When your baby is teething you might think to give them a nice cool pickle to chew on to take away some of the pain. Or you could just think that this is a taste they should be experiencing, if you like pickles yourself. Either way, we put the pickle to the test to see if it’s something you can give your baby, and also whether you should or not.
Pickles start off as cucumbers, so they’re basically a vegetable, but they’ve been through so much that they don’t really have a lot of nutritional value, the way a cucumber would. It’s not as if a cucumber is really all that good for a baby, as opposed to things like broccoli, but compared to junk food or other options they’re not the worst choice.
So you’re at the fork in the road, debating on whether to give your baby a pickle or not. Maybe it’s the summer time and it’s the perfect compliment to a hot dog or a hamburger, but you’re not depriving your baby of the experience by not giving them a pickle. The common thought is that it’s OK, in that it won’t cause them any harm by having a bit of pickle. On the other hand, it’s not really doing them a whole lot of good, so why bother?
Can I Give My Baby a Pickle? Answer: Not Recommended
We’re giving this our Not Recommended rating because it’s just not a food that your baby really needs, and therefore it’s not really necessary to give to them. While it won’t do any major harm to them if given in small amounts, and only occasionally, it’s not something we would add to their regular intake of foods. Yes, it’s a vegetable, but not the best in its class.
One concern is the amount of sodium in the typical pickle. You don’t want to feed your baby things that are abnormally high in salt content. This will cause them to become dehydrated, as their body needs to account for the high sodium levels. If you do feed them pickles, be sure that they also have adequate amounts of water to compensate for it.
There’s also a lot of lactic acid used to pickle a pickle. This, along with vinegar, is what gives pickles their bite. This is not good for most babies and can lead to complications in their digestive system, and even diaper rash.
There’s really no good reason to feed your baby pickles. It can be given to them in moderation when they hit toddler age and up. They might like the sweet taste of sweet pickles, and you might get a kick out of watching them have a dill pickle for the first time. But you don’t need to go out of your way to make sure that they have pickles on a regular basis, and if you do decide to give them a pickle, just be sure to do so in moderation, and prepare it in a way they can handle.
See How Your Baby Responds
If you’re bent on giving them pickles, be sure to see how they respond to them. Introduce them away from other new foods, and monitor their bowel movements and moods over the next few hours to see how they’re handling them. Only then will you know if your baby is able to have pickles or not. But again, we suggest just avoiding the whole thing altogether, and holding off on pickles until your baby is a little older.
The General Rule of Thumb
The habit you want to get into is giving your baby foods that sustain them, and provide them nourishment, without containing a lot of stuff that your baby just doesn’t need, or that isn’t good for them. The high salt levels, vinegar, acid used in the pickling process put pickles on the list of foods that you probably shouldn’t give your baby. Plenty of parents out there will disagree and say that their baby ate pickles just fine, but that doesn’t make it the right choice.
Instead of giving them pickles, try a fresh cucumber and see how they like that.