Food: "Is my baby ready to ..."
...chew crackers, bagels, and other breads?
Which of them are choking hazards for an infant with few teeth?
What you need to know "By nine months or a bit sooner, a baby is able to try all bready foods, as long as parents keep a close watch," says Dr. Roche. The number of teeth babies have really has no bearing on their ability to chew; gums are mighty strong on their own.
...try something new without fear of allergies?
There's a long list of potential allergens, including dairy, egg whites, and nuts. But it's hard to know whether those of us without a family history of allergies should be concerned.
What you need to know Your baby can eat most foods after his first birthday. The exceptions:
Nuts. Many doctors think kids shouldn't eat foods with peanuts or tree nuts, like almonds, cashews, or walnuts, until they're 3. The earlier they're introduced, the more likely these foods are to become lifelong allergens for some kids. But if your toddler has already had a PB&J sandwich a few times and has not had any reaction, you're in the clear, says Dr. Brown.
Dairy foods. Processed products like cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese (all made with whole milk) are okay by 6 months. Just hold off on cow's milk until he's 1. Your baby's still-developing digestive system would have a hard time processing the volume of milk he'd consume, compared to the smaller amounts of yogurt or cheese.
Strawberries. Raw ones can cause some babies to break out in a rash, so if you're concerned, feed yours cooked berries until he's a year old.
...try a piece of sushi?
With all the stories about food poisoning, you'd think raw fish is something to keep away from your baby until grade school.
What you need to know You can introduce sushi after your child's first birthday. "It's true that with raw fish, you're running a risk of food-borne parasites," says Dr. Brown. "But you can catch one of those at a salad bar. Just make sure to go to a restaurant with a good reputation. My kids have had sushi for years."
The biggest concern about sushi is mercury contamination. Doctors urge pregnant women and kids under 8 to stay away from albacore (white) tuna (but canned light tuna is okay), shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish -- all of which have extremely high levels.
You may have heard that it's best not to introduce water to a baby's diet until she's eating solids.
What you need to know It's true, but you can start giving your 6-month-old four to six ounces of water a day so that she gets fluoride.