HONEY: Babies under a year shouldn’t have honey because of the risk of a rare type of food poisoning that they’re susceptible to at this age. Try mashed banana as a naturally sweet spread for toast, or add pureed strawberries or stewed fruit to unsweetened yoghurt, daliya or kheer.
FRIED SNACKS: Deep-fried pakodas, tikkis, samosas, cutlets and chips contain a lot of saturated fat. Too many of them will fill your baby up and leave less room for higher-energy foods. Try mashed potato, boiled potato aloo chaat, steamed corn chaat.
FAST FOOD: Burgers, take-away pizzas and chaat are high in salt and sugar, not to mention saturated fat, and aren’t suitable for babies.
WHOLE NUTS: Children under five shouldn’t eat whole nuts because of the risk of choking. However, nuts can be a useful weaning food as peanut butter, or if cut into very small pieces. Just ask your doctor before you offer your baby peanuts if you have a family history of allergies. Try baked soya snacks or hummus dip with breadsticks.
READY MEAL: Ready meals, packed thalis, instant noodles, heat-and-eat foods and other convenience foods are for adults, and tend to be high in salt and fat. Even varieties of fish may contain high levels of mercury, so aren’t safe for babies to eat.
DEEP FRIED MITHAIS: Jalebis, imarti, gulab jamuns and ghevar are deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup. These kinds of sweets are very high in calories and fat and will fill your baby’s tummy without providing nutrients. Sometimes food colouring is also used. These are best avoided all together for babies under a year old. You can give fruit yoghurt or kheer, fruits or homemade halwa with less sugar and ghee.
CAKE, PASTRIES AND DONUTS: Iced cakes, pastries and doughnuts are low in nutrients and high in sugar and saturated fat, which may make your baby overweight if he eats them regularly, as well as damage his developing teeth.Try to keep these treats for special occasions only. Just give mashed banana, rice cakes, homemade kheer or halwa, breadsticks or sugar-free rusks.
SWEETS, CHOCOLATES AND TOFFEES: Loaded with sugar, which attacks babies’ tooth enamel. Chewy toffees and jelly based sweets are the worst of the bunch, as they stick to teeth. Lollypops prolong exposure to sugars as the child sucks on them. Hard sweets also carry a risk of choking. If your baby does eat a sweet, make sure he has a piece of cheese or some milk to follow, to help neutralise the sugars. Cut fresh fruit, go down well and also contain vitamins and minerals. Puree or mash fruit for a young baby, or cut into small chunks for an older baby. Always stay near to your baby while he’s eating.
TEA, COFFEE AND AERATED DRINKS: Any caffeinated drink is unsuitable for your baby. Also, the tannin in tea may prevent him from absorbing the iron in his food properly. Aerated drinks can damage your baby’s emerging teeth. As well as high levels of sugar and artificial sweeteners, some also contain caffeine, which can build up in babies’ bodies, causing them to be wakeful, restless or irritable. These drinks contain none of the nutrients that your baby needs. You can give you baby water and breastmilk or formula milk are the best drinks for your baby until he’s a year old. After that, he can have full-fat cow’s milk as a main drink, or you can carry on breastfeeding.
IF YOU ARE WORRIED WHAT YOUR BABY SHOULD HAVE …DO READ: Food for babies!