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Baby's First Foods

A Safety Checklist

Until your baby is at least 7 months, don't puree your own beets, turnips, carrots, spinach, or collard greens because they may have large amounts of nitrates, which can cause anemia in young infants. (Commercial baby-food varieties are fine. They're tested to be nitrate-free.) And if you use well water, get it tested for nitrates.

Until your child is 1, avoid honey -- it can contain spores that may produce life-threatening infant botulism.

Until your child is 4, don't feed him these foods, which are choking hazards:

  • nuts and seeds
  • popcorn
  • raw vegetables
  • hard or sticky candy
  • chewing gum
  • whole grapes, cherries
  • chunky peanut butter (instead, use the smooth kind, spread very thinly over crackers or bread)

After your child is 1, cut up firm, round foods (grapes, cooked carrots, hot dogs, chunks of cheese or meat) into very small pieces -- about a quarter inch -- before serving.

At any age, if your child experiences rashes, vomiting, bloating, gas, or diarrhea after a new food, stop giving it to him and talk to your doctor. He may have an allergy or food intolerance.