Baby with big cookie

It’s so frustrating when your family members don’t understand why you aren’t feeding your baby “fun” food like ice cream and cookies — and even worse when they try to sneak it to her behind your back.

When family doesn’t respect food choices

Don’t worry, Mama — you’re doing it right, and here’s why.

You have made a conscious decision to keep junk food away from your baby — at least while he’s small. But what do you do when friends or family members argue with you about what you feed your baby? Or what about the grandma who feeds the baby ice cream when you’re out of the room? There are legitimate reasons to keep your baby away from sweets and empty nutrition when he's little.

They’re small

One big reason to keep sugar, questionable ingredients and preservatives away from babies isn’t so big after all — it’s because they’re small. Just a little bit of food goes a long way, and you don’t want them filling up on junk food because then they won’t be ingesting enough breast milk, formula or real food to meet their nutritional needs. In other words, they’ll be shorted nutritionally — not the best start in life.

Allergen concerns

If your family has a history of allergies — not just food allergies, but pet allergies, seasonal allergies, asthma or eczema — you’ll want to keep potential allergens away from your baby when the lining of his gut is still quite permeable. It seems that recommendations on food allergies, such as to peanuts, change from time to time, but most experts agree that avoiding food — besides breast milk or formula — before six months is best.

Old habits die hard

You also don’t want your child to get into the habit of loving — and craving — junk food. Kids can become hooked on nutritionally-void food and drinks at a very young age, which can lead to a lifetime of weight issues, and the health problems that often go along with them.

Choking risk

Also, as well-intentioned as some family members are, it’s not OK to give treats like hard candy or gummy bears to infants, toddlers or even young preschoolers. There is a huge risk of choking with these types of treats, so in addition to the overload of sugar, they can choke, which can, of course, be fatal.

Bad for the teeth

Sugary treats are terrible on the teeth — and soda pop can be the worst. Just because they are baby teeth doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of them.

Keeping these types of foods and drinks away from a young child is good parenting. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty that you’re depriving your child of something. A baby doesn’t need ice cream or cake. A toddler doesn’t need gummy worms or chips. Small children who are raised on nutritious foods will love and appreciate healthy treats like apples and broccoli. And what a wonderful trend you are starting with your child.

More on nutrition

Three baby nutrition mistakes not to make
When your baby doesn't like solid foods
Organic baby food options


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