When Can Babies Have Chocolates? The Truth May Surprise You
You Have you seen photos of babies with chocolates all over their hands and mouth? Don’t they just look adorable? The thought of introducing chocolates to my baby when he was only eight-month-old was so tempting.
However, I made sure sweets won’t be part of my baby’s meals during the first year of his life knowing the sugar content in chocolates. To kill curiosity, I went through parenting magazines and forums to know when can babies have chocolates.
The answers vary with certain conditions considered. Here’s what I found out.
How Safe Are the Chocolates?
I have always wondered whether chocolates are good for babies or not since all the information I encountered through research greatly differ. I have seen most moms prepare or buy chocolate cakes for their babies’ first birthday or even just to celebrate a monthly milestone.
Chocolates are safe
Experts and mothers who claim that chocolates are safe expressed their stance on this concern.
While some mothers suggest to delay providing babies with chocolates, there have been studies claiming that introducing chocolates earlier, particularly when they baby is between 4 and 6 months of age, may benefit the little one at high risk for acquiring an allergic disease, such as asthma, eczema, food allergy, and allergic rhinitis.
Some moms say it is alright to give your baby chocolates rather than giving them sweets like toffee; that’s because chocolates dissolve quickly. Moreover, a portion of chocolates won’t harm their teeth.
Chocolates are unsafe
Despite the fact that there’s no evidence linking caffeine consumption in babies with serious complications, some experts and mothers advised not to give babies chocolates at all. Here’s why. A teaspoon of chocolate, especially the dark one, has about 4 mg of caffeine on average.
Even a small quantity of caffeine is already a large dose for an infant. The caffeine ingested can stimulate the little one and keep him uncomfortable and alert all the time. Further, caffeine in chocolates may throw off your baby’s feeding and sleeping habits.
And although babies have small developing teeth, eating sweets can still make them prone to tooth decay. Chocolates contain a lot of sugar that hastens tooth decay since it offers bacteria in the mouth a food source.
Even if you decide to clean the teeth of your baby, it will be difficult. Hence, at times, the acids accumulate around his teeth, leading to poor oral health.
The Importance of Spacing out Foods
Food allergies are prevalent among babies. When your child starts eating solid foods, experts suggest spacing out the new foods you introduce to your child. By doing so, you will get the chance to observe your baby’s body responses to something new.
It will also be easier to figure out which food your baby experiences discomforts or allergies. So, for instance, if you introduced rice today, wait for three days before introducing chocolates.
Signs of Food Allergies
Does your family have a history of allergies to foods? Then, it would be no surprise if your baby will also experience rashes to certain foods. Hence, monitor your baby’s condition each time you introduce something new, watch out for the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Swelling of the throat or tongue
Dark Chocolates versus Milk Chocolates
You may have probably heard that dark chocolates are better than milk chocolates. And certainly, that is true. Many experts claim that dark chocolates bring various health benefits.
They are nutritious and potent sources of antioxidants. However, not all dark chocolates are created the same. Some of those dark chocolates are processed and have more sugar content.
In this case, it is vital to check the labels and give babies only a small piece of chocolate. In general, dark chocolates have less sugar content compared to milk chocolates.
Nonetheless, not all babies will find joy in the bitter taste of dark chocolates. You might ask, “If dark chocolates are bitter, should I then give my baby milk chocolates?” There are two views to answer this question - yes and no. Milk chocolates should only be given to babies after they turn one because they contain lots of sugar. The main key here is to keep everything in moderation.
Can Babies Have Chocolates? If so, when?
Yes, your baby can have chocolates, but with certain limits. Let me explain that further. According to research studies conducted by health experts, chocolates are made up of foods that are recognized for causing food intolerance or allergies.
Examples include soy, corn, milk, peanuts, wheat and gluten, and berries. And because food labels were not required until 2004, most health care providers and parents assumed chocolate was the main cause of allergies in babies. Nonetheless, a cross-contamination study has exonerated chocolates from that negative notion.
As to when can babies have chocolates vary depending on your baby’s ability to sit alone unsupported, his tongue-thrust reflex, and his interests in foods. These things usually manifest when your baby is between four and six months old; however, before giving chocolates to your baby, check the ingredients used in the chocolates.
If the chocolates contain honey and cow’s milk, consider giving that brand to your baby after he turns 1. Don’t worry! The reason behind that is non-allergy related.
What Other Experts Say
Other experts suggest it is safer to give babies chocolates when they reach their first year. That way, you will be able to help your baby develop a taste for healthier foods first. Nonetheless, realistically speaking, there has been no medical guidelines suggesting when to introduce chocolates to your little.
The discretion is still up to you parents as long as your baby has the three important things mentioned above - sitting unsupported, the absence of tongue-thrust, and interests in foods. Should any sign of allergies arise when you gave chocolates to your infant, stop feeding your baby chocolates immediately and contact your pediatrician?
When did you give your baby chocolates? Share with us your experience.