Seeds can be a great addition to your baby’s diet as they are a source of fibre and important minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. As you approach the exciting stage of starting solids, you may be wondering if or when you can include seeds in your little one’s food.
In this article, we break down when you can add seeds to your baby’s food, what seeds you can introduce and tips for how you should go about including them.
When can I introduce seeds?
Seeds can be a choking hazard for babies and it is not recommended that you serve whole seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Until the age of 12 months, it is generally recommended that all seeds like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds should be ground to reduce the risk of choking.
If ground, seeds can be introduced into your baby’s diet as soon as they start solids. You can ground the seeds into a fine meal by using a food processor or coffee grinder, or you can often find ground versions of some seeds at the grocery store.
How to introduce seeds?
Seeds can be a great addition to your baby’s meal as they are a source of fibre, protein and Omega-3 fatty acids and contain many important vitamins and minerals… but can there be too much of a good thing? Or should we all be out here loading up each meal with seeds? Well, while there is no firm recommended daily amount – seeds are a large source of fibre which can cause digestive discomfort or diarrhoea in high amounts.
So, the best approach is to slowly introduce them over time, and monitor how they are affecting your little one’s bowel movements (how fun…!) These ground seeds can be added to things like yoghurt, rice porridge, purees and even on top of things like toast and pasta.
Can seeds cause allergic reactions?
Some seeds can result in an allergic reaction in some babies – sesame is a common allergen for example.
- Choose a day where two adults with be available at home
- Only introduce one new common food allergen at a time
- Avoid testing the food on the skin, this may increase reactivity to a food allergen
- Ensure you have time to observe your child for up to one hour after you introduce the food allergen.
- Know the signs of a food allergic reaction. Allergic reactions usually occur quickly – within minutes, although they can take up to 1 hour. Other reactions to food may be delayed
- Once a food allergen is introduced, unless your baby has an allergic reaction to the food, continue to give the food to your baby regularly (twice weekly), as part of a varied diet. Trying a food and then not giving it regularly may result in a food allergy developing.
When first exposing your baby to seeds, mix a small amount (¼ teaspoon) of the food allergen into your baby’s usual food (such as vegetable puree) and observe for the next hour for any reactions. If there is no reaction you can gradually increase the amount next time.
What seeds are good for babies?
So what seeds are a good choice for integrating into your child’s food? Some great seeds include:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- poppy seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- psyllium seeds
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
All of the above seeds are a great addition to your baby’s food. They are all rich sources of healthy fats, fibre and protein and contain important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and vitamin 3.
When it comes to what seed choices will be right for your family, it is a good place to start with what is easy and readily available. If you already enjoy making chia pudding for yourself, you can easily then also add chia seeds to your baby’s fruit or vegetable puree or yoghurt.
Often, when we start thinking about how we can add seeds to our baby’s food – it can get us to think about how we can get more seeds into our own diets as well which is a plus. We are all for parenting smarter not harder, so when thinking about which seeds to buy at the store – look for options that work for both of you, while also keeping diversity in mind. Many seeds that can be added to your baby’s puree, pasta, or yoghurt can also be added to your smoothies, lunches and dinners.
You can also find seed butters like sunflower and pumpkin butter which can also be an easy option you can find at the grocery store to add to things like toast, yoghurt or muffins. Just be conscious to pick an option that doesn’t have any added sugars or salt.
In conclusion, seeds are a great addition to your baby’s diet that can be introduced when they begin solids. Ground seeds until 12 months and full seeds after that, are easy to add to their yoghurts, purees, pasta, sauces, toast and muffins and have a tonne of nutritional benefits – plus they make great snacks for mum or dad too!