It’s almost summertime! If you’re a parent, you’re probably thinking about when can you give your baby ice cream.
Ice cream is a delicious treat for all ages. It’ll be hard to not give your baby ice cream while you’re enjoying some this summer!
However, it’s important to keep in mind that your baby’s digestive system is not fully developed yet. You have to think twice about which foods you decide to give depending on your baby’s age.
So when is it safe to give a baby ice cream?
The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford recommends waiting until at least 9-12 months before giving a baby ice cream. Just keep your eyes open for any vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes that may appear as signs your baby isn’t ready for ice cream. She may be sensitive to dairy or any of the other ingredients.
Fat is good!
Many websites will state that ice cream is bad for the baby because babies should not eat a lot of fat (from the whole cream and whole milk). This is WRONG!
First, whole milk is only about 2.5% – 3.5% fat. That’s not a huge amount of fat!
Also, according to Standford Children’s Health:
“Fat and cholesterol shouldn’t be restricted in the diets of very young children, unless advised by your child’s doctor. Children need calories, fat, and cholesterol for the development of their brains and nervous systems, and for general growth.” // StanfordChildrens.org
Dr. Sears agrees. Babies need full-fat foods. For toddlers:
“Feed your toddler a right-fat and not a low-fat diet. The best fats for babies are omega-3 fats, found in oily, coldwater fish, primarily salmon. Seafood fats (especially wild salmon) are the healthiest fats for growing children—and for adults for that matter. Other healthy fats are flax oil (2-3 teaspoons a day mixed in oatmeal or a smoothie), olive oil (2-3 teaspoons a day) and nut butters (a tablespoon a day).” // Parenting.com
Note that the list above is the “best” fats for babies. He doesn’t mention milk fats, probably because whole milk is not a concentrated source of fat, but notice he does mention smoothies – often made with milk!
Now that you know when can you give a baby ice cream, here are a couple of extra tips to keep in mind when giving this treat to your baby for the first time.
Choose the right ice cream.
First of all, most ice cream is full of sugar. That’s not particularly healthy for your baby.
Another major drawback of ice cream for babies is the additional preservatives and food coloring contained in almost all commercial ice creams. If you want to give your baby ice cream, choose whole food sources with ingredients that are familiar (and that you can pronounce!).
Even better, make it yourself! That way, you know exactly what your baby is eating.
Start with small bites.
You don’t want your baby to get a “brain freeze” so make sure you put a small bite of ice cream into a spoon and then give it your baby. You can also wait for it to start melting a little bit.
Don’t put pressure on your baby.
If you notice your baby is frowning, maybe it’s just not the right time for ice cream. You should not insist your baby eat ice cream. If he or she is not in the mood, that’s okay! Instead, wait for another opportunity for your baby to taste this treat for the first time.
While some parents can’t resist sneaking a little spoonful of ice cream here and there to their babies, make sure you introduce ice cream like any other food to your baby.
Start with small bites and see if there is any reaction, as this approach is best for determining allergies and intolerance to food at an early stage. Before making any decisions, make sure that you are well-informed, and then you will know the exact time when can you give a baby ice cream without any risks.
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