Can I Give My Baby Pesto?

Can I give my baby pesto?Pesto adds a delicious burst of flavor to lots of Italian and Mediteranean themed dishes, but it’s not necessarily something that you should be giving to your baby.

It’s not as if you’re going to cause them excessive harm by giving it to them, unless they have a confirmed nut allergy, or if they eat too much of it. But just a dab made from your own recipe can really liven up boring bits of pasta and other bland foods. The consensus is that it’s approved after year one. We’ve also got some extra recommendations you might want to follow listed below, and we’ve even got some preparation tips to follow to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for them.

It’s good that you want to introduce your baby to new taste sensations, but you always want to keep their health and well-being at the forefront. So it’s also good that you’re doing your research before playing the trial and error game on a new and potent flavor punch.

Can I Give My Baby Pesto? Answer: From Age One

Age one is typically given for foods that may present a problem either because they could be a choking hazard, or because they include ingredients that might be hard to digest. Pesto isn’t a choking hazard, but some babies might have trouble digesting it because it’s really several ingredients in one dollop, so it does merit some further consideration.

Pine Nuts
The pine nuts are particularly a concern, because nut allergies are one of the most common allergies on the planet. You’ll definitely want to check your child for nut allergies before giving them pesto. Many pesto newbies are surprised to learn that there are nuts in pesto, as after it’s all ground up and mixed with the basil and garlic it doesn’t seem too nutty at all.

Basil and Garlic
The next thing that you’ll want to consider is that large amounts of basil and garlic are used in pesto to give it its distinctive flavor. These are both pretty potent as far as their taste is concerned, and if your baby’s palate has not been introduced to them, they may not like it too much. It’s a good idea to introduce these to your baby separately so that you get an idea of how they like it and how they handle it before combining them together in one recipe. Garlic gets the go ahead after 6 months, and basil should wait until the first year.

Olive Oil
The olive oil in pesto one thing that you probably don’t have to worry about, but gets lost in the crowd of other items that you probably don’t want to be giving to your baby any time during their first year. EVOO also gets the go ahead from 6 months on, and has plenty of health benefits to it. When creating your own recipe at home you might even want to add a big more olive oil so that it’s more runny and easier to digest. Also, don’t forget to blend it up good so that there aren’t any chunks of garlic or bits of tree nuts left.

So between the health benefits in garlic and olive oil, as well as the nutrition in pine nuts, pesto seems to be doing pretty good as far as not having many red flags for your little one. Of course, you’ll want to keep everything in moderation so that they can digest it properly. Even in adults pesto is known to cause heartburn if over-consumed, so keep that in mind when giving it to them. Just a little bit packs enough flavor to get the job done, so spread it sparingly over other foods and you should be fine.

Overall, pesto is a pretty complex food item, even though it seems simple. After doing a thorough search through the forums it seems that most moms have let their babies tried it and they have said that it was enjoyed with no negative repercussions. The suggestion is to make it from scratch so that you can be sure of what’s going in it, and can have a greater command over things like salt content and the quality of what you’re using.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Baby Pesto? Below

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tashtash February 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

You dont really give a good reason why basil should wait until the first year. I’m sorry but strong taste is not good enough. I’ve introduced pasta with tomato, garlic, basil and cheese when my girl was 6mos. She loves it. They may never like it. Not when they are one, not when they are five. It’s just silly to advise against herbs just because they may not like it. Just try it. Give your kid a chance to enjoy flavorful meal and maybe you won’t end up with a picky eater. Just sayin’…


Catherine March 19, 2014 at 12:19 am

^ amen to that. As long as it doesnt pose health risks (like salt) then really give the baby food we all eat!


cal November 11, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Just gave my 8month old a taste of some super potent pesto I made, I just wanted her to taste it….but she loved it so I put it on some whole wheat noodles and she ended up quite a bit…as an after thought I looked this up….We will see to.ight if there are any digestive repercussions


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