Can my baby drink hot chocolate?
Yes, you can give your baby hot chocolate once they are six months. If your baby is still breastfeeding, it’s best to give them their breast milk or formula for a hot or warm drink during cold days. Hot chocolate is great for your baby once they are not breastfeeding or formula anymore.
You can introduce your baby to solid food once they are six months old. This is the recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatricians. It is important to add solid food to your baby’s diet after six months because the solid food acts as a supplemental nutritional source that supports your baby’s growth and development.
An additional nutritional source given along with their breast milk or formula allows your baby to have more than enough nutrition to meet both their growing and activity needs. Your baby needs to have enough nutrients so that their growth and activity are not compromised.
Giving your baby hot chocolate is left to the parent’s discretion. There are currently no medical recommendations about giving your baby hot chocolate.
If you decide to give your baby hot chocolate, please remember that it should be part of a healthy balanced diet that benefits your baby and that they enjoy.
Hot chocolate is loved around the world!
Hot chocolate, also known as cocoa, drinking chocolate, or drinking tea in different places around the world.
There are different brands of cocoa powder that only need milk or water to create this wonderful, tasty, and comforting drink.
Hot chocolate is used for different purposes. It is used as a breakfast drink, much like tea or coffee, it is also used as a pick me up like coffee, or it is used to provide comfort on cold days. People of all ages enjoy hot chocolate, and it continues to be shared among families and friends.
A brief history of chocolate:
Hot Chocolate is made from cocoa powder. We owe the longevity of the cacao beans to the Mayans and Aztecs who cultivated the seeds and shared them with the world.
The cocoa powder used to make hot chocolate is usually unsweetened chocolate.
It comes from the processing of the cacao beans that have the cocoa butter removed, and the product that is left is dried and then milled into a fine powder we call cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder differs from Cacao powder because cocoa powder is processed further through a process of alkalization that make the cocoa powder less bitter.
Cocoa powder is not ideal for making hot chocolate because it lacks the milk, sugar, and other ingredients the cocoa mix packets contain.
Can my baby have cocoa powder?
As noted above, cocoa powder mixes are the best for making hot chocolate. They contain ingredients that mellow cocoa powder and make it easy and quick to make. The ingredients contained in the cocoa packets are carefully added to ensure the resulting hot chocolate is the best it can be. There are many brands of cocoa powder mixes such as Nestle, Swiss, Ghirardelli that you can taste and pick the one you and your baby enjoy best.
You can also make your cocoa powder using your ingredients, which allows you to control the types of ingredients you add so that you can keep from using additives and preservatives and also control the amount of sugar.
When making your cocoa powder, you can use pure cocoa powder, not the mix, and add sugar, salt, and your baby’s milk. You can heat this mixture, occasionally stirring it until it is smooth, then you will bring it to a simmer and reduce the heat. Add vanilla. Make sure you don’t boil the milk. Cook for 8 minutes and then pour into a cup. Make sure the hot chocolate is cool enough for your baby to manage. It shouldn’t be hot because it will burn your baby.
Varieties of cocoa powder for your baby:
If you are making your cocoa powder mix from scratch, there are many great brands of unsweetened cocoa powder that you can purchase. Make sure to purchase cocoa and not cacao powder because the cocoa powder has been processed to make it easier to work with and consume, especially for your baby.
You can also purchase cacao powder and modify it to fit your needs. Cacao powder is less process, which means it is highly nutritious when compared to cocoa powder. It is also bitter, but you can counter this by adding white chocolate to balance the flavor. You can also use maple syrup as a sweetener instead of sugar and not honey. Remember that honey has a high risk of contamination by bacteria that cause infant botulism.
When making your hot chocolate mix, you can use your baby’s milk or oat milk or a combination of both to make a nice tasty drink. You can also add a little bit of whole milk to your baby’s breast milk or formula, but it should be a small amount. This is because your baby’s digestive system is not yet equipped to digest the proteins in whole milk, not until they are 12 months old.
Hot chocolate as part of a balanced diet:
It is important to introduce your baby to a wide variety of foods and flavors. This allows your baby to meet all their nutritional requirements from the vast array of foods they eat. It is well known that no one food contains all the nutrients the human body needs every day, which makes it important to present your baby with a wide set of choices to allow them to meet daily nutritional requirements in all areas easily.
Never force your baby to eat. Practice shared responsibility, which is a system that allows you to set the time, place, and type of food to be eaten. Your baby’s role is to show up and eat how much they need. Do not force your baby to eat.
Allow them to decide what they will eat and how they will eat it. If they start with dessert, let them do so. If you notice your baby leaning towards one food, skip it at certain meals so that they can learn to eat everything else too.
Once your baby is older, involve them by asking them what they want to eat and accommodate their preferences.
If your baby is not eating, contact your pediatrician and work with them to help your baby.