Can Babies Have Chia Seeds?
Can you give your baby chia seeds?
Yes, babies can eat chia seeds. Not only is it safe for babies to eat pre-soaked chia seeds, but it’s actually incredibly beneficial for them.
It’s vital for babies to be exposed to a broad range of textures and foods at an early age. Chia seeds not only expose your baby to the wonders of texture, but also lend a nutritional boost to a weaning milk-based diet.
Chia Seeds: Radical Superfood
Chia seeds are abundant in antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Antioxidants have come under particular nutritional scrutiny over the last few years, as more information on the biological impact of free radicals has come to light.
Put simply, free radicals are atoms that suddenly become incredibly unstable. They can emanate from a broad range of sources, from carcinogenics such as cigarette smoke, to natural metabolic processes. They play a large role in the aging process.
Free radical atoms last for only a few seconds, but upon collision with a human cell it is theorized that metabolic damage occurs.
The dangerous particle breaks apart the DNA structures of a cell, leading to cell death. Antioxidants aid in the neutralisation of these free radicals, preventing their formation within the body, and reducing the damage they would cause.
Chia seeds contain high levels of anti-oxidants, meaning that they can help promote overall health. Alongside the amazing health benefits that adults can take advantage of, chia seeds offer even greater benefits to a baby’s diet. First, let’s take a look at what your baby needs after their first 6 months.
Baby Nutrition Basics
In the first 6 months, babies recieve all of their nutritional content through breastmilk and/or formula. The weaning process begins at roughly 6 months – though this depends on your baby’s own development. You can tell a baby is ready to start trying ‘real’ foods when they can:
- stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
- co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves
- swallow food (rather than spit it back out)
It’s incredibly important to expose your baby to variety of textures as often as possible. Initially, the specific nutritional contents of the foodstuff is less important. Instead, the focus should be on allowing the baby to learn the process of chewing and swallowing.
Initially, pureed and mashed foods will form the backbone of their solid food consumption. It’s recommended to start with savoury items, teaching them to enjoy their vegetables at an early stage.
At this stage, it’s vital not to leave your baby alone with solid foods. They’re still learning how much food they can handle at once: the risk of choking is very high.
Once they’ve successfully established how to eat, you can delve deeper into the nutritional content of their solids. Don’t stress too heavily about it, however: breastmilk and/or formula will continue to provide your little one with almost all of their nutritional requirements in their first year.
Feeding Your Baby Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are fantastic to add to a baby’s developing diet due to their taste, texture and nutritional content.
Firstly, they’re very accessible to a baby’s developing mouth. Soaked chia seeds have a mushy, goopy consistency; soft to a baby’s gums. The texture is new and exciting,
Chia seeds also follow the advice to introduce savoury before sweet. In fact, chia seeds are almost tasteless, making them an intriguing, fascinating first exploration into the world of texture and mouthfeel.
The nutritional content of baby’s first solid foods is important to keep an eye on. For example, babies should not eat salty foods; it’s not good for their kidneys.
Sugar should also be avoided, at risk of damaging their developing teeth. It’s important to include plenty of sources of iron, as iron contributes heavily to brain development.
Though babies are born with a reserve of iron, which comes from their mother’s blood while they are in the womb, it is recommended to introduce more iron from 7 months of age.
Chia seeds contain 7.72 mg of iron per 100g. From 7-12 months, it is recommended for a baby to consume 11mg of iron a day. A baby’s first solid foods will help set them up for a lifetime of healthy, balanced eating.
The Dangers of Feeding Chia Seeds
Though chia seeds are largely a positive addition to your 6 month old’s diet, there are a few hazards to be aware of during this time.
One major hazard is that chia is bought as dry seeds. These expand upon contact with liquid (such as saliva); during this process, it is possible for the seeds to bond together in clumps. Feeding your baby dry chia seeds is absolutely not recommended, as it further elevates the already-high risk of choking.
Pre-soaked seeds are a must.
Chia seeds are nutritionally dense, and packed with soluble fibre. Though this helps prevent baby constipation, it is important not to overdo it. Too much fibre can cause digestive discomfort, and reduce your baby’s appetite.
Furthermore, chia seeds contain small amounts of anti-nutrients called oxalates: when consumed in great excess, these can tax the kidneys and block the body’s absorption of other vital minerals such as calcium.
Finally, it is important not to be too eager with your baby’s first solids. Introducing solid foods before 6 months is associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.
The weaning process can be an amazing period of bonding with your baby. It may not always be easy – some foods or textures will need 10 or more attempts to successfully eat – but this stage is as delightful as it is messy.
Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own!
On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!