There is nothing better than a good old peanut and butter and jelly sandwich. Kids love to eat them, and parents love that it does not take much time to make. It is said that most children will consume 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by high school graduation.
And while peanut butter and jelly might be a favorite for your older children (and maybe even you), it should not be part of your baby’s diet.
Peanuts are high on the allergy-causing list, so they should be avoided until after a child’s second birthday. Be sure to talk with your child’s doctor about when it is safe to give your baby peanuts.
So what about the jelly? Most parents would think that because it is soft, it is okay to give to their babies. However, jelly should be avoided until after your child’s first birthday, as the soft, sticky texture can get stuck in your child’s throat, causing them to choke.
Can I Give My Baby Jelly? Answer: After Year One
Jelly is a clear fruit spread made from sweetened fruit juice and set using pectin, an ingredient that helps it gel. Jelly is made like jam, except it requires an extra step to filter out all the fruit pulp, and the most popular flavors include grape, mint and jalepeno pepper.
Different than Jam
Contrary to some popular belief, jelly is not the same thing as jams or preserves. While they are all made from fruit mixed with sugar and pectin, the difference comes from the form that the fruit takes. In jelly, the fruit is taken from fruit juice. With jam, the fruit is fruit pulp or crushed fruit, and with preserves, the fruit is chunky. It is a simple difference, but it is a difference none-the-less.
Potential Choking Hazard
To reduce you baby’s chances of choking on jelly, you must first wait until after their first birthday. Also, when feeding your child jelly, make sure it a light, thin spread among the bread or crackers, and not bulky and chunky. The thinner the spread, the less likely it is to stick on your child’s throat. Also, make sure the pieces of cracker or bread you are feeding your child are small. The bigger pieces may also get stuck in your child’s throat.
If your baby is choking, have someone else in your house call 911 while you perform infant first aid and/orCPR. There are informational books or websites available to help you learn what to do in the event your child begins to choke. Most communities also offer CPR training courses. Check with your local city hall or park district for more information.
After your child’s first birthday, jelly can be given to your baby. It is great to spread on toast or crackers all alone, or combine it with some cream cheese for extra taste. Jelly does not have much nutritional value. In fact, most jellies have no nutritional value and while low in calories, they are high in sugar and sodium, so it is not something that should be fed to your child on a regular basis.
Avoid Sugary Foods
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.
Natural sugars are good for your baby, and while most jellies are made from a fruit juice, they contain a great amount of commercial sugars. If you want to feed your baby natural sugars, give them fresh fruit instead of jelly.
While jelly will become a favorite of your child’s as they grow older, remember to wait until after your child’s first birthday to introduce the sweet treat. The sugar in jelly is not good for your baby’s health, and the sticky substance can be a choking hazard.
If you have any questions about feeding jelly to your baby, it is recommended to consult your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to discuss your concerns more thoroughly.