At What Stage of Development Can You Start Giving a Baby Broccoli?
You should be careful about when you start giving baby broccoli. For the first few months of his life, your baby is developing his digestive system. At this stage, certain foods can cause an upset tummy and gas. This includes many green vegetables which contain certain fibers and sugars that a younger infant can’t digest. Broccoli is one of those foods. And so it is generally suggested that you wait till your baby is about eight to ten months before giving him broccoli.
Thus you probably won’t be giving baby broccoli as one of his first foods. If your baby has had a lot of digestive issues, you might consider starting on the later rather than earlier side of the recommendation. Talk to your doctor all along the way as you introduce new foods. Your doctor, after all, should know more about the particular nutritional needs as well as any digestive issues of your baby. He can thus help you decide how different foods like broccoli fit into a well-rounded diet. His advice should be better than what you could gather simply from general recommendations.
When you do start giving baby broccoli, be careful about the amount you feed him. Broccoli contains nitrates, of which you don’t want your baby to get too much. Nitrates can be converted to nitrites, which are bad for a baby in high amounts. So you should avoid giving a baby too much broccoli.
Giving a Baby Broccoli as Part of a Well Rounded Diet
Broccoli needs to be part of a well-balanced diet. Vegetables are quite nutritious, but they don’t contain all of the necessary nutrients. For instance, they don’t have much fat and protein, which your baby needs.
At seven to eight months, provided he is still on the bottle or breast, your baby should get two to three tablespoons of vegetables a day. At nine months to a year, give your baby two to four tablespoons of vegetables. You can be giving baby broccoli as part of these portions, but he should also be getting a diversity of other vegetables. Thus your baby will get the different vitamins and minerals they contain. He also won’t be getting too much of those things that, in larger quantities, can be detrimental.
The taste of broccoli is not always the most pleasing to babies. For you, as a parent, giving baby broccoli and other non-sweet foods serve another function. You are getting him used to many different tastes. You are also keeping him from developing a sweet tooth by having too many sugary foods. Thus you are preventing his becoming a picky eater. This will help quite a bit down the road, both in terms of your child’s future health, and your sanity!
Even aside from nutrition, there are other great reasons your child should have a diverse diet in which they are introduced to a wide range of foods, like broccoli. However, if your infant is very reluctant to its taste, you can make a puree of broccoli with some sweeter vegetables like carrots. Feeding him this for a while will help him get used to it. As he gets used to it, you can introduce it with less of the other vegetables, and eventually by itself.
How to Prepare Broccoli for Your Baby
Whenever you are preparing to give baby broccoli, first make sure to wash it to remove any dirt or pesticides. Then, either steam your broccoli or warm it up in the microwave until fairly soft. Don’t boil it as you will lose many of the nutrients, including half the vitamin C in doing so. If your baby is not ready for finger foods, then you can make a puree. Cut broccoli florets into small pieces, don’t use the big stems as these will not make for an as smooth puree. Put these pieces into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
When he can pick things up by pinching his fingers, and can chew well, it is probably time to feed him finger foods. You can feed him small chopped up chunks. Make sure that the pieces are soft, and that they are not big enough to present a choking hazard. Keep an eye on him as always to make sure he is chewing and swallowing. Broccoli is an excellent choice for one of your baby’s first finger foods.
To summarize then, giving baby broccoli is a very healthy choice, so long as you do so in moderation and don’t give it to him too early. Broccoli is a vegetable-filled with many of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your baby needs, so if he’s ready for it, consider making broccoli a part of your baby’s well-balanced diet.
The Nutritional Value of Broccoli for Your Baby
Should you be giving baby broccoli? Broccoli is certainly very nutritious food. It contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and other healthy substances that your baby needs. A few of these include:
- Vitamin C: an important nutrient for your baby’s immune system
- Vitamin K: a nutrient that helps prevent blood clots
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that protects cells from damage
- Foliate: a nutrient for cell and tissue growth
- Potassium: necessary for electrolyte balance
- Magnesium: a mineral for the heart and immune system
- Calcium: an essential nutrient for building strong bones and teeth
- Sodium: also an important electrolyte (You shouldn’t be giving your baby getting too much sodium, but you need to be aware that he still needs some)
- Iron: helps your baby to avoid anemia
- Selenium: an antioxidant that protects your baby’s cells
- Trace amounts of zinc, manganese and other elements
Other Nutritional Components
- Dietary fiber: aids in digestion and healthy stools
All these nutrients provide for important aspects of your infant’s health, support body systems and the process of growth, and protect his immune system. Thus, giving baby broccoli, when he is ready, is a great idea so long as it is in balance with other nutritious foods.