is a candy-free child even possible? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 02-15-2004, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to avoid candy/cookies/sweets as much as possible with my baby. But it is just EVERYWHERE - it's such a huge part of celebrations in our culture. How have you who have avoided it managed to do so without your child feeling deprived or other people just giving the stuff to your child?

Can it be done?
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#2 of 26 Old 02-15-2004, 08:31 PM
 
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I think it is possible, but incredibly difficult. My parents lived in an isolated rural area when I was young, and I was kept from sweets until I was about 4. My dad was a social worker with a local indian tribe (in Canada), and one day he turned around and one of the kids was giving me orange soda pop. After that, I knew what it was, and wanted it. Growing up we were allowed sweets in moderation. I personally don't feel it's fair for him to be at a birthday party and not be allowed to have cake, but other parents feel differently, and I can understand that, so I think it's really up to you and how strongly you feel about it.

Except for a small taste here and there, I managed it until ds was about 2yo. Now he is almost 3, and he eats an incredibly small amount of sweets and junk food. But he knows what it is, and if we are at someone's house and they are serving cake or ice cream, he wants it, and I allow him some.

The easiest thing you can do is to keep it out of your house. That is what we do. Our 'treats' consist of fruit juice sweetened animal crackers or fruit leather. Maybe sometimes some ginger ale or root beer (usually diluted with sparkling water - I myself find them too sweet otherwise). A big treat for ds when we are out is a Luna Bar or Odwalla protein bar. He loves those things.

Now other people giving it to him is another thing at this age - I would be PISSED if anyone gave him anything without checking with me, especially junk food. One of the biggest falling outs I had with my MIL was over her shoving a spoonful of ice cream into ds's mouth just after I finished telling her that I didn't want him having any. When they are older (8 or 9 or so) and at a friend's house, I really don't think there's much you can do about that. When I was a kid I had a friend who had huge boxes full of twinkies and ho hos at her house, and I thought that I had hit the jackpot.

But I already explain to ds that certain foods are junk, and that too much sugar is bad for you and will make you sick. When we are at the checkout line and he is playing with the candy bars, if he asks for one I tell him that that is junky food that we don't eat.
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#3 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 12:37 AM
 
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I think this is a tough issue. I have a serious aversion to sweets and t.v. for my kids as I grew up a sugar and t.v. junkie. Having nearly recovered I swung waaaaay back in the "never" end of the spectrum and fear that it has made my kids want it much more. I took my 3 year old to a baby shower the other day and the hostess was kind enough to set up a play area for the kids. There was painting, dress up clothes and some matching dolls. Oh, and the t.v./vcr with continuous shows. My dd STARED at the d@mn thing the entire 2.5 hrs. (despite the 4 other kids goofing around by her) and took a break only to come over and wolf down a piece of chocolate cake : I guess some would say that she has much less junk than other kids, but she is much more interested in it! .....balance......
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#4 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 01:26 AM
 
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I believe in two concepts: Everything in moderation and surround yourself with likeminded people. I do allow dd tastes of sweets that are made with honey, maple syrup or molasses. I allow her to have white sugar extremely rarely. It usually occurs when I am with my extended family who are extremely conventional and consider red meat and sugar main staples in a diet. My dd has tasted white sugar 2 times in her 27 months and has never asked for more than one taste each time. I completely will not allow artifical color, flavour or sweetners. These are known carcinogens and will not be allowed. I feel if I allow enough homemade with love type sweets dd won't be attracted to the artificial death food. I am already talking about it with her and I work in a organic food market and surround us with likeminded people so when we are with people that eat differently dd may be curious but hopefully will be informed enough to make good choices.
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#5 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 01:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by oceanbaby
I think it is possible, but incredibly difficult. My parents lived in an isolated rural area when I was young, and I was kept from sweets until I was about 4. My dad was a social worker with a local indian tribe (in Canada)
T and probably too personal but oceanbaby where in Canada did you live? I am also in Canada and am ever curious to hear others experiences with our magestic country.
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#6 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 01:39 AM
 
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I lived in British Columbia, Salmon Arm to be exact.

I loved it there - cool liberal teachers, real seasons, free medical care, lots of room to run and play. We moved back to the States because my dad had an opportunity to open his own business here, but my parents have often wondered if they made a mistake raising us here instead of staying in Canada.
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#7 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 01:59 AM
 
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i think its very hard,
i have a 2 1/2 yr old and its hard! at his first bday that was the irst time he had "cake" LOL you should have seen him omng sugar rush!!! LOL. one thing i have noticed at the whole foods in the check out there are no candy bars or junk stuff that makes that easy, we dont go out much so im not pressured by the check out temptations. at the dr office when i was preggers they would ask to give him a lolly poip and id look at them and say no thank u and think to my self, ahhh hes 2? same thing at the bank, dh and i hide somtimes when we eat cookies but he does get them ocasionally. i have noticed though that he really isnt into eating sweets when he gets them. i think its a todler thing.

i just tell people no, or he doesnt eat that, ect. i know as he gets older aty the rate he growing he'll be telling me! LOL

Good luck, its a consitant battle that in the long run i think pays off. like when i grew up we never had "soda" or candie cereal we got "that " at my aunts or grandmas!!:LOL
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#8 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 04:01 AM
 
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i agree with the previous posters who said everything in moderation. my dd is 17 months old, the funkiest thing she eats is the occasional vit c and zinc lollipop, or a fry every now and then. she didnt have a first bday cake, much the grandfolx chagrin, and she won't have a 2nd bday cake either. i hate when people at the bank offer candy to her too. though after i've politely turned them down every time, they don't really offer anymore. one teller looked at me really oddly and said, "babies love candy! my 6 mo old neice eats lollies all the time! give her one!"
gah.

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#9 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 04:52 AM
 
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I'm feeling very lucky - Around here, bank tellers & grocery clerks offer kids stickers instead of candy.

I'm trying to take the "all things in moderation, within reason" approach with DD. I was raised in a NO candy family. We each got 1 piece of maple sugar candy from my father in the winter, but that was the only officially sanctioned candy. I spent my childhood hatching elaborate schemes to get my hands on the forbidden fruit. At one point, I was collecting used bus transfers and using those to take the city bus to school, trading my unneeded bus tokens for cash with other students, using the cash to purchase giant jawbreakers which I sold to my schoolmates at a 300% markup, then taking my profit and buying candy-candy-candy. Periodically, my mother would find my stash and throw it out, so I became more secretive, very carefully disposing of wrappers, etc.

I know that not everyone in a NO candy household will develop such an amazing lust for the stuff, but I really don't want to repeat my family dynamic with DD. So, I have fed her some home-baked sweets (ginger-carrot cake, gingerbread, gingersnaps - She loves ginger!), as well as tastes of ice cream. There's no way I'll be feeding her mainstream candy with artificial flavors, etc. But I will buy her halvah & honey sesame snaps when she's older, if she's interested. I don't think I'm going to stop her from eating cake at birthday parties, etc, but we will talk afterwards about how she felt after eating the birthday cake. I want her to learn that sweets can have place in a healthy diet, so long as they are wisely chosen, consciously consumed, & enjoyed (savor that sweet flavor and then move on!).
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#10 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 05:22 PM
 
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We don't do candy, but...last night we had banana fritters(whole wheat) with ice cream (organic) for dessert. Dd has also eaten some very rich, sugar sweetened cake from my birthday. She handles the sugar much better than I do. I find my inability to eat/deal with sugar often seperates me from others and I don't want to do that to dd. We won't be doing candy for a long time, but she does get to taste our non-chocolate cookies and cake and I usually cook sugar-free goodies. Moderation is a good word.
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#11 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 07:32 PM
 
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I would be cautious about completely excluding things. I did that with m y first child. 2 years old before she had any sugar. My second got it in moderation when ever we were having treats. #1 is a complete sugar fiend. For a while we even had a problem with her stealing it. She goes over to friends houses and just eats whatever they will give her. It is embarrassing and not healthy. #2 still eats in moderation. She likes it but won't eat it just to eat. We plan on taking the same approach with #3. It is nice to have a treat every now and then. And I don't think a little sugar in moderation is going to do any harm.

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#12 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 08:03 PM
 
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well this topic just pisses me off..."i" try not to give my daughter too much sweet stuff, she's had some but not much. she didn't even like her birthday cake. she's 14 months btw. my mil on the other hand tries her best to give her these things...so it seems. the other day i took my daughter over there for a visit cuz my mil was complaining that she hasn't seen her in a while. you know as soon as we walk in the door she's trying to hand my daughter a lollypop! claiming that it's valentine's day so she can have it! well i almost had a heart attack! we had a big argument then we left, the woman makes me so mad! then my hubby took her over there for a couple hours to make nice with the message that she was not to give Ming any candy of any kind. she didn't but wheni got there she was feeding her pork and collard greens and a bunch of greasy food after i told her not to give her that greasy stuff. then when Ming vomited it all up she says, "i wonder if i made her sick with that food?"...duh yeah! i fear i'm losing this battle with her, i like the woman but she's too old fashioned for me. she smokes in the house and she lets Ming watch too much tv. what to do?
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#13 of 26 Old 02-16-2004, 08:13 PM
 
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I have to say that the parents should be the ones in control of raising there children. We have a similiar situation with mil too. Her partner smokes inside the house and we have visited once since dd was born. She is 27 months now. Every single invitation we are offered to come over we decling saying " we cannot come to your house due to the fact the your partner smokes inside, we will not expose our daughter to this, and you shouldn't think that we would just to please you" In regards to the food issue, she and all our other relatives know that if they want to continue seeing our daughter and us they will have to respect how we are choosing to raise her and this includes the food we give her. We have stopped seeing certain relatives because they just don't get it.....they continue to offer dd artificial death food and they actual think it is funny to watch our discomfort with this. It is not as if we are completely strict either (see my last post in this thread), so I think it is completely disrespectful of people to continuely offer candy when they know it will be declined everytime.
Trini girl You are the mother, put your foot down, your child should not be exposed to the smoke or the bad food. You are your childs protector and teacher, advocate for her.
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#14 of 26 Old 02-17-2004, 12:57 AM
 
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We don't have that stuff in our house (well, almost never), we hang around with fairly liked-minded people, and our families live far away. So far, it's been pretty easy to keep my children candy-free.

It does creep in - I think that's inevitable - but the good news is that so far (they are 1 and 3), my kids are not interested in sugary junk at all! The 3 year old went trick-or-treating at Hallowe'en. He had a great time collecting a bagful of candy. He brought it home and had one bite of a chocolate bar. Then he asked me to put it in a safe spot "to save it for winter". It's been on a high shelf ever since. He mentions it every now and then, but has never once asked for a piece to eat!

I think that sugar etc. is an acquired taste (or addiction) - all the more reason to limit it as much as possible at the start!

My dh's weakness is chocolate ice cream, so we do have that once in a while. My older son can have a small bowl. It's a good opportunity for a discussion about the foods we like that aren't good for us - and about how eating them once in a while is OK, but eating them all the time isn't a good idea. (Fortunately dh speedily eats the ice cream, so it's not an issue for long! )
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#15 of 26 Old 02-17-2004, 10:29 AM
 
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IMO, its all what you make of it. Personally, I believe it is possible, but why exactly candy-free?? Yes, we all know sweets are not good for you, but isnt it more important to teach children how to limit themselves and eat just till they are full and eat mostly healthy things? I think that the more of an issue you make of it, the more of an issue it is.

My Ds hasnt had a lot of candy, but he is allowed to have it once in a while. The interesting thing is that since he simply does not have it most of the time he does not tend to choose it. He doesnt even like cake.... he will eat a cookie but wont ask for more and more (most of the time). His favorite food is yogurt and will choose it over any fast food or french fries..... i bring his lunch everywhere we go....

I just think the bigger deal you make of it, the more the kids are gonna crave it and try to get a hold of it at school or at friends houses.
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#16 of 26 Old 02-17-2004, 12:00 PM
 
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thanks for the advice Mountain Mom...i tried that approach before but everybody called me the bitch. plus when i want a day off even though my hubby is sposed to be the one watching her, if he has one prob he'll just take her over there. i guess i have to go back to being the bitch cuz i try to be nice (it's her first grandchild) and give her time with Ming but all she does is disregard my rules and opinion. so from now i'm the bitch!
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#17 of 26 Old 02-17-2004, 11:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Trini girl
all she does is disregard my rules and opinion. so from now i'm the bitch!
There is no way that advocating for ming is being a bi**h. Calming state your feelings to her and try to help her understand that you AND her son are raising your child perhaps a bit different than she is used to. Explain that you want her to be a part of your dd's life but that certain things are too harmful for your child such as candy and smoking. Offer alternatives for her to give your child that you are comfortable with but really put your foot down about the smoking. Even after person has smoked the lingering smoke odor on their clothing is harmful to children. You are only thinking of your daughters health and if she doesn't understand that it just means that she is sadly too selfabsorbed. That does not make you rude or cold just your childs mom.
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#18 of 26 Old 02-18-2004, 01:35 AM
 
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So far so good here. Dd is 2-1/2 and candy/sugar-free.

It's not easy, takes a lot of attention, but mostly it had to do with keeping the house sugar free and offering nothing sweeter than fruits, or homemade muffins with some brown rice syrup, and pretty much no processed foods. We don't make any big deal of specialness of desserts (rare in our house). For Dd's birthday I made a cake that was more of a blueberry bread, in a pan that put very appealing designs on the top.

I take food everywhere we go. I ignore sweet foods so Dd can see at least someone has no response when they are out. When the sweets come out, I can easily distract her with something I've brought from home. At restaurants I can always get plain fruit. The hardest thing is ILs who have said that they want to get Dd alone to sneak her candy. Dh's answer is that they will never get her alone.

I don't expect Dd to remain junk free her whole childhood. As long as I can take control of what she eats, I will, but when she's older and it's more out of my hands, I'll let it go without making an issue of it. My goal is to fully cultivate a healthy sense of taste so that when she does venture into other foods, eventually her appetite will bring her back to the healthy diet of her early years.
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#19 of 26 Old 02-18-2004, 10:07 AM
 
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Ugh.... I wish we could be candy-free. I tried, tried, tried when ds was very small to keep him away from sweets. But with a dad who has a major sweet-tooth and extended family who like to offer candy as "treats", he can get pretty unmanageable about them.

I don't keep sweets in the house, so at least when he's here it's not an issue. And his dad has gotten better since he started throwing fits at the grocery store.

But it makes my stomach turn when we're at my mother's house and he's begging for a lollipop. :

Thanks for the reminder - I need to have a lengthy conversation with her about not making sweets such a big deal.
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#20 of 26 Old 02-18-2004, 10:33 AM
 
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This is such a challenge.

My oldest is 6 and I have tried to keep him away from sugar as much as possible. It really affects his behavior. When he eats sugar he becomes hyper, grumpy and aggressive.

It's easy at home, but once he became school age it has become impossible. It seems to always be someones birthday so they're eating cupcakes. Or it's Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day. . .which somehow all translate to eating sugary treats.

I get so mad.

When I was a kid at Valentine's Day we all gave each other hand made cards. Now-a-days it's store bought cards and candy from each of your friends. Which means my ds comes home with 20 pieces of candy. This is just not necessary and I refuse to have him give candy to everyone, but I can't prevent him from receiving it.

He usually brings it all home and I let him pick one piece and let his 3 1/2 year old brother pick one piece and then I put the rest away for "later" and "later" never comes.

I'm all for "all things in moderation" and so sure once in a while a sweet treat for a special occasion I can understand, but it seems that sweets are offered to kids for every possible occasion. For example going to the bank or grocery store why does my kids need to be offered a lollipop? Why at every possible school celebration - of which there are a million - does there have to be a sugary treat? IMHO it takes the specialness out of these treats.
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#21 of 26 Old 02-18-2004, 11:15 AM
 
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When I read about candy-cookies-sweets I tend to think of another MDC member’s comment about pizza. She/he said that labeling “pizza” as junk food is a rather limited way of thinking about food. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think it is best to look at foods by their actual content and not just by labels like “candy” or “pizza”.

I’ve begun a search for alternatives to conventional candy, cakes and sweets because I do want to allow these types of treats in our family. I have found many things that could be labeled candy or other “treats” with ingredients that I find acceptable and DC finds yummy like candies sweetened with fruit juice/no additives.

I agree with people about finding like minded like-minded friends or at least understanding friends who will help you limit foods you don’t want DC to have. It is also geographic. When I was in Santa Cruz people were hyper sensitive to what any individual child was allowed to have. Now, I live in a place where people constantly offer DC candy or treats when we are out. In the spirit of “it takes a village” I allow this kind of offering but I limit it when it gets excessive.

I also totally agree with the idea of moderation but this is our family motto and was my life motto growing up. I literally tried everything I could get my hands on – in moderation.

If you feel strongly about limiting all things that could be considered candy, cookies or sweets maybe it would be a good idea to find some alternatives that you *do* allow. You could make smoothies and freeze them for “ice cream” or bake some healthy “treats”. Frozen grapes were a favorite of mine growing up.

I think there are two ways of looking this. Either you can label healthy sweets as "candy/cookies/sweets" and prepare them and serve them as "treats" or you could not allow “sweets” but allow home baked sweets and fruit. In the end, you are still offering the same foods, kwim?

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#22 of 26 Old 02-18-2004, 07:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by rebx
I'm trying to take the "all things in moderation, within reason" approach with DD. I was raised in a NO candy family. We each got 1 piece of maple sugar candy from my father in the winter, but that was the only officially sanctioned candy. I spent my childhood hatching elaborate schemes to get my hands on the forbidden fruit.
Yes, me too. ANd my sister and I would do dangerous things to go get candy. If I got my hands on it I would gorge myself with candy. I let DD have a little candy sometimes and the occasional cookie, and she will leave half a cookie sitting on her plate.

As to wether it is possible, I guess so as long as the child is not independant enough to get money, walk to the store and buy it themselves. But I think it is hard.
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#23 of 26 Old 02-19-2004, 06:37 AM
 
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As to wether it is possible, I guess so as long as the child is not independant enough to get money, walk to the store and buy it themselves.
Or, in my case, when your kid is independent enough to sneak out of your view...My sister & I started eating packets of sugar from the condiment bar on the ferry every time we went with our parents to the city (we grew up on an island, so this was a pretty frequent sugar-blast for us)...We had no $ for candy from the vending machines, but sugar packets were easy to come by in all sorts of places. It makes me feel queasy to think about it now, but boy, did we love sugar!

I should have added to my earlier post that there's no way I'll be buying DD mainstream candy because I know she'll get plenty of it from others...So, I'll model moderate consumption of other treats instead.

IdentityCrisisMama - You articulated some things I hadn't put into words yet for myself. Thanks!
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#24 of 26 Old 02-19-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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I was thinking more about this thread and wanted to bring up and idea I learned in Puerto Rico. They have this funky fruit there (I can’t remember the name” but it grows high up on a palm like tree in clusters. They are the size of a grape with a hard skin, which you bite open to reveal a sweet, strange tasting fruit surrounding a large pit.

Anyway, I bring this up because they called these things “natures candy” and I thought it was cool.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#25 of 26 Old 02-19-2004, 01:40 PM
 
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Another "candy" tip: freeze grapes then they taste like candy too!
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#26 of 26 Old 02-19-2004, 06:46 PM
 
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Another thing to consider is that lots of candies are choking hazards. I've been horrified when someone has offered my baby candy. No child under 3 should be given hard candy or gummy ones. They are too dangerous.

We have been very slow to introduce foods, so the family has so far been good about checking before offering things to my 1 year old, but I'm sure it will get harder.
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