Pregnancy and baby

Foods to avoid giving your baby

Can my baby eat everything my family eats? (9 to 12 months)

Media last reviewed: 03/03/2015

Next review due: 03/03/2017


Babies shouldn’t eat much salt, as it isn't good for their kidneys. Don't add salt to your baby’s food and don't use stock cubes or gravy, as they're often high in salt. Remember this when you’re cooking for the family, if you plan to give the same food to your baby.


Your baby doesn’t need sugar. By avoiding sugary snacks and drinks (including fruit juice and other fruit drinks), you'll help to prevent tooth decay. Use mashed banana or other fruits, breast milk or formula milk to sweeten food, if needed.


Occasionally, honey contains bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism, which is a very serious illness. It’s best not to give your child honey until they’re one year old. Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help to prevent tooth decay.


Whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn't be given to children under five, as they can choke on them. As long as there's no history of food allergies or other allergies in your family, you can give your baby peanuts once they're six months old, as long as they're crushed or ground into peanut butter.

'Low-fat' foods

Fat is an important source of calories and some vitamins for babies and young children. It’s better for babies and young children under two to have full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, rather than low-fat varieties. See What to feed young children for more information.

Saturated fat

Don't give your child too many foods that are high in saturated fat, such as crisps, biscuits and cakes. Checking the nutrition labels on foods can help you choose foods that are low in saturated fat. See more on food labels.

Shark, swordfish and marlin

Don't give your baby shark, swordfish or marlin. The amount of mercury in these fish can affect a baby’s growing nervous system.

Raw shellfish

Raw shellfish can increase the risk of food poisoning, so it’s best not to give it to babies.

Raw and undercooked eggs

Eggs can be given to babies over six months old, but make sure they're cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.

Further information

Kids' food

Children talk about food, and life coach Debbie Lewis suggests ways to encourage your child to eat more healthily.

Media last reviewed: 11/07/2015

Next review due: 11/07/2017

Page last reviewed: 23/09/2015

Next review due: 23/09/2017


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

SarahEmic said on 17 January 2013

I'm really shocked about foods for sale that are branded and specifically labeled as being appropriate for babies. Many are labelled suitable from 4 months which conflicts with NHS advice shown on other pages. A product I bought today was a baby cereal - supposedly suitable for this young age with 23% added sugar! Why are food manufacturers allowed to do this! I note the campaign for a reduction in sugar for cereals marketed at children but the debate seems to have bypassed products specifically produced for babies!
Is the matter of food standards something the NHS is involved in?

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