A Wonderful World of Finger FoodsAllison Hutton
As you tiny newborn begins to grow, so will her appetite and desire to try new, more exciting things. Among these things are foods.
It is important to know what foods are good for baby, and at what time will she be ready to try them. I tried following books, but found that my judgment best guided what I let her try. It should be said, however, that there are a few things baby should avoid until she's a bit older.
Honey should not be given to children under three years of age. It is possible for a child to become violently ill because of the intake of even a small amount of honey, which may harbor a bacterium adults are immune to. Many physicians also recommend that pregnant women stay away from honey, as well. From my understanding, the most harm can occur from the ingestion of actual honey, say, from a spoon. Eating something such as Honey Nut Cheerios would not present a problem.
Egg whites should be avoided for the first year of life. Because the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is cultured on egg whites, most doctors will ask that you refrain from giving baby egg whites until after their first MMR vaccination. If an allergy is developed before the vaccine, it makes for a difficult time immunizing baby.
As tasty as it is, peanut butter, and peanut products should also be avoided in very young children. Young children have more of a tendency to develop an allergy to peanut oil. This allergy can act very quickly, causing swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.
It is important to begin new foods properly. Do not offer several new foods at once. If you are going to give baby some banana, keep it simple, and watch for any type of allergic reaction over the next few days. Once you are confident that baby handled her new food fine, you may move on to the next. Be sure to give baby small bites, and ensure that the food is soft enough for baby to "gum."
Again, you may want to refer to books, or your child's pediatrician for recommended finger foods. However, I found the following to work wonderfully for our daughter.
Cheese (small, thin pieces of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, and American.) Mashed potatoes-not what you'd "consider" a finger-food, but babies love to squish them between their fingers! Pieces of toast or bagel Waffles Green Beans Fruit-mango, pineapple, banana Cheerios-These are her all-time favorite, and she still eats them for breakfast every morning!Crackers seemed to soothe her gums when she was teething, as did a frozen bagel
Always remember to watch baby closely when eating. Choking can occur quickly and easily. If you haven't already, attend an infant/child CPR class. As your baby grows, you will become much more liberal in allowing her to try new things. Be careful not to introduce unnecessary sweets and junk food into your child's life. You will find that fruits can offer the same sweetness as many not-so-healthy foods out there. Use good judgment, common sense, and a keen eye, and you will do just fine!Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.
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