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What foods to avoid when feeding your baby

Salt

Babies up to 6 months old should have less than 1g salt a day. From 7 months to a year old they should have a maximum of 1g salt a day.

If you're breastfeeding, your baby will be getting the right amount of salt. And infant formula contains a similar amount of salt to breast milk.When you start introducing solid foods:

  • Don't add salt to any foods you give to babies because their kidneys can't cope with it. The baby foods you'll find on sale aren't allowed to contain salt.
  • Limit processed foods that are high in salt, such as cheese, bacon and sausages.
  • Avoid any processed foods that aren't specifically for babies such as pasta sauces and breakfast cereals, because these can be high in salt.

Sugar or foods containing sugar

Avoid adding sugar to the food or drinks you give your baby. Sugar could encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay when your baby's first teeth start to come through.

Honey

Don't give honey to your baby until he or she is a year old. Very occasionally, this can cause serious illness (infant botulism).

Other foods to avoid up to six months

There are also certain foods that can cause an allergic reaction in some babies. So it's a good idea not to give your baby any of these foods before he or she is six months old:

  • Wheat-based foods and other foods containing gluten - including bread, wheat flour, breakfast cereals and rusks.
  • Nuts and seeds - including peanuts, peanut butter and other nut spreads. Peanuts can be given from six months old, if you always crush or flake them. Don't give whole peanuts or any type of whole nuts to children under five years old because they could cause choking.
  • Eggs
  • Fish and shellfish

Nut allergy

Some people are allergic to nuts or seeds. Peanut allergy appears to be increasing among children, although it's still uncommon. The children who face the highest risk of nut allergy are those with parents, brothers or sisters who suffer from certain allergic conditions, such as asthma, eczema, or hayfever.

If your baby is in this higher-risk group, it would be sensible to:

  • avoid eating peanuts or peanut products when you're breastfeeding
  • avoid giving peanuts, foods containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) or unrefined cold-pressed groundnut (peanut) oil, until the child is at least three years old
  • always read ingredients lists carefully and, if you're in doubt, avoid the product