As a parent, we watch our child start to enjoy foods, and sooner or later butter enters the picture. First, it is formula, followed by cereal, followed by pureed vegetables and fruits. Sometimes, we taste the things our child is eating and most of the time, we realize that they are very bland. How could our children be forced into eating such tasteless meals?
When our babies are very young, before six months of age, their digestive system is not ready to take on sweets, sours, and salts – any of those flavorful ingredients we cannot live without. When our children are first being introduced to foods, it is important to feed them without any additional ingredients.
Not only does this help them learn how to eat without upsetting their stomachs, it also keeps them from becoming reliant on sweet-tasting foods. Some pediatricians actually recommend starting your child on vegetables before fruits because vegetables are more bland, then giving your child the fruit as a treat.
As adults, we cannot picture eating a meal that does not have some type of flavor to it. Because of this, we often want to add ingredients to our child’s diet, such as salt, pepper or butter. So is adding an ingredient like this okay?
Can I Give My Baby Butter? Answer: After 6 Months
After your child is six months old and has successfully started solid foods, you can feel free to add butter to their diet. Butter is a dairy product that has a very high fat content. Because of this, you should limit your child’s intake of butter. Even one tablespoon of butter has a great amount of fat. Butter also ranks rather low on the nutritional chart, so there’s no pressing reason to give it to them.
Dealing with a Finicky Eater
If your child is a picky eater, especially with vegetables, sometimes adding butter will help your child eat them. Because of this, you may want to add butter to your child’s vegetables, as they need the vitamins and minerals in vegetables for healthy growth and development.
Just because it is okay in small amounts, however, does not mean that you should butter everything possible. If your child will eat potatoes without the butter, then do not add butter to them. If you give your child toast, a bagel or an English muffin, try spreading something more healthy onto the bread rather than butter.
It is also best to wait to introduce butter to your baby’s diet after they have tried other dairy products. Some babies have a dairy intolerance, and feeding them butter may upset their stomach. It is also a good idea to introduce butter to your child paired with a vegetable or other food they have already enjoyed. This way, if your child seems to be having an allergic reaction, you will know that butter is the culprit.
Different Options for Baby
There are many brands and types of butter out there. Most butter is made with cow’s milk. You can try to opt for a reduced fat or fat-free version, but even reduced fat or nonfat does not mean that butter is healthy. Some people think that if the butter is non-fat, they can add it to their child’s diet more often, but this is not the case. Butter is butter, and is not an essential part of a baby’s diet.
If you opt to not give your child butter until they are older, that is fine too. But you do not have to go to the extreme of not feeding them any food that contains butter. Most foods, especially baked goods, contain butter in some form. These foods typically have very small amounts of butter and do not pose any dangerous health risks to your child.
Doctor Knows Best
If you have any questions about feeding your child butter, when and how to introduce butter to your baby’s diet, or what brand of butter to use, it is always best to contact your child’s pediatrician. They will be able to better discuss your concerns and questions in more detail, since they have your child’s full medical history and are aware of any complications that might make it a no-go even at the six month mark.