This foods baby’s should avoid article is based on advice from the NHS
Babies should avoid eating salt as it is harmful to their kidneys. Do not add any salt to your baby’s food and don’t use gravy as it is high in salt. Do remember this if you’re cooking for the family and you also plan to give the same food to baby.
Babies don’t need any sugar. Avoid all sugary snacks and drinks, and you’ll help to stop tooth decay. Instead if you need to sweeten baby’s food, use mashed banana, or breast milk if necessary.
Sometimes, honey can contain bacteria which produces toxins inside a baby’s intestines, which can lead to baby botulism, which can also be a very serious illness. Try not to give baby any honey until they’re at least one year old. Remember honey is a sugar, and can cause tooth decay.
Most whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn’t be given to baby’s or children under five as they can choke on them. But as long as there is no food allergy history in your family, you can give baby peanuts after they’re six months old, but only if they’re crushed or ground into peanut butter.
Don’t give your baby or child too many foods that are high in fat such as chips, cheap burgers, cake and chocolate.
Shark, swordfish and marlin
Most definitely do not give your baby shark, swordfish or marlin. These fish can have a large amount of mercury in them, which can affect a baby’s young developing nervous system.
Do not give raw shellfish to babies as it can increase the risk of food poisoning.
Raw and undercooked eggs
Cooked eggs can be given to babies over six months old, but make sure they’re well cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.
For more information on foods baby’s should avoid see the NHS website
Baby Sleep Safety
Newborn babies shouldn’t be expected to sleep through the night from day one. They have tiny tummies that digest milk very quickly and if babies didn’t wake up when they needed feeding they would fail to get the level of nourishment required.
But there are some things you can do to help ensure a safe night’s sleep for your newborn. The Numours Foundation offers the following tips:
- You should never let a newborn baby sleep with plush bedding, blankets or pillows.
- You should put baby to sleep on her back to reduce the risk of cot death (sudden infant death syndrome).
- You should remove stuffed toys from the crib at bedtime.
- Every night you should alternate the side of baby’s head that she sleeps on. This prevents development of a ‘flat spot’ on a favoured side of the head.
Want to Learn more?
Check out our category on SIDS (on the left hand side of the page) because this contains a wealth of safety information for new parents.
A new study has found that more than half of the occurrences of Cot Death happen when the baby is sharing a bed with his or her parent
The research from Bristol and Warwick University claims the safest place for baby to sleep for the first six months is in a cot next to the parent’s bed. We completely agree with this statement and it is something we have been recommending to parents since the start of this blog over a year ago.
However, when the tabloids published this story they did not go into enough detail. On closer inspection of the study it is apparent that the extremely high correlation between cot death and co sleeping was observed in a high-risk group. This high-risk group consisted of young, socially-deprived mothers who smoked and many of whom had taken alcohol or drugs at the time of the tragic cot death. In the group studied, there were also many cases where the mother had fallen asleep on the sofa with her baby.
Sleeping bags for babies (also known as Grobags) are becoming an increasingly popular choice for new parents everywhere. I think I’m right in saying that the large majority of parents, however, still prefer to buy cotton sheets and cotton cellular blankets for their newborn. This is because they are easy to layer so baby can be kept at the right temperature by simply adding or removing a blanket. You can click here to read how many layers a baby should have in relation to the room temperature.
If, like many parents, you decide that baby should sleep in a moses-basket or carry cot to begin with, you can buy specially sized sheets and blankets for this purpose. This makes it easier to ensure that there isn’t an excess of fabric that baby could potentially wriggle down under and have their breathing restricted by. I highly recommend buying the right-sized bedding for the sleeping solution you choose. Although, there are a variety of fabrics available, I would suggest you consider the stretch-cotton sheets as these are less likely to become loose in the night and taking them off and putting them back on is a doddle.
The age at which babies start standing varies considerably but it is usually between 10 – 18 months. When your baby starts standing you should lower the crib mattress. Her head should come just above the crib rail when she’s standing. At this height she won’t be able to pull herself over the top rail which could cause injury. Also if your crib has bumpers at this stage they should be removed as she could use them to climb up and over.
We cover safety in great detail as we post about a variety of topics. If you look at our post on SIDS for example, you will see that we fully explain the measures that you can take to keep your baby as safe as possible from the threat of SIDS.
The purpose of the category ‘General Safety’ is to address some of the more miscellaneous safety issues that do not warrant their own category.
My personal view is that for the first six months, the safest place for baby to sleep is in a cot in the parents’ room. However, the purpose of this blog is to give parents all the necessary information for both sides of the argument and allow them to make an informed decision about what’s best for their family. Therefore, I will try to objectively weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of sharing a bed with your baby.
Not only is it far more convenient for breast-feeding mothers but research has shown that babies and mothers sleep much better when they share a bed, with solo baby sleepers being shown to spend four times longer crying each night (McKenna, J., et al 1994). It has also been shown that bed sharing babies have more stable temperatures (C. Richard et al 1996), regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone (T. Field 1995). This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.
There is great controversy regarding the best place for your new baby to sleep. I have examined a wealth of research and literature published on the subject and my opinion is that, in general, the safest place the baby can sleep (for the first six months) is in a cot in the parent’s room. My opinion is shared by The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) who launched a nationwide campaign to try and get this message home. They have recently launched an attack on the Channel Four programme, “Bringing up the Baby” because someone on the show advised that the baby should have his own room from day one.
Research has proved that infants who sleep in their own room in the first six months are twice as likely to die from SIDS (formerly called cot death) than those who share their parents’ bedroom. (FSID’s Editorial Team, 2007). I strongly advise you therefore to have baby sleeping in your room for the first six months.
I feel it’s very important that we discuss this topic first because it’s surely the gravest concern of any new parent.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as SIDS and Cot Death) occurs when a child (usually under one year) dies suddenly, for no known medical reason, in their sleep.
Thankfully, the rates of SIDS are falling. In 1991 SIDS hit 1 in 1000 infants. Nowadays, the figure is closer to 1 in 2000. I believe the reduction is due to new parents becoming increasingly more educated about the main risk factors that are usually associated with this condition. With more and more studies being conducted on SIDS, hopefully, the number of instances will continue to fall.
So what do we know about SIDS?
Most cases of SIDS (around 75%) happen when the infant is less than four months old. After this period the risk falls dramatically. Premature babies are at a higher risk with the risk rising according to the degree of prematurity (Lavin, Glaser 2007).
Babies and infants exposed to cigarette smoke have been found to have a higher risk of SIDS, with some studies indicating the risk is five times greater than babies not exposed to the cigarette smoke.
In which ways can we dramatically decrease a child’s risk of SIDS?
1. The golden rule is to put your baby to sleep on his back.
This has been the most influential discovery in reducing the number of deaths from SIDS and you should ensure you always follow it. There has been concern by some parents who followed this rule but awoke to find their baby had rolled himself over onto his side or front. Doctors generally agree that this type of occurrence should not warrant an elevated cause for concern. They feel that if the baby was able to roll over unassisted, he should also have the mobility to get out of an uncomfortable or stressful position should one occur. However, if you discover that your baby has rolled over onto to his front, I would still help him onto his back again just to be on the safe side.
2. Ensure the baby’s home is smoke free. Even smokers who light up outside of the house increase the risk of SIDS. Kicking the habit is obviously the safest thing you can do but if you can’t do this, ensure that smoke is banned from the house and that no smoker shares a bed with the baby.
3. Ensure the baby has the right bedding. Never let your baby sleep with a pillow, stuffed animal or any type of fluffy bedding. Just use a firm mattress and a tight fitting sheet in the crib or bassinet. If it’s especially cold you could simply dress baby in warmer, well-fitted clothing or add another suitable sheet or blanket.
4. Don’t fall asleep with your baby while sitting or lying on the sofa. There has been strong evidence that links this with an elevated risk of SIDS. There is also the danger that you could potentially roll over and suffocate him and the danger of him getting trapped down the side or back of the cushions.
5. Sucking a dummy may reduce the risk. Some studies have shown this to greatly reduce the risk of SIDS, although experts are still examining the research before making a recommendation.
6. Don’t overheat the baby’s room. Ensure the temperature is comfortable but not too warm.
|Room Temperature||Amount of bedding|
|12°C||Sheet plus four or more layers of blankets|
|14°C||Sheet plus three or four layers of blankets|
|16°C||Sheet plus three layers of blankets|
|18°C||Sheet plus two layers of blankets|
|20°C||Sheet plus one or two layers of blankets|
|22°C||Sheet plus one layer of blankets|
|Source: Department of Health www.doh.gov.uk
Bedding guidelines for babies wearing a nappy, vest and babygro
- Try to keep room temperature between 16 and 20°C – the ideal temperature is 18°C. Get a thermometer to check the temperature.
- Use the right amount of bedding for the temperature of the room (see table above).
- When you check on your baby, if your baby is sweating or their tummy feels hot, take off some of the bedding. It’s normal for babies to have cool hands and feet.
- Don’t let your baby sleep with a hot water bottle, an electric blanket, next to a radiator, heater or fire or in direct sunshine.
- Don’t use duvets, quilts or pillows if your baby is less than one year old.
- Don’t put too many clothes on your baby.
- Take off the baby’s outdoor clothes as soon as you get inside.
(BUPA’s Health Information Team, 2006).
7. Co-Sleeping & SIDS. This is such a controversial and ongoing debate and so I think it deserves it’s own section which I’ll complete in the next few days (when finished, you will be able to select it from the ‘category’ list to the right-hand side of the page). In short, despite the list of suggested benefits of co-sleeping, I feel strongly enough to advise you against it. There have been many studies that show it increases the risk of SIDS and there is also a strong risk of the parent rolling over and squashing or suffocating their baby. I know a parent who the latter tragically happened to and she wanted me to help convey as strongly as possible that co-sleeping poses a very real, life-shattering danger. However, I will be examining all the evidence objectively in my next blog.
Well that concludes my initial blog on SIDS. As with all the topics, I would very much like you to respond with any comments, questions, experiences, suggestions, revisions and opinions you may have.
Lavin, S Glasser (2007). “Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions.” Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Bupa’s Health Information Team (2006). “Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).” Available from: http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/sids.html (09/10/07)