Introducing Nuts to a Baby – How & When to Give
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When it comes to introducing solid foods to your little one who has just managed to show the early signs of being prepared for it, you are right to feel worried and be extra careful about what you expose your baby too. Solid food items are a novelty for babies and their bodies, which can either digest them successfully or respond unexpectedly to certain substances present in them. Same goes for any scenario when you might think of introducing walnuts for babies or any other kind of tree nuts, to check if he ends up liking them. While nuts don’t pose a direct threat to children in a way, their ability to give rise to allergic reactions can very well decide whether they are safe for your little one or not.
Is It Safe to Give Nuts to a Baby?
Nuts are one of the natural products that are found in vegetation around the world. Since they naturally integrate into the diet of many people, giving them to your baby is not particularly dangerous. Nuts can e introduced into a baby’s diet from around 9-10 months of age. But you should do so only after checking with your baby’s paediatrician. You must also check in what form the nuts should be introduced.
When Can You Give Nuts to Your Baby?
Be it a single peanut or an entire platter of various nuts that you have procured, knowing the right time to introduce them to your baby is extremely necessary. Furthermore, no medical study or research has arrived at a conclusive age or period that can be deemed ideal to let a baby try out nuts for the first time. The presence of nut-based allergies is pretty common, which can further make your decision a bit dicey. However, it is a good practice to let your baby get used to other solid food items initially and then introduce nuts in his diet. You could start giving your baby nuts as early as 9-10 months of age or you can introduce it once he turns 1 year old. Some parents also add nuts in their children’s once they have crossed their toddler years, i.e., after 3 years of age.
Nutritional Benefits of Nuts for Infants
The variety of nuts that are available to us is just a simple sign of a large number of nutritional benefits their inclusion in the diet can provide to the infants. Most of these are extremely essential to support their initial phases of development.
- Many nuts such as peanuts and pistachios tend to contain resveratrol. This helps in supporting the development of their immune system.
- Including nuts regularly in a child’s diet helps support his brain function and development.
- Nuts usually contain unsaturated fats. These fats are highly beneficial for the body, as compared to other kinds of fat.
- For families that are primarily vegetarian, nuts provide the necessary amount of protein that the baby’s body would usually need.
- Nuts also contain enough fibrous elements within it, which can help take care of any bouts of constipation and stimulate the digestion in a baby.
- Some nuts also contain phosphorous in good amounts. This plays a key role in developing the teeth and bones in young babies effectively.
- Walnuts are known to be a rich reserve of omega-3 acids, which are highly essential in maintaining good health and proper blood circulation.
- The presence of vitamin E, flavonoids, and various antioxidants in a bunch of nuts make sure that the waste material inside the baby’s body is flushed out effectively.
How to Introduce Nuts to Babies
Once your little one begins to show some interest in taking solid foods, you can slowly start prepping him to develop a taste for nuts. While we may eat nuts wholly, some of them could cause your little ones to choke on them. Therefore, crushing the nuts into small pieces or even in a powdered form could be a great way to add the nuts in your child’s diet.
Nut Allergy in Infants
It could be cashew nuts or it could be a specific type of a tree nut, but an allergic reaction to the presence of nuts is not a novelty. The allergic reaction is what keeps most parents at bay from introducing nuts to their baby.
Nuts That May Cause Allergy
While a bunch of everyday nuts might usually be safe for kids, tree nuts generally pose a higher chance of allergy. Some of them are:
Smart Ways to Include Nuts in a Baby’s Diet
One of the easiest ways to include nuts in the diet of your little one is by making use of nuts powder for babies. This powder can be introduced in various baby food preparations in multiple ways, such as:
- Adding the powder to the mix used to make cookies and laddoos.
- Mixing the powder with the dough used to make parantha.
- Any mashed preparations for the baby that can have a better taste with nuts.
- Mixing a little proportion of the powder with milk to increase its nutritional value substantially.
- You can spread almond or cashew nut or peanut butter on toast and give it to your child.
- You can use pine nut or olive oil to make khichdi for your baby.
The benefits of nuts are quite extensive and the flavour that they bring by their inclusion in certain dishes is quite remarkable. By maintaining a level of precaution and introducing nuts only after your baby is ready to eat them, you can make sure they are safe for him and, consequently, widen his preferred food choices.
Also Read: Introducing Dry fruits to Babies