Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
As a holiday filled with food and family, Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to introduce your baby to various tastes and textures.
Transitioning to solid foods is exciting, but potentially challenging with a wide variety of dishes. Before carving the turkey, learn the ingredients to watch for at Thanksgiving for your child under age 1.
Hidden Ingredients to Be Careful About This Thanksgiving For Children Under 1
For parents utilizing baby-led weaning, it’s essential to remain educated on potentially harmful foods and common allergy-inducing ingredients. In fact, 4 out of every 100 children have a food allergy. Additionally, certain foods pose a high risk to children under the age of 1 since their bodies are still developing.
Let’s break down 5 ingredients to watch out for this Thanksgiving as your baby transitions from breast milk or formula to solid foods.
1. Cow’s Milk
A child younger than age 1 should never drink cow’s milk. Their digestive systems are not fully developed, which may lead to potential intestinal bleeding. It’s tough for your baby to digest the protein and fat.
It’s important to stick with formula or breast milk until their first birthday. This turkey day, avoid giving your baby a glass of cow’s milk, ice cream, or other milk-based dishes. However, foods including small amounts of milk are appropriate.
Along with cow’s milk, avoid giving honey to a child under age 1 due to potential bacteria-producing toxins. This could lead to botulism, a rare but serious condition that causes paralysis.
Thanksgiving dishes that may include honey are yams, carrots, and several different types of desserts.
Good news– you can begin introducing eggs to your child at six months of age! Eggs are one of the most common allergies along with milk, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans according to the Food and Drug Administration.
It’s important to know the symptoms of an allergic reaction for your baby. Symptoms include, but are not limited to– sneezing, flushed skin or rash, hives, swelling of the throat, tingling in the mouth, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face. Be on the lookout for these symptoms as traditional stuffing commonly includes eggs.
Another common food allergy is peanuts. At six months of age, you can begin introducing smashed or ground peanuts to children. However, never give a child a whole peanut until age 5 due to choking hazards.
Typical Thanksgiving dishes hiding peanuts are desserts including chocolate pies and cookies. The most serious allergic reaction is anaphylaxis or when the entire body responds to an allergy. This could lead to swelling of the throat, blue lips, pale skin, and impaired breathing. If this occurs, seek emergency medical attention.
As previously mentioned, 90% of allergic reactions are caused by 8 different ingredients including shellfish. This can sneak into different Thanksgiving dishes such as dips or even stuffing. You may introduce these foods to your child as early as six months of age, but again, it’s important to look for symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Additional Thanksgiving Meal Tips for Your Baby
- Look for developmental signs that your infant is ready to move from formula or breast milk to solid foods such as sitting upright and picking up food to bring to their mouths.
- Be sure to remove the skin from the turkey before offering it to your baby.
- All foods should be mashed or cut up into tiny pieces.
- Cut pieces of food into short strips rather than round bites that could get lodged into a child’s throat.
Don’t hesitate to bring your baby right up to the Thanksgiving table with their high-chair! They can join right into the family-bonding time.
As you prepare for this holiday season, remain alert to potentially hazardous ingredients in your Thanksgiving meal.
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As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.