Starting solids is a fun time for parents. It is important to remember these tips to reduce the likelihood of food contamination, choking and other hazards that are now possible at this stage.
To reduce the likelihood of food contamination and food-related illness:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before feeding your baby. Be sure to wash your child's hands also before eating.
- Wash the top of jars or cans before opening.
- Do not feed your baby directly from the baby food jar unless you are discarding the jar after the feeding.
- Do not save uneaten food from your baby’s plate. Bacteria from your baby's saliva can multiple rapidly.
- Store unused baby food in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Foods containing meats or eggs should be used within 24 hours.
- Do not give an infant under 1 year of age honey. Honey is not pasteurized and has been associated with infant botulism when given to children under the age of one.
Making homemade baby food? Be sure to review "Homemade Baby Food Safety Tips"
To avoid injury:
- Do not microwave bottles or jar baby food because the microwave can cause uneven heating. If using a microwave, use the defrost setting and test the food to ensure temperature safety.
- Supervise your child while he is eating. Do not leave your child unattended in a high chair or other elevated surfaces and always use safety harnesses.
- Feed your child only when he/she is sitting down.
Avoid food choking hazards such as:
- Fruits with seeds (i.e. cherries)
- Hard candy
- Hard meat
- Hot dogs when sliced into circles
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Potato chips
- Whole grapes
Take a CPR and choking course.
Avoid exposure to harmful toxins:
Avoid fish high in methyl mercury (a known neurotoxin):
- King mackerel
- Avoid giving more than 6 ounces of canned tuna per week
- Use BPA-free containers such as sippy cups, dishes, utensils, storage containers, bottles and any other children's item. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a known hormone disruptor which mimics the hormone estrogen and can cause reproductive and neurological harm and is associated with an increase risk for cancer. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics (marked with recycling #3 and #7) and epoxy-resin in the lining of cans.
Reduce exposure to lead by:
- Storing food in appropriate storage containers (i.e. BPA-free plastic containers or glass).
- Avoid using imported canned foods which may contain lead.
- Avoid using imported dishware, lead crystal or antique decorative dishware.
Babies 411 Recommended Baby Food Products
|C.O.O.K. - Check Your Steps|
Environmental Working Group. Toxic Plastics Chemical in Infant Formula: Risks at low doses
FDA (2004). What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
USDA (2002). Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST