Millet has long been known in vegetarian circles as a great food with many positive health benefits, but is it something that you can introduce to your baby, and if so, at what age is it best?
Many foods like quinoa, couscous, and millet get labeled as health foods and then parents wonder if they’re OK to give to their children. The answer is that in most cases the health benefits also apply to babies, but you have to consider other things like digestibility and choking hazards before going ahead with a specific food.
As long as you’re cooking the millet properly your baby shouldn’t have any problems digesting it. You’ll want to prepare it according to their development, making a mushy puree if they’re just getting their teeth in, and making sure it’s still fully cooked if they’re able to chew up more solid-type foods.
Can I Give My Baby Millet? Answer: From 6 Months, When Ready
Every baby is different, so you’ll want to use these as guidelines and read the signals from your baby to see when they’re ready for a great like millet. This can generally be from 6 months but can take as long as 8 months or more.
Several Healthy Benefits
World’s Healthiest Foods ranks millet highly for its health benefits. These benefits are not lost in translation and apply to babies as well. These include benefits to the heart, as well as the ability to help tissues in the body develop and repair themselves. Since your baby is still developing in their first year, it’s good to give them foods that help them in that aspect, rather than detract from it.
They also say that it contains a good amount of fiber, and for your little one this means more regularity and better digestion. It’s never too early to start your baby on healthy foods that are good for their body. It’s been shown that healthy eating at a young age leads to better food choices later in life. You can help your baby avoid inexplicable cravings for junk foods containing sugar and artificial ingredients by making sure they’re eating wholesome, organic foods whenever possible.
A Very Versatile Food
Millet is very easy to prepare, and can be made in several different ways as your baby gets older. You can start off by grinding up the grains of millet to make a cereal out of. After they get a bit older you can start to cook it whole. There are plenty of baby food recipes out there that will show you how to prepare millet for your baby. Since it goes so nicely with vegetables you may find that it’s a great addition to many meals for them.
Keeping Things Interesting
It’s always nice to be broadening your child’s taste horizons. It’s easy to get into a rut, feeding them the same thing over and over again. It’s alright to have some foundational items that they get on a regular basis, but be sure to continue to give them new foods so they get a broad nutritional range. Also, it’s best to continue to breastfeed as long as you’re able and they’re willing, even when you move into solid foods.
Tracking Your Baby’s Foods
We recommend starting a food journal for your baby if you haven’t already. List all of the foods that you know they like and that they’re OK with. As you introduce new foods you can add them to the list once you determine how well they’re able to handle them. An online spreadsheet works great, or you can keep a simple notebook offline. Just make sure to keep it handy so it’s an easy reference. It beats trying to remember all of the things they’re OK with.
It also helps for when your baby is ready for more advanced foods. You simple take items from the pre-approved list and combine them for new flavor sensations, and a double-dose of nutrition. It also serves as a list of foods your baby doesn’t really like or couldn’t digest properly. You can choose to try them again later on, or nix them completely if they showed an allergic reaction to them.