Foods and Medications to Avoid in Your Child’s First Year of Life

Raising an infant is tough, and it often feels like there’s little guidance out there about what to give your child and what to avoid. This is such a crucial stage of development, one which will have lasting impacts on your child’s later success and happiness.

It’s vital that you know what to provide, such as high protein baby formula and food, as well as what to avoid. Today, we’ll explore some of the most essential things you must never give your child during their first year. 

baby eating


An infant’s kidneys are still developing, and excess salt can lead to renal failure. Once your infant progresses to solids after six months old, avoid giving them very salty foods like bacon, sausage, processed meals, or potato chips.


Everyone loves a sweet snack, and babies are no exception. However, feeding them sugary drinks and cereals can contribute to tooth decay, and it can also increase their risk of weight issues down the line. If you’d really like to treat your little one, consider giving them unprocessed fruit, such as a strawberry puree, or allow them to munch on some watermelon once they’re eating solids. It’s delicious and gets them loving healthy food!


While honey is a great, all-natural sweetener, it can be dangerous for infants and small children because it contains bacteria that can lead to infant botulism thanks to the child’s underdeveloped immune system.

Soft Cheese and Unpasteurized Cheeses

Cheese can be a great source of calcium for a growing child, but you should only provide hard cheeses. Mold-ripened cheeses like brie and camembert can carry listeria, a bacteria that can cause serious illnesses and even deaths in young children.

Rice Drinks

Rice-based formula can be dangerous for children under five years old, as rice readily absorbs arsenic from the environment. However, you can feed plain rice once your child starts eating solids: it’s a great source of carbohydrates and B vitamins, just what a baby needs to grow.

Whole peanuts and other nuts

These present a choking risk to children under five years old, which makes them a major no-no for infants. Nuts are still an excellent of protein and healthy fats, but you should only provide them when crushed, ground, or made into a nut butter. 


It’s tough to see your little one in pain, and you may want to reach for some children’s Tylenol right away. However, acetaminophen has been linked to developmental delays and autism when given to children under one year old. In fact, there are now lawsuits pending against the makers of Tylenol due to the increased risk of autism, ADHD, and other developmental issues in children given acetaminophen during infancy. 

If your child is showing signs of autism as they age, you may consider joining a class action lawsuit to hold the makers of Tylenol responsible for their lack of appropriate labeling. If your child has a fever or other mild illness in their first year of life, contact your pediatrician to determine what’s safe to provide. 

Benadryl and Gravol

Dehydration is a major issue in babies and infants, who need to drink formula or breastmilk every two to three hours. Anything that makes infants sleepy for long periods of time, such as Benadryl or Gravol, can lead them to miss out on feeding times, increasing their risk of dehydration. 

Teething gels

It’s tough when your baby is crying due to teething pain, but don’t rub gels like Orajel on their gums. These solutions contain lidocaine or benzocaine, which your child could swallow. These numbing agents can have major effects such as seizures or trouble with blood circulation, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead, try offering them teething rings, or give them a cool, damp rag to soothe their gums.


Also known as senna glycoside, this is a solution used for severe constipation in older children and adults, but it can be incredibly uncomfortable for infants, as it causes muscle cramps. Instead, use Lactulose for children younger than six months, or Miralax for children older than six months. You should also slowly adjust their diet to include more fiber and less sugar, as well as ensuring they stay well hydrated.


Infants are fragile, and much of what is considered fine for an adult or even an older child is dangerous for their small, developing bodies. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations and always consult with well respected resources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Mayo Clinic, or Cleveland Clinic, when trying to determine whether a certain food or medication is safe for your little one. With research and careful consideration, you can help your baby thrive and grow into a happy, healthy child.

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