Five Essential Baby Food Safety Tips

Baby food may seem pretty straightforward to new parents, especially when it comes in those handy little jars at the store. But as your child transitions from breast milk or formula to solids, you may take some things for granted. Breast milk is inherently sanitary and safe for your child; but baby food is easy to contaminate. Make sure you keep a few things in mind when you begin to make the transition to solid foods!

Here are a few tips for keeping your baby’s food safe and free of contaminants.

1. Wash Your Hands

This may seem pretty obvious, but you should handle your baby’s food in the same way you’d handle food you were serving to an adult. This means you should wash your hands before pureeing or mashing baby food; don’t sneeze or cough around your baby’s food. If you do sneeze or touch raw meat, fish, or eggs while preparing a meal or snack for your child, then wash your hands again. A thorough hand washing lasts at least 20 seconds, which is about as long as it takes for you to slowly sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” twice.

2. Keep It Germ-Free

Don’t feed Baby directly from a jar of baby food, and then put the unfinished jar back in the refrigerator. This causes bacteria from the baby’s mouth to linger in the food, thereby creating the potential for your child to get sick from the food. If your baby isn’t going to finish the jar of baby food in one sitting, scoop some of the puree into a bowl, seal the jar, and put it back in the refrigerator.  Also be sure not to leave the baby food jars open to the air for more than a half an hour.

Only feed your baby with clean, sterile utensils, too. Wash a bowl thoroughly before you pour the baby food into it. Don’t just rinse it with water; use hot water and soap to keep everything germ-free for your little one!

3. No Sharing

Don’t eat from your baby’s spoon, and don’t let anyone else eat from baby’s spoon either! This can be a hard one for parents, as it seems perfectly fine to share bites of your mashed potatoes with your little one when you’re at a restaurant or enjoying dinner together. But doing this can unwittingly introduce viruses into your baby’s body. Even if you’re not sick, you don’t want to pass your germs onto your child. Babies have delicate and undeveloped immune systems; allowing foreign bacteria into their bodies can create sickness even if you don’t feel ill.

4. Boil Your Water

If you are making your own baby food and mixing the purees with water, be sure that the water you’re using is safe and sanitary. Any liquids should be boiled before you give them to your child.

It’s best to heat water, formula, and breast milk on the stove instead of the microwave. Microwaves alter the chemical structure of food and liquids, making it less nutritious for your little one. Heating a bottle in the microwave can also cause dangerous toxins to leech from the plastic bottle and into your baby’s milk.

5. Know Your Allergens

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your child is allergic to certain foods – especially if they’re not able to express themselves yet! But if you keep an eye out for symptoms of allergies, you will be able narrow down which foods are making them sick. In babies, the most common allergy symptoms are an upset stomach. For some children, this means that they could have diarrhea, bloating, or nausea. Symptoms can also manifest in the form of skin problems. If your baby has a persistent rash after she eats certain foods (or if you eat certain foods before nursing!) she may be allergic to an ingredient. Babies often experience eczema when they are young, but if the rash doesn’t seem to go away, seems particularly painful or itchy, or if the rash flares up during certain mealtimes, it may be evidence of a food allergy.

Some of the most common allergies are cow’s milk and gluten. If you’ve noticed that your formula or baby food has dairy or gluten additives, pay attention to your child’s health. A rashy or gassy baby may be having trouble digesting those ingredients!

Share This: