Grits are a staple breakfast item in some parts of the country, and since it resembles Cream of Wheat or a rice cereal it’s easy to think they might be OK.
As far as a health food, grits don’t rank highly enough to make this a food that you’d go out of your way to give your baby. Although it does have a good amount of iron in it, you’re probably already giving your baby enough iron with iron-fortified foods and formulas. The protein content is not very high, and depending on how you make your grits the sodium and fat levels can be unsuitable for baby.
So even though you may enjoy a bowl of grits in the morning, it’s not the best thing to give your baby. But there’s also another reason to wait on the grits. They’re made from corn, and if there’s a history of allergic reactions in your family the right way to go about it is to wait until they’re further along in their development to introduce potentially allergic foods.
Can I Give My Baby Grits? Answer: At Year One
Because of the possibility of a corn allergy, it’s best to hold off on grits until your child reaches the one year mark. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives to grits that should get them by until their first birthday, namely rice cereal which is often recommended as one of the first solid foods for baby to have when they’re ready. It’s also been suggested to move to baby oatmeal after rice cereal, as both are easier to digest than corn.
Corn Allergies in Babies
Although rare, corn allergies do exist, and often can remain undiagnosed because it may appear to be simple digestive trouble. There are also several other allergies and conditions that have the same symptoms, so you don’t want to be too hasty when deciding not to feed your baby corn-based foods. Here is a source for general information on corn allergies, from Allergic Child.
Different Preparation Methods
There are many ways to prepare grits, and when you do start feeding them to your baby, you should start by preparing them the old fashioned way, not using the instant packages. These are often filled with extra preservatives to make them instant, and they go through more processing than conventional methods. You’ll also want to use organic grits to avoid the herbicides and pesticides that ordinary corn fields are sprayed with.
Some people like their grits lumpy, while other like a smooth consistency, but either way it shouldn’t provide a choking hazard, especially if you’re serving it with some milk to keep it from getting too dry. Some moms use their breast milk for baby’s grits, as this will add even more nutrients to it and make it easier to digest.
After One Year
When your baby is nearing the one year mark and you’re ready to start giving them grits, be sure to only prepare it with foods that they’re already OK with. For example, if you like to serve your grits up with cheese on the top, be sure that cheese is something your baby has already been introduced to. Same thing with milk, sausage, or gravy. At this point they should be able to enjoy grits whenever you want to prepare them, but be sure to take it slow at first to see how well their body processes it.
Before long your baby will be eating with the rest of the family, and you won’t have to worry too much about what you’re feeding them, because they’ll already have tried lots of different foods and they’ll know how to process them. But while their still developing during their first year it’s all about keeping it simple and introducing foods one at a time to see what they like and how they respond to it.
One way to make this process fun is to keep a food journal for your baby. In it you can list the different foods that your baby has tried, how they reacted, and whether they seemed to like it. Later on, when they’re ready for more advanced foods, you can start to combine ingredients that you have already previously cleared.