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Everybody finds it difficult to recall the first time they had an ice-cream. But everybody almost never forgets the time when they see a baby taste ice-cream for the very first time. It’s an interesting experience for the babies too since they are exposed to a different taste, flavour and temperature of a food item for the first time in their life. However, there’s always a right time and a right way to let your baby taste the ice-cream.
Can Babies Have Ice Cream?
From prevailing common sense, everybody knows that ice-cream is an artificial product. It mostly consists of processed fat and sugar that is highly sweetened. Certain ice-creams may have other additives and other flavours might even have food colours added to them. Though mostly giving your baby an ice-cream is not recommended, there is no direct harm as such in giving them a small taste or a treat, once in a while.
When Can Your Baby Eat Ice-Cream?
Knowing that there is no harm in giving ice-cream, you may be wondering, when can I feed my baby ice-cream? Before introducing your baby to ice-cream, it’s best to get your baby familiar with a variety of dairy products. During the first year of its growth, gradually introduce to cheese, curd, paneer and gauge their response to it. This also ensures that your baby does not have any lactose related allergies, too. Once their body gets used to digesting these over the year, you can then introduce them to the beautiful taste of an ice-cream.
Tips For Introducing Ice Cream to Babies
Here are a few tips you can keep in mind before giving your baby ice cream for the first time.
1. Check Ingredients
Avoid ice-creams with nuts or other items in them, since your baby might be allergic to them and you are yet to discover it for yourself.
2. Well-Known Brands
Do not get ice-creams from street vendors or ice-cream carts. Purchase from a proper shop and a well-known brand of ice-cream.
3. Small Portions
Give them small bites of the ice-cream. Do not hand an entire cone or a complete spoonful or plate of ice-cream for them to gorge on. This could upset their stomach easily.
4. Vanilla Is King
Prefer a plain vanilla flavoured ice-cream at first. Not only is it a classic flavour that is universally loved, but it is free of any food colouring or other additives that might be present in other flavours.
5. Picture Perfect
Keep your camera ready! The facial expression of your baby tasting ice-cream for the first time is going to be priceless. Make sure you capture it in its full glory.
Why Should You Avoid Giving Ice Cream to Babies Below 1 Year?
There are certain drawbacks of giving babies ice cream before the age of one.
1. Digestive Strength
Prior to a year, the strength of the digestive system of the baby is not at a level that can easily digest the constituents of an ice-cream.
2. Presence Of Preservatives
All the ice-creams found in the market contain one of the other forms of preservatives. These are combined with processed fat, sugar, artificial sweetening agents, food colouring agents, and so on. Exposing your baby to all these factors at such an early stage is not good for their health.
3. Dairy Products
Certain infants could have sensitivity issues to dairy milk. Since all ice-creams are essentially manufactured using milk, it is best to avoid exposing your baby to whole milk until they start responding to other dairy product items gradually. Once a year has passed, the time would be ripe for it.
4. Presence Of Bacteria
Ice-cream is formed by an inherent chemical process. Therefore, there is a good chance of bacteria being present in it, whether it is ice-cream from the store or ice-cream prepared at home. For a baby whose immune system hasn’t developed to its peak efficiency under a year, such bacteria could spell health issues for your baby. At times, it could create a medical emergency as well.
5. Digestion Issues
Ice-cream is known to cause a buildup of gas and acts directly with the colic tissue. This could cause stomach ache and other pain inside the baby’s body, leading to indigestion and vomiting at times.
Alternatives to An Ice-Cream for Your Baby
- Crushed frozen fruits are a great option. Apples, mangoes, ripe bananas, can be kept in the freezer. They can then be directly blended in a frozen state.
- Smoothies are the healthy way to go in exposing your baby to the sweet flavour. Since smoothies don’t have to be strictly refrigerated, you can make fresh smoothies and give them to your child even in winters. Avoid canned fruits in such cases.
- Before making your baby taste the cold ice-cream, you can try your hand with frozen yoghurt and see their response to it.
Easy Baby Ice Cream Recipes for Infants
Here are some simple ice cream recipes for your little one
1. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- Ripe banana
- Hass avocado
- Coconut milk
- Coconut oil
- Vanilla extract
How to Make
a) Put all the ingredients in a mixer and blend them together to make a thick puree.
b) Place the puree in a container and put it in a freezer for an hour. On taking it out, stir the puree properly.
c) Place it in the freezer again for an hour. Keep repeating the process until it has reached a good consistency resembling an ice-cream.
2. Banana Ice Cream
- Ripe frozen banana
- Cocoa powder
How to Make
a) Put the frozen banana in a mixer, along with the cocoa powder. Run the mixer to blend the mixture together.
b) On adding some almond or peanut butter, the entire preparation can become a healthy snack in itself. A great ice cream for teething baby.
3. Frozen Yoghurt Ice Cream
- Greek yoghurt
- Vanilla extract
How to Make
a) Take a bowl and mix together the yoghurt, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix it well, cover the bowl with a lid and place it in the refrigerator.
b) Transfer the entire chilled mixture to an ice-cream maker. Freeze it again as long as it reaches a consistency resembling a soft serving.
c) Pour this into a separate container and keep it covered.
3. Chocolate Ice Cream
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Brown sugar
- Cream milk
- Vanilla extract
How to Make
a) Take a bowl and mix the cocoa powder, brown sugar and normal sugar in it together. Add some milk to it and keep stirring the mixture for a few minutes.
b) Follow it up with the addition of cream, vanilla extract and salt to the mixture and stir it further.
c) Pour the entire mixture into an ice cream maker and churn the entire mixture together for half an hour.
d) Freeze the entire mixture until it gets hard.
Introducing your baby to ice-cream is a prized moment in itself. And the way to keep it healthy and safe is by opting to go for home-made ice cream. It’s best to add some healthy constituents to the ice cream so that it becomes nutritious as the baby enjoys tasting it. Have patience and let your baby get a year old until they taste it. And once they get a little older, you can let them have a larger portion and watch them go nuts over it.
Also Read: Watermelon Benefits and Recipes for Babies