Your pregnancy and baby guide

Foods to avoid giving your baby

Salt

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.

Sugar

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

Honey

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 1 year old. Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help prevent tooth decay.

Nuts

Whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn't be given to children under 5, 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 6 months old, as long as they're crushed or ground into peanut butter.

Raw jelly cubes

Raw jelly cubes can be a choking hazard for babies and young children. If you're making jelly from raw jelly cubes, make sure you always follow the manufacturers' instructions.

'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 2 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 the development of a baby's 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 lightly cooked eggs

Babies over 6 months can have eggs.

If the eggs are hen's eggs and they have a red lion stamped on them, or you see a red lion with the words "British Lion Quality" on the box, it's fine for your baby to have them raw (for example, in homemade mayonnaise) or lightly cooked.

Hen's eggs that don't have the red lion mark should be cooked until both the white and yolk are solid. So should duck, goose or quail eggs.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 24/09/2015
Next review due: 24/09/2018