Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat for your family on a hot summer day.
This Sundae (pun intended) is National Ice Cream day, which gives your family the perfect excuse to have a bowl. But can your baby join in on the celebration?
Babies have delicate digestive systems, and it’s hard to determine what and when you can give your baby certain foods. Ice cream, made with milk, cream, and sugar, is one of those foods that can make your baby scream for ice cream, just not in a good way.
When can your baby enjoy ice cream?
It’s best to wait until your baby is at least one to give them ice cream. You can give your baby a tiny taste of ice cream before then, but do so sparingly as their little bodies might have trouble with the delectable dairy product.
Why should you wait?
Traditional ice cream is high in sugar and fat. Many commercial brands also add preservatives, food coloring and various other artificial ingredients. These ingredients are unhealthy for your growing baby.
Dairy is also difficult for babies under one to digest, and babies can develop sensitivities to the ingredients. Dairy, especially from whole milk, is a major cause of tummy issues for babies, which can lead to an all-night crying session for you and your baby.
Ice cream is also susceptible to bacterial build up. In recent years, listeria and other bacterial outbreaks have hit ice cream brands like Blue Bell and Jeni’s hard. The pasteurization process, which kills most bacteria, makes most ice cream safe but it’s still better to be cautious with this sweet treat.
Even after your baby turns one, only give ice cream sparingly. The sweet treat increases the risk for tooth decay, obesity, and fondness for sweets later on. Make sure they know ice cream is a treat for special occasions, not an everyday thing.
How do you introduce your baby to ice cream?
Homemade ice cream, made from non-dairy, natural foods like avocados, bananas, and coconut milk is a good place to start. By making it at home, you can guarantee it was made in a clean environment free of allergens and preservatives. It’s also much heathier than store bought ice cream.
If your baby has been cleared to eat yogurt by their pediatrician, you can also introduce them to frozen yogurt. Freeze the yogurt and stir every hour until it has a similar consistency to ice cream. Then let them enjoy!
How do I introduce the real deal?
Once your baby has turned one, you can start introducing ice in small bites to avoid brain freeze. Make sure you use ice cream that is pasteurized, not “raw” which is not safe for your baby. It’s important to feed them ice cream from a reputable source. You can also continue mixing in non-dairy options, especially if your baby is still sensitive, that are healthy and delicious.