Is Chocolate Safe for Babies?
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- Video: Giving Chocolates to Babies- When & How to Introduce
- Can Babies Eat Chocolate?
- When to Introduce Chocolate to Your Baby?
- How Do You Introduce Chocolate to Babies?
- Allergens Found in Chocolate
- Spotting a Food Allergy
- What Happens If Your Baby Accidentally Ate Chocolate?
- Other Concerns Related to Giving Chocolate to Your Baby
- When You Should Not Give Chocolates to Baby?
When it comes to indulging in sweet treats, chocolate often tops the list for many children. Almost all kids love chocolate and quite naturally. It’s sweet, and it’s delicious, and there is virtually nothing to not like about it. However, many parents are concerned about the safety and the right time to introduce chocolate to their babies. This stems from concerns about health and allergies that can be caused due to chocolates. In this article, we will delve into this topic, exploring the potential risks and benefits of a baby eating chocolate.
Video: Giving Chocolates to Babies- When & How to Introduce
While babies would enjoy the taste of chocolate, it is best to refrain from giving it to them, especially under the age of one, as it contains a small amount of caffeine. Although not present in quantities enough to affect an adult, for babies, this may be more than enough. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase blood pressure and heart rate.
Chocolate also contains other stimulants like sugar, theobromine, and phenylethylamine, all of which can have stimulating effects on your baby’s nervous system. Moreover, chocolate also has anandamide, which can affect the functioning of the brain if consumed in large quantities.
When to Introduce Chocolate to Your Baby?
When can babies have chocolate? If you are unsure about what age babies can eat chocolate, here’s your answer – it is best to wait until your baby is at least a year old before introducing chocolate to him. When you decide to give chocolate to your baby, ensure that there are no potential allergens that can cause reactions. It is also best to start with dark chocolate.
While there are no specific guidelines on how you should be introducing chocolate to your little one, it is best to start with a taste after he is one year old. If he has no negative reaction to it, you can gradually increase the quantity little by little.
You can also add some dark chocolate powder to milk and give it to your baby. However, chocolate milk has high amounts of sugar, so it should be given in moderation. Milk should not be introduced to children under the age of one. Always ensure that you check the labels for additives in chocolates.
Allergens Found in Chocolate
There isn’t enough evidence claiming that chocolate can cause an allergy in babies. However, it is possible that chocolate may contain elements that can cause allergies in babies. Some of the potential allergens are:
Make sure you always read the labels for allergy caution before giving chocolate to your baby.
Children whose parents or siblings have an allergy are more likely to have allergies. Even if there is no history of allergies at home, you will need to look out for signs and symptoms that indicate an allergy in your baby.
Some signs include:
- Rashes or hives
- Asthmatic symptoms or difficulty breathing
- Constant sneezing
- Redness in the eyes or watery eyes
- Swelling of the throat and tongue
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
In such cases, you will need to consult your baby’s doctor right away or reach out to an allergy specialist to treat the condition.
What Happens If Your Baby Accidentally Ate Chocolate?
If your baby accidentally eats chocolate, don’t worry; it will not harm them in a significant way. However, do check for any symptoms of chocolate allergy, and if it does not suffice, you leave it. If your little one shows any sign of discomfort sometime after eating chocolate, visit the doctor without any delay.
Other Concerns Related to Giving Chocolate to Your Baby
Apart from allergies, there are a few other concerns that you should keep in mind when giving chocolate to your baby.
- Digestion: Babies are used to breast milk for the first six months, and their digestive systems are not conditioned to process chocolate or other solid foods. Hence, it is best to wait until your baby is a year old and has tried other solid foods.
- Aversion to healthy foods: It is better to keep chocolate away from the baby until he’s tried out healthy foods and has developed a taste for them. If your baby gets an early taste of chocolate, he may shun healthy food.
- Tooth decay: Babies are just developing their baby teeth which are more prone to tooth decay caused by sugar. Sugar promotes the growth of acid-producing bacteria, which can lead to poor dental health.
- Choking hazard: Chocolates that contain nuts or hard candies can be a choking hazard to babies and should be avoided.
When You Should Not Give Chocolates to Baby?
Children above the age of two can safely consume a moderate amount of chocolate without any worry. However, there are cases when babies both under and above the age of two should not be given chocolate. Let’s decode when not to give chocolate to babies:
- Before Bedtime: Giving chocolate products to babies and toddlers should be avoided within a few hours of bedtime, as caffeine in chocolate can make sleeping difficult for babies, even if it is a small amount.
- Babies With Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Babies diagnosed with IBS should avoid foods like chocolate that can worsen these symptoms.
- Babies With Food Intolerances: If your baby has known food intolerances or allergies, especially to chocolate, it’s crucial to be cautious. In such cases, consulting a paediatrician before introducing chocolate can be a wise step.
- Infants With (GERD): Infants with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can be sensitive to acidic foods, and chocolate falls into this category. Given its acidity, chocolate can exacerbate acid reflux in infants with GERD.
1. Can I give chocolate desserts to my baby?
Chocolate desserts like cake, chocolate bars, and chocolate pudding can be given to babies in very small amounts, too occasionally and not frequently. Although there is not enough caffeine in a few bites, there is a risk of cavities in babies’ milk teeth due to added sugars in chocolates.
2. Can I give white chocolate to my baby?
Although white chocolate is devoid of caffeine, it still contains a lot of sugar and lacks the same health benefits as dark chocolate. Hence it is not advised to give babies white chocolate frequently. It is ideal to give every small amount, and that too occasionally, similar to brown chocolate.
It is important to establish a preference for healthy food in babies at a young age. While an occasional bite of chocolate may not cause harm, giving your baby a lot of chocolate from a young age could put him at risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity. Therefore, chocolate should only be given in moderation.
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