Almond butter has a similar taste and texture to peanut butter, but it’s made entirely from almonds instead of peanuts. It’s usually not as thick as peanut butter, and can contain little bits of crushed up almonds if you buy the crunchy variety. Even the smooth type will have granular bits of almond in it.
There are plenty of health benefits for adults that eat almond butter, but does this go for babies as well? And what about the fact that this might present a choking hazard, since it tends to stick to the roof of your mouth. And how about nut allergies? Many babies are allergic to foods like these and their sensitivity might not be known yet to a new parent.
It’s good that you are doing your research before just giving your baby almond butter and seeing what happens. It’s not a food you can just give willy nilly. The basic school of thought is that you want to introduce these new foods one at a time, so that you can notice any changes or reactions that you baby has to the offending food. But in the case of almond butter, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Can I Give My Baby Almond Butter?: Answer: Not Recommended
Although there are plenty of good qualities to almond butter, both as a source of protein, and good-for-you fats, it’s not something your baby really needs, and therefore it’s not worth the potential risks that can occur by giving it to them. From their toddler years onward you can feel free to introduce this to them, but when they’re just starting out it really isn’t a good idea.
Potential Choking Hazard
The first problem with almond butter is that its consistency can make it hard to get down. Your baby is going to have to produce a lot of saliva for it to not stick to the roof and sides of their mouth. They’ll probably only manage to eat it by swallowing big globs of it rather than allowing the digestive process to begin in their mouth. This can lead to a choking danger if they swallow a glob that is too big, or a stomachache if they manage to get it down.
Potential Allergic Reactions
If your baby has an unknown nut allergy or sensitivity, you might not know it until you feed them something like almond butter. Why risk it? There’s nothing in it that your baby can’t live without, or doesn’t get from other sources, so just forego it until later when pretty much anything within reason is fair game.
Alternatives to Nut-Containing Foods
So what can you give your baby that has the salty flavor of nuts, that doesn’t actually contain nuts? There are pretty much no foods out there that replicate the taste of peanuts or almond or cashews, without actually containing them. Really, your baby doesn’t need boost of sodium that usually accompanies these nut products. Salt levels are one of the things you want to watch when you are feeding your baby and allowing them to discover new taste experiences.
When to Allow Certain Foods
It’s important to follow the recommended guidelines when it comes to what to feed your baby when. Of course, breastfeeding is preferred for as long as possible, and then a gradual transition to formula, rice cereals and other soft foods, finger foods, and eventually the same sort of food you and your family eat. Veering off of this schedule is not recommended, and will usually lead to unnecessary digestive complications.
The Best Thing You Can Do
The best thing you can do is to breast feed your baby for as long as you both can. There’s no reason to stop at some arbitrary date, and most of those are old wives tales. The more we learn about the wholesomeness of breast milk and how well breast fed babies adjust to foods and have good health later in life, the more doctors recommend it for as long as both the mother and the baby enjoy it.
This can be a fun time for you as a parent to see your baby experience new tastes, but definitely be strategic about what you introduce and when.