What to avoid your baby

* Citrus and berry fruits
* Soft cooked eggs
* Soft ripened cheeses
* Nuts (including peanut butter)
* Salt
* Sugar
* Strong spices

Avoid low-fat or fat-reduced dairy foods. These aren’t harmful to your baby, but they don’t pack in as much suitable nutrition. Babies need calorie-dense foods, and they benefit from the fat-soluble vitamins present in whole yoghurt, full-fat cheeses and other products.

Remember: the advice to choose low-fat foods is directed at adults - not babies and young children.

Choose unsweetened foods as far as you can for your baby, as relying on sugary foods can encourage his natural preference for sweet foods. Too much sugar can damage your baby’s delicate emerging teeth and may be bad for his long-term dental health.

The healthiest drinks for babies are water, milk (formula or breast, see above), or very dilute pure fruit juice (one part juice to five parts water). Offer well-diluted juice with meals as it aids iron absorption and is a valuable source of vitamin C.

Fruit juice needs to be diluted because the acid in the juice can erode the enamel on the teeth. Give juice with, or after, meals when the protective saliva in your baby’s mouth will help restrict decay. Never give juice in a bottle, as the slow sucking will ensure that your baby’s teeth are bathed in sugar for long periods, leading to decay. Babies of five months and over can start learning to use a spouted cup.

Avoid squashes and other drinks with added sugar altogether, as they are particularly bad for your baby’s teeth.
Different textures

By seven months most babies are capable of tolerating lumps and different textures, and it’s a good idea to begin to offer them food that is less smooth. That way your baby gets used to the feel of normal, family food and it helps his tongue and mouth develop. This is also important for later speech development.

Instead of sieving food, simply mash it and gradually reduce the amount of milk or water you add to it, so the puree becomes thicker.

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