Introducing Spices To Baby – When, Why and How?

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Thinking about introducing spices to baby? When can you introduce spices to baby?

Is cinnamon good for babies? Are spices in baby food fine for them? But wondering how to and what to?

Too many questions a mom asks herself as she starts solids for her baby. This article is a complete guide on introducing spices to baby.

introducing spices to baby

5 Reasons why should you introduce spices and herbs to your baby’ diet:

You heartedly make fresh home-made purees for your baby. And what happens? She is eyeing your plate instead! You wonder if it would be acceptable for her to eat the foods you do.

Well! That depends on a lot of factors like how nutritious your food is, how chewable it is for the baby etc.

Apart from this, one main concern for parents is the spices added to our daily cooking – like turmeric, cumin, pepper, chillies and so on. Is it safe for the little tummies? How about the herbs like coriander and mint? Read on to find out.

#1. Easier transition to regular home cooked food

Culturally, we Indians add a lot of healthy spices to our cooking like cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic and so on. By slowly introducing the same spices to their foods, they start developing a taste for them. Eventually, you will want them to start eating the same foods you make for yourself and others in the family.

The familiarity they have gained with the spices will make that transition smoother.

#2. Your baby already tasted the spices when you breasted

Breast milk, as you might know, takes on the taste of the food the mother eats.

If the mother has been eating such foods, the baby has already tasted the spices and herbs via breast milk. Making them eat bland foods is one step backward. You can use this familiarity to your advantage and start introducing spices in their solid foods.

You can also read,

#3. Anti-oxidant and medicinal values

A lot of spices we use in Indian cooking are extremely healthy and have medicinal values. For example, cumin and fennel seeds are very useful to improve digestion.

Also, herbs and spices have a lot of anti-oxidant properties. Give your baby a health boost with these spices.

#4. Makes food interesting

Most of the store bought baby foods are bland. No wonder, many babies don’t enjoy them.

Some babies prefer flavorful foods right from a young age. Adding spices will add a new dimension to their foods and make them more interesting.

#5. Spices can replace salt

To make food tastier, we usually resort to salt. However, salt is required by babies in very small quantities. You can read 13 reasons why sugar and salt is not advisable for babies below 1 year.

In fact, many pediatricians recommend not adding salt up to one year. That’s where spices and herbs come to the rescue. Using the right spices in right quantities will bring the taste of food alive while keeping salt to the minimum.

When should you introduce spices for baby?

It is not recommended to add spices to your baby’s first foods.

You should introduce single ingredient foods at the beginning. This is so that their little tummy gets time to adjust to the new foods. If at all they have an allergic reaction, you can pin point which food caused it.

You can refer to the most common food allergies in babies.

Spices can be broadly classified as aromatic and hot. Cumin, fennel etc are the aromatic types while chillies and peppers are classified as hot.

You can start off with aromatic spices around eight months of age.

For the hot spices, it is a good idea to wait until the baby is at least one year old.

Having said that, there are many people who have culturally started introducing spices in baby food at six months or so – hot spices included. There is no harm in that as long as your baby is able to take it well. If you find your baby to be allergic to certain foods or have digestive issues, it is best to consult with your pediatrician whether to delay the introduction of spices. I started adding small amount of black pepper to my baby’s food at nine months and he did just fine.

You can also read about the 15 first foods for babies and golden rule while introducing solids for baby.

Introducing spices to baby – How to?

Here are the guidelines for you to follow while you introduce spices to baby.

  • Introduce one at a time:

As with any other food, it’s a good idea to start with one spice or herb at a time.

Add a small amount of spice to a food you have already introduced (eg: add cumin powder to carrot puree, a little garlic or ginger to dal) and wait for 3-4 days before you introduce anything new.

  • Start with mild spices in small quantities

Start with the milder spices and then move on to the stronger or hot spices like chilli and pepper.

Pepper is easier on the tummy than green chillies or chilli powder. Introduce them in small quantities first so that your baby is not turned off by the strong taste and also her tummy has some time to adjust.

  • Tone down the hot spices

When you do introduce hot spices, you can tone down the spiciness of chili by mixing some yogurt or ghee in it.

Eg: The spiciness of khichdi can be cut down by adding a dollop of ghee in tadka or adding curd while feeding it.

Which spices and herbs can I introduce to baby?

The below mentioned chart can give you an idea on which all spices to introduce at which month and how.

introducing spices to baby

Points to remember:

Here are some points to be considered while introducing spices to baby.

  • Beware of adulteration

Given that many spices are expensive, it is common to find them adulterated with small stones or items that look similar to the spices. For example, turmeric may be adulterated with artificial colouring and chilli powder with brick powder.

It is always a good idea to make spice powders at home or buy organic products if you do not have the time.

You can also refer to the multi-purpose spice powder recipe for babies and kids.

  • Beware of impurities

Spices bought in loose or from some local brands may contain a lot of impurities. Our cooking does not usually include washing spices. So better to go for good brands and check for impurities.

  • Check the expiry date

There are some spices which we do not use on regular basis and hence there is a chance they may have crossed the expiry date.

When they are being given to babies, it’s better to be extra safe and check the expiry date.

Further reading:

Have you already tried introducing baby to spices and herbs?

Hope you have now got a good idea on how to introduce spices and herbs to your baby. Go on, try them and see if your little munchkin enjoys the new flavors!

About Author

Vandana quit her software career because she found her mother brain lost capability to process anything beyond her child's needs. She lives in Chennai with her husband and two year old Vihaan Krishna. Becoming a parent has helped her understand life in a much better way. She wants to share her new found wisdom to the benefit of other judicious parents who are constantly wanting to give the best to their kids.

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