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5 no-go foods for babies

The basic advice when you're starting solids is to take it slow and steady: introduce foods one at a time, at intervals around three or four days, so you can keep track if your baby has an adverse reaction to a new food.

And while the advice used to be to hold back offering foods known to prompt an allergic reaction (things like nuts and fish), the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) now recommends you don't delay the introduction of those foods.

That said, there are still a handful of foods which are definitely on the no-go list for babies, at least until they grow up a bit and get better at chewing, swallowing and digesting their food.

1.  Honey

It's uncommon, but sometimes honey contains spores of a bacteria calledClostridium botulinumwhich can cause botulism. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that can be very dangerous to babies, even fatal. Symptoms include poor feeding, listlessness or floppiness, breathing difficulties and constipation, and can come on somewhere between eight to 36 hours of a baby consuming honey.

2.  Cow's milk

Breastmilk and high-quality infant formulas contain a nourishing blend of fatty acids, vitamins and enzymes that are a perfect match for the nutritional needs of babies in those early months. Cow's milk does not have the same nutritional make-up - it has less iron, more salt and its protein is harder to digest. In short, cow's milk can't be used as a substitute for breastmilk or formula in young babies. There's no problem using a bit of cow's milk when you're mixing up some infant cereal or preparing foods such as custards for your baby. However, wait until your baby is at least 12 months old before phasing out the breastmilk or formula and moving on to cow's milk as a regular drink.

3.  Juice and soft drinks

Sweet drinks, including fruit juices, have little or no nutritional benefits for babies. Their high sugar levels can cause a lot of damage to emerging teeth. Drinking juice can also fill up a baby and mean they can't fit in a feed of more nutritious breastmilk or formula, or healthy solid foods.

4.  Raw eggs

Cooking with eggs isn't a problem so feel free to serve up things such as omelettes or scrambled eggs to older babies. The danger zone is raw egg as it may contain the salmonella bacteria which can lead to food poisoning. Make sure all egg meals are cooked through. Avoid dishes that contain raw egg, such as homemade mayonnaise. And be careful that older babies don't lick the spoon when you've been cooking with eggs.

5.  Choking hazards

Little pieces of food that are small or slippery enough to be swallowed whole, but tough or dry enough to lodge in your baby's airway are a choking hazard. Whole grapes, whole baby tomatoes, whole olives, whole raw peas, whole nuts, popcorn, chunks of raw fruits or vegetables, corn kernels and raisins and sultanas should be avoided until a child can chew properly, usually around age three.

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