With Dr. Sandra Brancato, pediatrician and member of the AFPA
A balanced diet is essential for the proper development of our child, and requires a wide variety of foods. Be aware, however, that the immune system of the youngest is still fragile. Some foods are like this not recommended at the risk of causing severe poisoning.
What foods should you avoid before the age of 3? Why ?
Some foods may contain dangerous bacteria for young children. Bacteria responsible for several diseases and in particular the occurrence of serious digestive infections. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E.coli) can then cause hemolytic uremic syndromes (HUS) which are serious infections that can lead to death. “, explains Dr. Sandra Brancato. “ You can also develop salmonellosis and listeriosis. More rarely, hepatitis A can also be found in certain infected shellfish “, she continues. If we must be careful, it is because the impact of this type of disease is stronger in children than in adults. ” The first of the signs will be digestive, with a child who will vomit, have diarrhea, fever, as well as pallor and extreme fatigue “, describes the pediatrician.
So if you suspect food poisoning, it is better to consult your doctor quickly.
Honey (before 1 year)
Before 1 year, it is recommended to avoid honey because of a risk of infant botulism. A rare childhood disease, it affects the nervous system and is caused by the spores of a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) present in dust and on certain soils. Transported by bees, these spores can then end up in honey.
Raw or undercooked eggs
If it is possible to give it to our baby when he begins food diversification, these must be crushed and above all well cooked (boiled eggs). We therefore forget soft-boiled eggs, omelettes, fried eggs, but also all preparations based on raw eggs such as mayonnaise or chocolate mousse, until he is 3 years old.
Raw or undercooked meats
If the meat is to be gradually integrated into baby food (from the start of diversification, that is to say between 4 and 6 months), it is better to mix it and above all, cook it thoroughly (which means that the inside of the meat should not be pink) until the child is at least 5 years old. In addition, your baby does not have the same needs as an adult: a maximum of 10 g per day is enough to satisfy him until he is 1 year old, then 20 g until he is 2 years old, and finally 30 g until he is his 3 years.
Raw fish and raw shellfish
The problem is the same as for meat: it is necessary to cook them well. And while fish has many nutritional qualities, some of them may contain pollutants. Our child being particularly vulnerable to the toxic action of certain chemical compounds (such as methylmercury and PCBs), it is better to limit the consumption of wild predators such as monkfish, sea bass or tuna, but also that of swordfish, marlin, siki, shark and lamprey. These fish, located at the top of the food chain, ate the smaller ones. They are therefore more loaded with chemical substances (mercury in particular) which pollute our seas and oceans. Prefer small fish such as anchovies, sardines or mackerel, located at the end of the food chain. For freshwater fish, it is recommended to limit the consumption of eels, barbel, bream, carp and catfish.
About the shellfish, they should not be eaten raw (like cockles or oysters). Prefer cooked shrimp or any other shellfish that has undergone powerful enough cooking to eliminate any risk of poisoning.
Raw milk and raw milk cheese
Exit all raw milk cheeses such as Brie, Roquefort, Morbier or Reblochon, and this until at least 5 years old. Prefer cooked pressed cheeses such as Comté or Gruyère. In all cases, the words “pasteurized milk” must appear on the packaging. For young children, as for pregnant women, we favor cheese sold in packaging, which is less likely to have been contaminated by Listeria, than cheese sold by the slice.
Vegetable milks and juices
Your baby should drink breast and/or infant milk until at least 1 year old. Above all, these milks should not be replaced by vegetable drinks (soya, almond, oats), nor by other milks of animal origin (mare, sheep). These drinks do not meet the needs of a child under 1 year old and can lead to very serious nutritional deficiencies, even undernutrition.
Not to be confused with rice protein preparations available in pharmacies and specially designed for babies who cannot tolerate lactose or have other intolerances.
Chips or sodas: consume in moderation with babies and children
Similarly, food too fat / too sweet » such as French fries or crisps, even if they are not dangerous in the moment, can have serious consequences over time. ” Salt should be consumed in moderation, especially since newborns do not tolerate it well since their kidneys are still struggling to filter it. Breast milk, for example, is very low in salt. Then, during the diversification, we advise not to add salt in the dishes that we cook and to choose infant milks with the least sodium possible. The same is true for mineral waters. “, deciphers the pediatrician. Same vigilance with foods high in saturated fat“ if it is not recommended for adults, it is even less so for young children “, explains the specialist. Prefer unsaturated fats found in rapeseed, flaxseed, olive, sunflower oil…
And if you want to please your child by giving him a candy: It’s possible as long as it’s occasional “says Sandra Brancato. For proper development and good health, it is better to favor slow sugars over fast sugars. So be careful not to get him used to eating too many cakes or drinking sugary drinks (fruit juice, sodas). Moreover, drinks such as coffee, tea or so-called energy drinks (including colas) should be avoided because they contain caffeine, a substance which in young children could have harmful effects (agitation , tremors, irritability, sleep disturbances).
What fruits or vegetables can you give your baby? For nuts, from what age?
“ All fruits and vegetables can be offered to children from 4 months “, assures the pediatrician. “ They must be given in small quantities and regularly “, she continues. Rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, they are essential for the proper growth and development of your baby.
However, be careful with nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.) which, if not pureed or buttered, can present a choking hazard.
What precautions should be taken?
As you will have understood, in order to avoid any food poisoning, the ideal is to thoroughly cook meat, fish and eggs. No rare minced steaks, even less tartars, or sushi on the menu! In the same way, to eliminate all pesticides, always wash fruits and vegetables well before cooking or eating them raw.
And what about eggs? ” If the eggs are fresh and have a few traces of droppings, you can wipe or scrub them before storing them. However, an egg should not be soaked. Its shell is porous and can let in bacteria, including salmonella “, describes Dr. Sandra Brancato. ” But if you boil it as recommended, all the bacteria will be killed. “, she advises. The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) even specifies that “ eggs should never be washed before being stored or eaten “.
For more information, do not hesitate to consult the booklet “Step by step, your child eats like a grown-up. The little guide to food diversification”downloadable from the mangerbouger.fr website.
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