When Can Babies Have Ice Cream? The Answer May Surprise You
Ice cream is a sweet and delicious treat that almost everyone enjoys. Young children seem to enjoy it even more than almost everyone else. Lots of people incorrectly assume that this is also true for a baby, without ever taking the time to ask, when can babies have ice cream?
This article will discuss timing for babies to have ice cream and the reasons that it should be avoided for a little while.
So When Is It Safe For Babies To Have Ice Cream?
When a baby is first born, they only need to drink either their mother’s milk or formula. Their little bodies get everything that they need from these two sources and will for the first six months of their life. Ice cream should not be introduced now.
Once they have reached six months of age, you may start to add in some solid foods. Most pediatricians recommend introducing one type of food at a time, to be sure that the child does not have any sensitivities. However, it is still not the time to try out ice cream.
Finally, once a baby has reached one year of age, you may start to introduce dairy products, such as cow’s milk, yogurt, and of course, ice cream. If you try to introduce these products earlier, your child may experience some difficulties.
Why Shouldn’t Babies Have Ice Cream Before They Are One?
Digestion - A pre-one-year-old baby's digestive system is just beginning to get up and running. It is not designed to be able to break down any products made from cow's milk. Giving a young baby dairy products can lead to vomiting or diarrhea, which are easily two of the top bodily functions parents wish to avoid.
Allergies - If a young baby is introduced to any food item before they can properly digest it, it increases the likelihood of that child’s body developing an intolerance or allergy later in life.
Preservatives - The preservatives used in dairy products to keep them fresh may disrupt a baby’s sensitive stomach. They could make a child sick, and should therefore be avoided.
Ahh! Someone Gave My Baby Ice Cream Before They’re One, What Should I Do?
What To Say - Most of the time, it will be a close family friend or a relative (think grandparents) who try to introduce ice cream to your little one way too early. While you understand how big of a deal this might be, they will most often will not.
It is best not to lose your cool, and instead say something kind, but firm to stop them in the future. If you explain to them the reasons behind your decision, they will most likely drop the subject.
What To Do - The very first step, of course, is not to freak out! Your baby will probably have only consumed a small amount of ice cream, which will probably not have any negative consequences. The next step is to watch your child carefully for any signs of discomfort, such as gassiness or fussiness. You should also check to see if any rash develops or they show any other signs of a having a sensitivity to milk.
How Should I Introduce Ice Cream?
Once your baby has had their first birthday, it is considered safe to introduce dairy products. However, you should not start out with ice cream. First, try out some cow’s milk and see how their body tolerates it. If there are not any negative symptoms present, you can move onto other dairy products, like ice cream.
- Types - You should avoid any ice cream that has extra flavoring added, along with types that have chunks or pieces of food in them. These can be a choking hazard. Instead, start out with plain vanilla at first.
- How Much - Even though your baby is now one year old, you should not give them a big heaping bowl of ice cream all to themselves. Instead, share a few spoonfuls of your ice cream with them.
- How Often - A young child should not have ice cream every day. For instance, you would limit a three-year-old's intake of ice cream too, at most, three times a week. They simply do not need the sugar intake. This also applies to a baby, but to an even more extreme degree. Since babies are smaller than other children, they should only have ice cream once every other week. While it is a delicious treat, there are simply better foods, like this yogurt, for a developing baby to be eating than ice cream.
How Sweet It Is!
In review, a baby should only have ice cream, due to digestive concerns, after they are one year of age and have tried out cow’s milk first. You should start out with a plain ice cream that doesn’t have any added flavors or chunks, and should only let them enjoy it every once in awhile. Just don’t rush them! If you are patient, they’ll have plenty of time to share and enjoy that ice cream with you!