needed to make a recommendation regarding BPA, and hopefully, they are doing this research.
The Food and Drug Administration Opinion:
"Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available.
At this time, FDA is not recommending that anyone discontinue using products that contain BPA while we continue our risk assessment process. However, concerned consumers should know that several alternatives to polycarbonate baby bottles exist, including glass baby bottles."
Source: Food and Drug Administration. 14 April. 2008. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. 29 April. 2008.
National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health Opinion:
"Although there is no direct evidence that exposure of people to bisphenol A adversely affects reproduction or development, studies with laboratory rodents show that exposure to high dose levels of bisphenol A during pregnancy and/or lactation can reduce survival, birth weight, and growth of offspring early in life, and delay the onset of puberty in males and females. Recognizing the lack of data on the effects of bisphenol A in humans and despite the limitations in the evidence for "low" dose effects in laboratory animals, the possibility that bisphenol A may impact human development cannot be dismissed. More research is needed."
Source: National Institutes of Health, National Toxicology Program. 14 April. 2008. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. 29 April. 2008.
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The information on this site is not a substitute for your pediatrician's advice As with any health concern, please consult your pediatrician regarding your specific child. BabyFood101 recognizes that there are many differing opinions on the subject matter we cover. This information is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or for your own opinions. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition