Never add salt to foods for babies and avoid the use of stock containing added salt. If you are planning to make a purée using what you have cooked for other members of your family, don't add salt during the preparation - older family members can add salt at the table if they want to.
Modern diets often includes processed foods which tend to be high in salt, but small babies need very little salt in their diets. The United Kingdom Food Standards Agency has issued guidelines for salt intake at different ages:
7- 12 months: 1g salt ( 0.4g sodium ) per day
1-3 years: 2g salt ( 0.8g sodium ) per day
Adding sugar can encourage tooth decay in baby teeth. Use substitutes such as puréed banana, or breast or formula milk to sweeten food if you think it is necessary.
Avoid honey until your baby is 12 months old as it can occasionally contain bacteria. It can also lead to tooth decay.
Whole nuts should not be given to children under 5 to avoid the danger of choking.
The prevalence of food allergy and intolerance in infants from birth to 3 years ranges between 2-4%. A small number of foods account for most food allergy. These are cow's milk, hen's eggs, soy, nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish. Around 90% of children have grown out of their allergy at 3 years old.
In high-risk children (i.e. children who have a family history of allergy or children who already have a food allergy to another food), peanuts can be introduced after the age of six months after discussion with your doctor, health visitor or medical specialist that it is safe to do so.
Cow's milk protein allergy
If your child has a reaction to cow's milk, you should see your paediatrician. If cow's milk protein allergy is diagnosed, you will have to eliminate all cow's milk and cow's milk products from your child's diet. Omitting all foods containing milk from a child's diet could mean them having a low intake of protein, calcium and energy, so it is essential that you are referred to a paediatric dietitian for advice on what to feed your child to keep them healthy and growing well.