You can start offering your baby dates when they are ready for finger food – usually about 10-12 months. You can tell your baby is ready when he tries to grab the spoon you’re feeding him with or snatch food off your plate.
When your baby is introduced to solid foods, you have to start planning breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Dates are best incorporated into other foods and finely chopped or mashed to avoid a choking hazard.
Can I Give My Baby Dates? Answer: 1 year
Warning: Choking Hazard – Give Dates With Care
What is a Date?
The date, also known as the date palm, is an edible sweet fruit. Dates look like larger raisins, and the fruit’s name comes from the Greek word daktulos, which means finger, due to the fruit’s elongated shape. Dates contain one single seed and are placed into three groups: soft, semi-dry and dry. The group it is placed in depends on the glucose, fructose and sucrose levels.
When To Give A Baby Dates?
When a baby is just starting solids, dates should be avoided. Like other foods which are hard or textured they should be introduced gradually as your child learns to gum food. Even though you can find dehydrated dates, they are not soft enough for your baby to consume when they initially begin eating solids. Your baby needs to know how to chew, or gum food before you start to introduce small date pieces.
Giving your toddler a whole date is a choking risk. When giving your child a date cut it up into small pieces so they do not get stuck in their wind pipe. As a guide, cut the date up into pieces about the size of a raisin. Never let a child walk around while eating. Always be present and paying attention while your child eats dates.
In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics removed raisins from their list of choking hazards because they couldn’t find any reported cases of children choking on raisins. Cut your dates into raisin sized pieces. If you would like more information on choking and the website of American Academy of Pediatrics.
Typically children do not make any noise to alert you they are choking. Avoid letting your child eat while you are driving. Do not let your toddler walk around while eating or eat unsupervised.
Nutritional Content of Dates
The American Heart Association has certified dates, which means that they meet the criteria for being a heart-healthy food low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Dates also contain many of the nutrients essential for your toddler’s healthy growth.
Dates contain many essential nutrients, and the following details are based on your toddler eating one whole date. There are approximately 66 calories and no fat in a date. Dates contain fiber, approximately 1.6 grams, which helps to keep their digestive system working well and helps to prevent constipation. Dates also contain small amounts of iron (0.22milligrams), calcium (15 milligrams), and potassium (167 milligrams). Dates also contain small amounts of folate, niacin and vitamin A.
Sulfates In Dried Fruit
Sulfates are a preservative which are often used with dried fruits, including dates. They help to extend the shelf life of products and prevent mold growing on the fruit. All-natural dates don’t contain sulphates, so these are a healthier option if your toddler has asthma or you would prefer to avoid sulfates.
Sulfates have been known to cause a negative reaction in some people. People who have been diagnosed with asthma may have found that sulphates in dried dates have exacerbated their symptoms. The most common reaction is mild wheezing, but there have been rare cases of anaphylaxis. This can be life threatening. If your toddler has been diagnosed with asthma, ask your pediatrician if dried fruit is safe for your child.
How To Incorporate Dates Into Your Toddlers Diet
There are many ways to be creative and add dates to your child’s meal plan. We have provided a few ideas to start you off, but there are plenty of recipes you can use. Dates are sticky and have a high natural sugar content, so you will need to make sure you brush your child’s teeth soon after eating dates. Always chop up dates to avoid a choking hazard.
- Sprinkle chopped dates into their oatmeal
- Bake them into muffins
- Add chopped dates to plain yogurt
- Chop them up and offer them on their own
Dates And Cavities
Many dentists advise that dates and other dried fruits cause cavities. Dates are chewy and sweet and have a tendency to stick to your toddlers teeth. This will in turn build up bacteria that produce acid which cause tooth decay.
This does not mean you should avoid dates and other dried fruit. Offer your child dates as part of a meal. This way the chewing action will dislodge sticky dates from their teeth. Give them water to drink after their snack to help dislodge any dried fruit, keep dates as a snack towards the end of the day or simply brush their teeth when they are done.
Healing Properties of Dates
Dates are very healthy and considered an excellent source of dietary potassium. Dates can also be used medicinally because they contain a high tannin content. Since dates are considered to be a natural laxative, many people eat them regularly to prevent constipation. Like raisins, though, consuming too many dates can lead to diarrhea.
As a syrup or paste, dates can be used to cure sore throats or colds. It is also known to reduce fevers. Some people even believe that dates can sober up an intoxicated individual. These home remedies are not based on medical fact and have been included for interest only.
To Date Or Not To Date?
So while dates are a healthy snack rich with essential vitamins and minerals, they are best to be avoided until your child is in his or her toddler years and has mastered chewing. When deciding on finger foods for your baby to snack on, stick with small pieces of fruits or cooked vegetables. Once your baby is older, dates can be a very handy food to snack on or add to their meal plan for additional flavor and nutrition.
If you have any questions about feeding dates to your child, it is always best to consult your child’s pediatrician. He or she will be able to better discuss your issue and concerns and help you decide when dates will be best for your child.
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