If you’ve been thinking about giving your baby crackers, it really depends on what other foods they have been given, and how they are responding to the different food types. Crackers seem pretty innocuous, and there are only a few concerns that you might have. It also varies greatly by what sort of crackers you are planning to give them.
The first thing you want to watch out for is the sodium level on the crackers. A lot of commercial crackers include a lot of salt, especially saltine crackers, or things like Ritz and other mainstream brands.
Whenever you’re going to give your baby something like crackers, you should pay the extra dollar or so to get a box of organic crackers. This will make sure that the ingredients used are of high quality, and if it does include salt, it will be organic sea salt, and not industrial grade salt used in pre-packaged big brands like those from Kraft.
Can I Give My Baby Crackers? Answer: From Age One
Crackers are OK to give your baby if they are experiencing other solid foods and having a good time with them. They are a fantastic finger food, and if your baby is able to mush them up good enough they shouldn’t represent a choking hazard. Just make sure that they have some water handy in case they need a drink, because crackers can soak up all of the saliva in the mouth and make it hard to swallow.
That’s why we recommend waiting until age one to give your baby crackers. At that point they should have a strong enough chewing and swallowing action to properly chew up a cracker, and swallow it down. Before then, you could experiment by giving them little bits of crackers and see how they handle them.
At stores like Whole Foods you can find commercially produced boxes of crackers that are also organic. They may not taste as buttery and crisp as a Ritz cracker, but you will know that they are produced using quality ingredients, and not the cheapest grade ingredients possible, or things that are created in a lab to taste like butter. You have to know that these big food conglomerates use the lowest quality ingredients possible that will make the end result look and taste like a cracker, but make them very cheap to produce so they can get bigger profits.
You might want to avoid giving your baby crackers altogether, because it could be setting them up for a snacking addiction later, or always needing crunchy salty foods, and not being able to explain why. This is especially true if you go with a brand like Ritz that is going to include a lot of things like hydrogenated oils and industrial grade salt. If you want to give your baby something that is tasty and crunchy, think of things like carrot sticks or celery sticks. They’ll probably have a better time munching on them, and they won’t know the difference between a cracker and a vegetable.
Snack Time for Baby
It’s fun to give your baby snacks, not only to watch them enjoy new tastes, but also to occupy them if you’re trying to get something done. By giving them some crackers, you are giving them a finger food that they should be able to handle pretty well as long as they’ve mastered the pincer grip. But aside from that you’ll also want to be sure that they can chew up and swallow the crackers so that they don’t end up choking on them. That’s why it’s a good idea to serve a moist food along with the crackers so that they can keep their mouth well moisturized.
Snack time for a baby is important, not just in what you give them but how often. You don’t want to set them up so that they always expect to be eating something every few hours. That tends to result in adults that always need to eat something, and have unexplained food cravings. But by giving them a daily snack at pre-set times, you are setting up a habit of having a healthy snack in between meals which could help them maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.