Biscuits for Babies – Are They Safe?

A baby eating a biscuit

Biscuits are a popular snack for children of all ages. They are delicious and make for quick and easy treats. There are hundreds of unique biscuit brands in the market that you can choose from. Further, it might seem like a good food for your baby as they are soft and can be easily crushed. However, it is not a simple as it seems. This article will explain how biscuits are actually not a nutritious item for your child.

Can you Give Biscuits to your Baby?

Biscuits are delicious, coming in a huge variety of flavours, colours and textures. They are an excellent snack for teatime or simply when you’re feeling a bit hungry. However, this only applies to adults. Biscuits are certainly not a healthy replacement for actual food when it comes to feeding your baby. So to answer the question “Can you give biscuits to your baby?”, the brief answer is absolutely not. Forget babies, store biscuits are not suggested even for young children.

Reasons you should Avoid Giving Commercial Biscuits to Babies

This might come as a surprise to you, but while biscuits are tasty, they are absolutely worthless from a nutrition standpoint. This can be extremely problematic for a variety of reasons.

1. Refined Wheat Flour

Irrespective of any other ingredients, the main component of all biscuits is your standard refined wheat flour or maida. Maida is basically the discarded by-product of wheat refinement. In fact, due to this process, refined wheat flour is actually devoid of anything useful. Further, refined wheat flour takes a much longer time to get digested, overworking the digestive system even in adults. When it comes to babies, their intestines are less developed and will endure a lot more stress when attempting to digest maida.

2. Trans Fats

Trans Fats are a certain kind of fat used in processed food to maintain shape, flavour and consistency. However, not only is it completely lacking in nutrients, it can also cause serious problems, as it causes an imbalance in the good and bad cholesterol levels in the body. In babies, it is known to result in vision problems, nervous disorders, allergic conditions, diabetes and obesity. Many brands might mention that there is no trans fat in their product, but this is often misleading as there is almost always a small amount. Even this can be problematic for your baby.

3. No Nutrition

Simply put, biscuits just have nothing of nutritive value in them. They basically contain refined wheat flour, unhealthy fat, sodium potassium and a host of harmful synthetic substances.

4. Additives

The bane of anything processed is the necessity of chemical additives. This applies to most consumable products we use such as soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, readymade foods, and so on.

  • As biscuits contain substances that can spoil, they require preservatives such as BHA and BHT. These chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • Biscuits also require raising agents during the baking process such as baking soda, which can cause stomach problems like acid reflux in young toddlers and babies.
  • Emulsifying agents like glycerol monostearate are used to keep the fatty substances and water together in the food item. However, they have been shown to influence intestinal bacteria, causing problems with the digestive system.
  • Dough conditioners are used to make the dough stronger or more consistent. They are usually synthetic chemicals and your baby is better off avoiding them.
  • Finally, flavouring agents are almost always used in biscuits as natural flavours are not possible. These artificial substances are known to cause brain damage, chest problems, tumours and so on.

5. Constipation

Biscuits have almost no dietary fibre or roughage in them. As you are aware, roughage is important in the efficient passage of stools out of the body. This could cause severe constipation in your baby, which can have serious complications such as anal fissures, vomiting, faecal blood, and so on.

6. Too Much Sugar

Processed foods like biscuits and sodas have exorbitant amounts of refined sugar added to them to enhance the flavour. This is quite dangerous for a variety of reasons. First, it can cause mild addictions known as sugar rushes, making your baby crave for biscuits even at the expense of a healthy meal. Further, the sugar often used is known as invert sugar, as it is considerably sweeter than glucose. It is employed due to the small size of its crystals, allowing for a more uniform composition. Invert sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it can hold moisture quite well, preventing the biscuit from drying up on contact with air, improving the shelf life of the product. However, it can cause some major problems like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so on.

7. Empty Fillers

Biscuits provide nothing of value to your baby while still satiating their hunger. This also applies to other foods like these include sweets, chocolates, cakes, soft drinks, and so on. These items are known as empty calorie foods, as they provide energy for basic body functioning but nothing else. You can technically live off biscuits alone, but it would be a short and unhealthy life.

8. Allergic Reactions

Biscuits contain allergenic substances like gluten and soya lecithin. These can cause an allergic reaction in your baby. The reactions might be simple such as skin rashes or dangerous such as difficulty breathing due to lung inflammation.

Which Biscuits are Good for Babies?

Homemade biscuits

Store-bought biscuit brands are not recommended for all the reasons mentioned above. You can replace biscuits with healthier snacks like fruits, nuts, and so on. There no best biscuits for babies; however, here are some healthy options:

  • Homemade biscuits. Recipes for healthy biscuits for babies are easily available on the internet. You can use healthy ingredients like oats, ragi, millets, almonds, raisins and so on. However, ensure you avoid raising agents while baking.
  • Whole wheat biscuits. These don’t have any refined wheat flour in them.
  • Organic biscuits. These biscuits come without any artificial or synthetic chemicals like preservatives or additives.

When your baby begins eating solid food, meal options increase drastically. If it gets difficult to decide, you can always choose fresh organic food items like fresh fruits and vegetables. You can prepare a variety of dishes with these ingredients such as salads, smoothies and veggies. However, these can get boring quite fast. You can replace them with healthy homemade biscuits as the occasional snack, while strictly avoiding commercial or processed foods. If you have to use store-bought biscuits, ensure it is during an emergency such as during travel, and so on.

Also Read: Finger Foods for Your Baby