Do graham crackers make the list of things you should give your baby? Giving our baby solid foods that are healthy can sometimes be challenging for parents.
While we know that fruits and vegetables are great choices, there are so many other foods out there we want our baby to try. When it comes to finding healthy snack foods that are easy to serve, and easy to take with when on the go, most parents often turn to crackers.
Developed in 1829, the graham cracker is like a cracker, but it is sweet rather than salty, making it more like a cookie. A true graham cracker is made with graham flour instead of white flour. Graham flour is a combination of white flour, wheat bran and germ.
Originally, the graham cracker was considered a health food since it was made with graham flour. Today, most commercial graham crackers are made with white flour and are no longer considered a healthy food but rather a snack food. They contain more sugar and other sweeteners, and come in many flavors, such as chocolate, honey and cinnamon.
Can I Give My Baby Graham Crackers? Answer: In Moderation at One Year
In moderation, serving graham crackers to your child is perfectly fine as long as they are in small enough pieces. Keep in mind, though, that today’s graham crackers contain a lot of sugar, and too much sugar is not good.
Sugary food and drinks are bad for your baby’s health (and adult’s health too) because they are high in calories and not filling. Sugar is also known to suppress the immune system, reducing your baby’s natural ability to fight off disease. Sugar also suppresses the release of the human growth hormone and raises insulin levels. Over time, the over consumption of sugar will require more insulin to be produced, and eventually, your pancreas can stop responding, resulting in diabetes.
If you plan on serving graham crackers to your baby, only serve plain graham crackers. Cinnamon and chocolate flavored graham crackers contain more sugar than regular graham crackers. And honey graham crackers are not good either.
While some parents believe that honey is a healthy food because it is natural, it is not recommended for your child until they are at least twelve months old. Since honey is usually consumed in its natural state, it can contain spores of bacteria that can attach to and grow in your baby’s digestive system. If this happens, infant botulism can occur.
After Year One
After your child’s first birthday, their immune system is better prepared to fight off the bacteria that causes infant botulism. This is why adults and children who consume honey are never affected. Symptoms of infant botulism include muscle weakness, constipation, crying, restlessness and lock jaw. If your child is showing any of these symptoms, you need to take them to the doctor immediately.
While some commercially prepared foods contain honey are fine for your baby because the honey has been cooked enough to kill the bacteria, it is best to avoid it until after your child’s first birthday to be safe.
Before your baby can have small finger foods like graham crackers, your child must be ready for them. Your baby needs to be able to chew, or gum, food and be able to sit up properly. Your baby will also need to have mastered the pincer grasp, which lets him or her pick up small objects between their thumb and forefinger. Children usually do not master this skill until around nine to twelve months of age. Always make sure you are sitting close to your child while her or she eats in case they do start to choke.
Consider Other Snack Options
Remember, graham crackers are not the best option out there to feed your baby as a snack, but they are perfectly fine in moderation. They contain a lot of sugar and no nutritional value. If you are going to give them to your child, stick with plain graham crackers, as they contain less sugar than cinnamon or chocolate flavored grahams. As mentioned above, do not give your child honey graham crackers until after his or her first birthday.
If you have any questions about giving graham crackers to your baby, it is best to consult with your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to answer your questions more thoroughly.