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12 Infant Nutrition Do's & Don'ts

Learn twelve infant nutrition do's and don'ts from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.


All babies are either drinking breast milk or infant formula exclusively until four months of age. We do not recommend starting solid foods before four months of age. Ideally, a breastfed infant will not start solid foods until six months of age. Some formula fed babies do start cereals at four months of age. We recommend starting with a rice cereal and then trying an oatmeal cereal and then the baby can progress to fruits and vegetables.

There's not many do's and don'ts. Babies can have most fruits and vegetables. At six months infants who are breastfed usually start eating solids, so their solid schedule's a little bit delayed compared to a formula fed baby, but they're doing the same pattern.

We recommend fruits and vegetables, Stage One's, that are blended. If you make it at home it has to be very soupy and blended.

At six months of age babies can also do blended meats, depending on the parents. So you can do beef, chicken, turkey, veal, lamb. Those are all very hypoallergenic foods as long as they're blended and mashed for the baby. We do not recommend giving fish to babies at this age because there can be bones in the fish, and also fish is a more allergic food, so I like to start a light flaky fish around nine months of age, and it has to be very mashed to make sure that there's no bones in the fish.

Babies cannot have honey until age one. Babies cannot have any kind of peanut or choking nut until age three because they can swallow it whole and aspirate it into their lung.

There's a very large range of literature regarding food allergies in babies. So some pediatricians say, “Just give the baby everything. Eggs, milk products, like yogurt and cheese.” From six months there's no studies that show that delaying these foods will prevent food allergies. And some pediatricians still like to stage the introduction of more allergic foods, like yogurts and cheeses, till nine months of age, and start eggs after nine months of age.

Some pediatricians recommend separating, and giving the egg yolk first at nine months, and then a week later try the egg white and once you know your baby's not allergic to the egg white and the egg yolk, then you can give the whole egg altogether.

Some pediatricians don't like to introduce peanut or nut flavor until after one or two years. I personally, if you don't have a family history of food allergies, I don't mind starting nut flavoring before one year of age, as long as there's no nuts in the food. If I see a baby's had signs of atopic dermatitis, which is eczema or rashes, or been a sensitive child, I might individually design a food schedule for that family to delay highly allergic foods to be introduced later on.

Every pediatrician is different. Every family is different. Every culture is different, so it's really important to discuss this with your pediatrician and find out what the best pattern is for your child.

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