CAN MY BABY HAVE HERBS AND SPICES?
Written by nutritionist Catherine Lippe RNutr BSc(Hons).
Herbs and spices can be a great way to flavour your baby’s food and broaden their palate. While starting with plain vegetables is a fantastic way to begin weaning, herbs and mild spices can add a splash of flavour to your little one’s food later on when they are becoming more adventurous with food.
The following herbs and spices are suitable for babies from 6 months onwards and can be introduced when you’re ready to move on from plain foods.
It is a good idea to focus on the herbs and ingredients you cook with regularly as a family. This choice will ensure your baby is ready for enjoying your family meals as they grow older.
Which Herbs Can Babies Eat?
- Herbs de Provence
Which Spices Can Babies Eat?
- Garam masala
- Mild curry powder (check for no added salt)
- Mixed spice
- Ground cloves
Flavourful Ingredients Babies Can Eat
- Lemon and lime juice
Flavourings to Avoid for Babies
- Salty sauces such as soya sauce
- Spice or herb mixes that included added salt
- High salt stock cubes – look for zero or very low salt stock cubes instead
- Honey, syrups or added sugar
Too much salt can be harmful to babies, and it is essential to limit salty foods during weaning. If you add salt to your recipes, make sure you remove a portion for your baby before you add the salt. This will ensure your baby’s food remains salt-free.
It is also important to look out for spice or herbs mixes, sauces and condiments that may already contain salt. Check the labels of any sauces you use, and if it has added salt, it is best to avoid using it for your baby’s meals.
Avoiding added sugar during weaning is also a good idea. Sugar, syrups and very sweet foods can promote a preference for sweetened food and, in the long term, can contribute to tooth decay. It is vital to avoid honey for babies under the age of 12 months. Honey contains a type of bacteria that can cause infant botulism and may make your baby sick.
Ingredients to be Careful with for Babies
Be careful with:
- Hot chillies or cayenne pepper
Can Babies Eat Spicy Food?
Hot spices, pepper and chilli are not necessarily harmful to your baby in small quantities but can add a lot of heat to dishes and may be uncomfortable for your baby if they’re not used to it.
If you regularly use chilli or hot spices in your cooking and want to include these ingredients for your baby too, then start slowly. Try introducing milder spices at first and gradually introduce hot spices in tiny quantities as your baby begins to enjoy and explore more flavour combinations.
Allergies to herbs and spices are very rare; however, it is always a good idea to introduce any new food one at a time and to look out for any symptoms or reactions to the new ingredient.
Once your baby is used to a variety of herbs and spices that you enjoy cooking with, there will be no stopping them on their weaning journey!
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