Baby Food Do's and Don'ts

DO'S

Do use ice cube trays to freeze pureed foods. Each cube should be about one ounce. Once frozen, pop out the cubes, store in a sealed plastic bag, and use within two months.

Do discard unfinished meals. Bacteria forms quickly.

Do introduce new foods at the rate of one per week, so you can pinpoint any allergies.

Do make sure your child has accepted most vegetables and fruits before trying any meats.

Do steam or microwave vegetables and fruits to retain as much vitamins and minerals as possible, as opposed to boiling.

Do use as thinners: water left from steaming, breast milk, formula, cow's milk, yogurt, broth, or apple juice.

Do use as thickeners: wheat germ, whole-grain cereal, cottage cheese, farmer cheese, cooked egg yolks, yogurt, mashed white or sweet potato.

DON'TS

Don't feed nuts, raisins, popcorn, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruits, or peanut butter to children under the age of 2.

Don't give honey to children under the age of one year due to potential contraction of infant botulism.

Don't give beets, spinach, collards or turnip greens to babies under one year of age due to high concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which can reduce the baby's hemoglobin.

Don't add salt, sugar, or strong spices to homemade baby foods. If you are using part of the family meal for the infant, remove the infant's portion before seasoning food for the family.

Don't use cookies as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Don't use canned vegetables as they are usually loaded with sodium and additives. Check labels, but usually frozen vegetables have little or no sodium.

Don't use a microwave to warm foods. Even well-stirred foods could have dangerous hot spots. If you do, use the defrost cycle, checking and stirring often. Always test the temperature by touching a spoonful to the outside of your upper lip. Be sure to wash the spoon before using.

Don't put diluted foods into a bottle with a larger hole in the nipple for night feedings. It's dangerous, bad for the teeth, and doesn't build good eating habits.

Don't give highly acidic fruits, such as oranges, tangerines and pineapples, to babies under one year as the acid is harsh on the immature digestive system.

Don't feed egg whites to babies under one year of age, due to potential allergic reaction. Cooked egg yolks are fine.

Don't force feed your child. To begin solids foods, start with one or two spoonsful and let your baby guide you.

Don't limit your child's fat intake during the first two years. Fats are necessary to development.