Can I add spices to my baby's first puree?
I get this question a lot. And I can see why, most baby books and baby food products on the shelves start baby off with bland fruit and vegetable purees without adding anything else to them. The key word here is BLAND!
Both Sara and I agree (along with a ton of other research) that there is absolutely nothing wrong with introducing spices and herbs to your baby's first purees. In fact, in most other parts of the world, babies are dining on complex and flavor-rich purees that tantalize and tempt their tiny tastebuds with rich flavors. But for some reason, bland, tasteless and mushy baby puree has become the norm in this country.
It's time to end that cycle now!
It's time to spice things up!
Let's rock and roll!
And if you have been breastfeeding your little one, you have already introduced all of the spices you have eaten to them. So when you had that amazing Thai Basil Curry, Spicy Black Bean Chili or Garlic Chicken with Roasted Cumin Carrots, your baby has tasted all those flavors through your milk. Spiced food will be the norm for your baby, so don't go backwards by starting to feed them bland puree food.
There is one more thing that rarely gets mentioned but all spices and herbs have medicinal qualities to them. For more information on each spice and herbs benefits, I find this a useful link.
Here are some guidelines I like to follow:
Start with a pinch and go from there. For your babies first puree just add a pinch or dash of a spice to see how they react. Most likely they are going to gobble it up. As they build up their eating skills and palette you can start adding more spices and herbs to the mix.
Don't underestimate what spices and herbs your little one will like. Adding a spectrum of spices and herbs to different purees will only broaden their taste buds so don't be afraid to add some hot spice, curries or ginger to their food. I know, hot spices sound crazy right? But babies really respond to having a hint of heat in their food and they show no negative impact on babies tummy or bum.
Always taste their food first. This is for two reasons really. To begin with, if you don't like the food you are serving them, then chances are they are not going to like it either. Their food should be just as tasty as something you would eat. Secondly, you don't want to overpower the puree with a spice. This tip is especially helpful if you are adding spices with some heat.
So there you have it, the answer is YES!
Add away. Mix it up. Make it yummy but remember to always have fun with it.