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Kids’ early eating experiences can affect how they eat as they get older. That’s why it’s so important to introduce them to healthy foods from the very beginning.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
When your child is about 6 months old, you can start introducing him or her to foods and drinks other than breast milk and infant formula. For most children, you don’t need to introduce foods in a specific order.
Try making a rainbow of different colored foods on your child’s plate.
By the time your child is 7 or 8 months old, he or she can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. Your child needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong. Try making a rainbow of different colored foods on your child’s plate. Here are a few examples:
- Fruits: bananas, strawberries, pears, oranges, melons, or avocados
- Vegetables: cooked spinach, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, or beets
- Whole grains: whole grain breads, crackers, or pastas
- Meats: soft, small pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, or turkey
- Dairy: yogurts or cheeses (pasteurized only)
Drinks Matter, Too!
When your child is between 6 and 12 months old, you can offer:
- Water (4 to 6 ounces per day)
- Breast milk (if you are still breastfeeding) or infant formula
Once your child is 12 months old, you can begin offering fortified cow’s milk.
Foods to Avoid
There are certain foods and drinks you should avoid giving your child.
If your child is under 12 months, avoid foods and drinks such as:
- Honey. It could cause a serious type of food poisoning called botulism in children under 12 months.
- Unpasteurized drinks or foods. These items may put your child at risk for E. coli, a harmful bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea. Common unpasteurized foods include raw milk, juice, yogurt, or cheeses.
- Fortified cow’s milk. It may put your young child under 12 months old at risk for intestinal bleeding.
- Fruit juice and other sugary drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not drink 100% juice or juice drinks with added sweeteners before they are 12 months old.
Be their role model! Eating a healthy diet sets a good example for your children.
Be Their Role Model
Once your child is 12 months old or older, they’ll be eating more of the foods that you eat. Eating a healthy diet sets a good example for your children.
Eating a healthy diet can help children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. For adults, a healthy diet can help protect against a number of serious and costly chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.
A healthy diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. The USDA’s ChooseMyPlateExternal can help you choose the healthy foods and drinks that work for your family.
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Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10. As you prepare to set your clocks ahead one hour, remember to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) detector. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. More than 400 people die each year in the United States from unintentional, non-fire related CO poisoning.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.
When power outages occur during emergencies such as hurricanes or severe storms, the use of alternative sources of power for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.
Spring ahead by installing a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home or by checking the batteries, if you already have one, as you set your clocks ahead one hour.
You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
- Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
- Leave your home immediately and call 911 if your CO detector ever sounds. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
- Run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
- Heat your house with a gas oven.
- Use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or outside less than 20 feet from a window, door, or vent.
CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and acting wisely during a power outage.
Visit Prevention Guidelines for important CO poisoning prevention tips in 16 additional languages.
For more information, please visit CDC’s CO Poisoning website.
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