Can my baby eat grits?
When your baby starts to eat solid foods your pediatrician will probably recommend that you feed your baby rice cereal mixed into a consistency that looks similar to cream of wheat or grits. This may have made you wonder if you could add some variety to your baby’s diet and give them grits instead. Grits, which you might know as polenta if you don’t live in the south, are made of ground corn. Pediatricians do not recommend that you feed your baby grits before one year of age because it lacks much nutritional value. However, it is safe to start feeding your baby grits at eight months and there are ways to boost the nutritional value that make it a good cereal option especially if your baby is not a fan of rice cereal or if grits is something you keep on hand already.
1. Should I feed my baby grits?
Pediatricians do not recommend feeding your baby grits before one year of age. Grits are made of corn, which is a cereal grain but not the best choice for your baby’s diet. Most pediatricians agree that rice cereal is the best option for a baby younger than one year. While feeding your baby grits is not dangerous grits do not offer much in the way of nutritional value. They are high in iron but not much else. If your baby is otherwise eating a healthy diet they are likely already getting enough iron in their diet. There are much better ways to ensure that your baby is getting a good, balanced diet than introducing grits.
2. Feeding your baby grits before one year of age
It is safe to feed your baby grits as young as eight months. It is safe to start feeding your baby grits as early as eight months old. Although there are better sources of nutrition among the cereal grains your baby can eat and digest grits at around eight months. Make sure that when you prepare the grits that you prepare a very runny, loose mixture. Don’t be tempted into adding too many rich flavors, especially when you are first introducing grits. Also, do not use instant grits that are ground differently than regular grits.
3. Should I be concerned about allergies?
Corn allergies are relatively rare but an allergic reaction is always a possibility. An allergic reaction to corn is hard to diagnose because it usually looks like indigestion or upset stomach. This is why it is important to keep an eye on your baby once you start feeding them corn-based foods to see if they are having digestive issues. If you notice a pattern of upset stomach when you feed your baby corn call your pediatrician to see what they recommend. They may order an allergy test or just recommend that you stop feeding your baby corn until they are older.
4. How should I prepare the grits?
Don’t go overboard when you’re making grits for your baby. You probably like your grits mixed with cheese, butter, shrimp, gravy, or sausage. Grits are a great canvas for all kinds of flavor combinations. However, your baby isn’t going to appreciate these rich flavors just yet. Start your baby off with plain grits prepared with water and maybe some breast milk or formula to thin out the mixture. As you want to introduce other flavors to the grits make sure that you introduce those flavors separately first. If want to add cheese to the grits then make sure that your baby has tried, and liked, cheese beforehand. Babies have very simple palettes and they don’t need their meals to be too fancy.
5. A weaned baby will benefit from grits
If your baby has weaned before 12 months old they should eat an iron-rich diet. Babies get most of the nutrients that they need from breastfeeding. While a baby that is still breastfeeding or taking formula is almost certainly getting enough iron a baby that is no longer breastfeeding or being fed formula has different nutritional needs. One of the major things to consider is that a weaned baby no longer has a major source of iron in their diet. Grits are very high in iron and will supplement your baby’s diet.
6. Healthy ways to prepare grits for your baby
There are many ways that you can dress up grits for your baby. You might be tempted to prepare grits for yourself that are swimming in butter and cheese but there are many healthy ways to dress up grits for your baby. Try mixing prepare grits with banana mash or applesauce for a sweet treat. For a more savory preparation, try mixing the grits with mashed sweet potato or butternut squash and a little butter. Once your baby is old enough to eat eggs you can try mixing the grits with some soft scrambled eggs. Cheese grits are a great compromise between the rich and buttery grits favored by most southerners and the healthier, vitamin-rich diet that your baby needs. Grits are very bland by themselves so they can be added to almost anything to add texture without changing the flavor much.
A baby can eat grits as young as eight months even if most pediatricians recommend that you wait until one year of age to start feeding them grits. The decision to feed your baby grits is ultimately up to you. Depending on your baby’s nutritional needs grits might be a good choice. Be careful when preparing grits that you aren’t making a dish that is too rich or complicated for your baby. Start your baby out with plain grits and then you can try mixing grits with some of their other favorite foods.