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In addition to breast milk or formula milk, you will want to introduce certain solid foods to your baby once he is ready for solids. But being a new mom, of course, you will think twice (as you should) before introducing any new food to him. As babies have tiny tummies and a delicate digestive system, they don’t eat much, and that’s why it is important that whatever food they are given is nutritious and safe for them. Dry fruits are a healthy option as they contain a lot of nutrients, but before including them in your baby’s diet, you will need to keep certain things in mind. Read on to know whether dry fruits are safe for babies or not and if yes, when you can introduce them.
What Are Dry or Dried Fruits?
Dried fruits are basically fresh fruits that are dried up. Fresh fruits are dehydrated (their water content is removed) either by conventional sun-drying method or by using dehydrators. But the nutritional content of these fruits remains the same even after dehydration. Dry fruits are popular as they can be stored for much longer than fresh fruits.
Are Dry Fruits Safe for Infants?
Yes, dried or dry fruits are safe for babies and infants and can offer them tons of nutrients. You can give dried fruits by soaking them in milk or water but only when your baby turns 1 year of age. You must not opt for dry fruits that are coated with sugar as they can give way to cavities and tooth decay. Furthermore, when introducing dried fruits to your baby, you can soak them in water to soften them before giving to your baby. This will assist in better absorption of nutrients. And while giving almonds to your little one, peel their skin to avoid any irritation to your baby’s throat. Remember, dried fruits should only be given after soaking in milk or water once a baby turns 1 year of age.
When to Give Dry Fruits to Babies
If you are planning to introduce dried fruits in your baby’s diet, the ideal time would be between 7 and 9 months of age. By this time, you will have already introduced finger foods and other soft foods to him. It is around this time, you can slowly add dried fruits in his diet too. Since dry fruits are heavy on the digestive system, it is best that you give your baby some time to get used to other light solid foods firsts before giving him dry fruits.
You will also need to consider the possibility of allergies. Some babies are allergic to some dry fruits. So try the 3-day rule and look for signs for allergy in your baby. If you notice any signs of allergy in him after introducing a particularly dried fruit, stop giving it immediately. Note: Do not introduce dried fruits to your baby before he turns 1 year of age.
Health Benefits of Dried Fruits for a Child
Dry fruits offer a host of benefits to babies that can help them grow and develop properly. Mentioned below are some benefits of dry fruits for a child.
1. Prevent Anaemia
Dried fruits are a rich source of iron, hence, they promote haemoglobin levels in the blood. And good haemoglobin levels prevents the risk of anaemia in babies.
2. Provide Energy
Dry fruits, being a rich source of fibre, protein, zinc, iron, and other minerals, can provide your baby with energy. Including dried fruits in your baby’s diet will keep them energetic and healthy.
3. Prevent Constipation
Dry fruits contain a good amount of fibre which will aid bowel movement in babies and help prevent constipation.
4. Promote Digestive Health
Dried fruits contain a lot of probiotics or good bacteria which can keep your baby’s digestive system healthy. Probiotics will help develop the digestive system of your baby and also aid in the digestion of food.
5. Promote Bone and Eye Health
Dry fruits are rich in Vitamin A and calcium. Vitamin A can strengthen and help maintain a healthy vision in your baby and calcium can aid in the development and maintenance of his bones.
6. Aid Brain Development
The omega-3 fatty acids present in dry fruits and nuts like walnuts can help in the brain development of babies.
Delicious Dry Fruit Recipes for Your Baby
Here are some simple recipes that you can try to incorporate dry fruits into your baby’s diet.
1. Date Fruit and Fig Milk
Here is a simple recipe of date fruit and fig milk. But remember, give this to your baby only after he turns 1 year of age.
- Dates – 1-2
- Figs – 2
- Milk – 1 cup
- Boil the dates and figs in milk or water.
- Strain the milk through a fine sieve in a glass and give it to your baby.
2. Baby Cereal With Dry Fruit Puree
This simple breakfast recipe can add more flavour to your baby’s regular breakfast cereal.
- Bananas – 1
- Apricots – 2
- Peaches – 2
- Applesauce – 1/2 cup
- Prunes – 2
- Baby cereal (as required)
- Milk – 3 cups
- Puree the fruits, dry fruits, and applesauce together.
- You can make the consistency of the puree thinner by adding some milk into it.
- Pour this over baby cereal and serve.
Note: The images of the recipes show coarse nuts and dry fruits. Be sure to blend them properly to prevent your baby from choking on them. Also, introduce these recipes once your baby turns 1 year of age and after checking with your baby’s paediatrician.
Dry fruits are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for your baby. Introducing them to your little one at the right time and in the right way can allow him to enjoy the flavour and the health benefits of dry fruits thoroughly. However, consult your baby’s paediatrician before introducing them to your baby’s diet. If the doctor gives a go-ahead, introduce one dry fruit at a time and watch out for allergies in your baby.