When and How to Introduce Bread to Babies
Bread is one of the easiest, most hassle-free and preferred breakfast options, and many of us enjoy its taste as much as its practicality. You may want to add this yummy food to your baby’s diet as well, but when is the right time to do so? Read on to find out the best time to introduce bread to babies and more.
Is It Safe to Give Bread to Infants?
Is bread good for babies? Your little one’s nutritional needs are of prime importance, so it’s essential that you know beforehand. Feeding your baby bread largely depends on how old he is and whether or not he is allergic to bread. First of all, it is not recommended that you give bread or any other solid foods to your baby before six months of age unless the doctor advises you to do so. Secondly, it is important to establish whether or not your baby is allergic to bread. Before you go for any trial-and-error methods, we recommend you consult your doctor for the same. After your doctor gives you a heads-up, you may safely add bread to your baby’s diet.
When Can You Give Bread to a Baby?
When can babies eat bread and butter, you ask? It is wise to add bread to your baby’s diet only after your doctor has established that he is not allergic, and he is over 6 months old. Ideally, the best time to add bread to your baby’s diet is around 1 year of age.
Which Bread Is Best for Babies?
The next question that may concern you is, which is the best bread for your baby? There are numerous options available in the market today – whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, low salt bread, white bread and brown bread just to name a few, and choosing one can be confusing. There is no doubt that brown bread is power-packed with nutrients because it is made with whole grains; on the other hand, white bread is ripped off many of its nutrients because it is made using refined flour. However, the amount of fibre in brown bread may not be suitable for small babies because it can fill their bellies and reduce their appetite, which means lesser room for other foods and nutrients. Also, more amounts of fibre in the diet may hamper with the zinc and iron absorption by the body. Therefore, it is a good idea to give white bread instead of brown bread to babies, keeping in mind that it may not give them a lot of nutrition.
How Much Bread Should You Give Your Infant?
As discussed in the above section, white bread is not rich in vital nutrients that are important for the optimal growth and development of a baby. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not go overboard feeding large amounts of bread to your baby. Before getting your baby the right bread, remember that storebought bread contains a lot of sodium owing to the salt content – a baby’s system is too fragile to handle too much salt. So, ensure that you don’t feed your baby too much bread. We recommend adding small amounts of bread to his diet three to four times a week.
Simple Bread Recipes for Babies
Looking for ways to introduce bread to your little one? Here we have some easy-to-make, yummy bread recipes for babies. However, before introducing bread or any other food, you should ensure that your baby is not allergic to it. The ingredients in the recipe mentioned below are otherwise safe, but they may cause an allergic reaction in babies. So it’s advisable to introduce such food after checking with the baby’s paediatrician and only if your baby is above 1 year of age.
1. Jam and Bread Fingers
Babies may love the taste of jam, and this is a great sweet treat.
- White bread
- Any jam (mango, strawberry or mixed fruit jam; make sure you buy one with natural ingredients)
How to Prepare
- Take the bread and cut the sides.
- Cut the bread into long strips.
- Spread the jam generously on the bread, and serve.
2. Butter and Bread Fingers
This is a great savoury treat for your baby.
- White bread slices
- Butter or ghee
How to Prepare
- Cut the coarse sides of the bread.
- Spread a nice layer of butter or ghee.
- Cut the bread into elongated slices and serve.
3. French Toast
- Egg – 1 whole
- Bread – cut into small square or elongated pieces
- Sugar or salt to taste
- Butter for frying
How to Prepare
- Break an egg into a bowl.
- Whisk the egg nicely. Add sugar and mix well. Alternatively, put salt and mix well.
- Heat a pan and grease it nicely with butter.
- Dunk the bread pieces in the egg mixture and coat each piece well. Place them in the hot pan.
- Cook well on both sides.
- Serve warm French toast to your baby.
4. Peanut Butter and Bread Fingers
This recipe comes with the nutritional benefits of peanuts; however, ensure that your baby has no peanut allergies.
- White bread slices
- Peanut butter (homemade works well too)
- Some butter to toast the bread
How to prepare
- Heat the pan and grease the same with the butter.
- Toast them lightly on both sides.
- Take the pan off the flame; spread some peanut butter on the toast.
- Cut it into smaller pieces and feed your baby.
A Word of Caution
Milk and other dairy products have a high potential of causing allergy and affecting the gut health of the baby. The egg white is also commonly associated with food allergies. Fruits are largely safe for babies, but in rare cases, some babies may find it difficult to tolerate it due to an inherited condition called fructose intolerance. Wheat, oats, rye, and barley contain a protein called gluten which is difficult to digest in some inherited digestive disorders. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the world. If you are introducing the above foods to your baby, it’s better to rule out such food allergies in other family members to be sure.
Alternatives to Bread for Babies
Families for whom bread is a staple in their diet may wonder what other options they can add safely to their baby’s diet. Well, there are many other healthier options that you can try, such as:
- Pancakes made with buckwheat flour
- Corn cakes or rice cakes
Bread is good for babies (if they are not allergic, of course!), but everything in excess may have ill-effects on your baby’s health. Therefore, add moderate amounts of bread in your baby’s diet once he turns 1 year of age. And do consult your baby’s doctor before making any new inclusions in your baby’s diet.
Resources and References: New Ways Nutrition
Also Read: When to Introduce Solid Foods to Babies