Most people normally like eating a little ice cream whenever it’s hot. You’ll probably notice that most of them usually prefer this delicious frozen treat during a really hot summer day. Both adults and kids can readily eat ice cream. But, what about ice cream for babies?
Well, it really depends on how old your baby is, and the dairy content of the ice cream you’re giving them. The general rule is that if your baby is 12 months and above, he or she can eat an ice cream no questions asked. However, when you’re giving your baby their first ice cream, you’ll want to be cautious so as to avoid further complications.
Keep an eye on your baby when giving them their first bit of dairy. Some babies are very sensitive to milk products, even when they’re twelve months and older. This is mainly because most of them are used to breast milk, and they aren’t used to digesting lactose yet. With time, the baby will usually get used to these dairy products – however, there is the chance your baby is lactose intolerant, and won’t be able to consume any dairy at all. If this is the case, don’t fret – literally two thirds of us have a lactose intolerance of some kind.
Before you think of getting some ice cream for your baby, you should really consider a number of things. I’m also going to give you some tips on some delicious baby friendly options, and what you should do if your baby really can’t digest their lactose properly.
Avoid buying ice cream from street vendors
We all like to get ourselves a cheeky ice cream from time to time. If we’re in a rush, a nice soft serve can be delightful. But, you should try to avoid these people who sell ice cream in the streets. Whilst some of them usually preserve these ice creams well, in my experience many others don’t.
In most cases, these ice creams are heat pasteurized. This means that they warmed to a certain temperature first to ensure the killing of the bacteria that can make it your ice cream go bad. But unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
If you want to buy an ice cream for your baby, you should not buy it from one of these vendors. Some of these ice cream are not stored well. If the ice cream is not stored well, it might go bad and this can be detrimental to your babies health.
Check the ingredients
You might think that this is a bit time consuming, but it is worth it – you’re talking about your babies health! You should actually read the ingredients that have been used thoroughly, so that you can know the right products to choose.
You will note that some ingredients might cause allergic reactions. And remember, I’m not just talking about lactose in your babies ice cream here. You really want to watch our for nuts and other allergens, as you don’t want to haphazardly feel your baby something they are allergic too.
Remember that the immunity of young babies is usually very low. I can’t stress this enough; you need to take caution when choosing these ice cream. If the ice cream has ingredients such as nuts and strawberries, it can cause allergic reactions for your baby.
For some reason, people seem to think they have to give their baby an entire ice cream. It’s like, if they’re going to give their baby so ice cream, they might as well give them the whole thing!
No! Giving your baby foods in really small quantities is not only preferable, it’s advised. This is true for ice cream, where you can give your baby just a few spoonfuls of ice cream and see how they react. Then, if your baby doesn’t digest the food well (usually diarrhoea with ice cream in my experience), you haven’t inflicted a full tub of ice cream on them.
Consider other alternatives
Now, I looove ice cream. But, you can easily introduce other alternatives if you really want to feed your baby ice cream or something similar. In this case, it is advisable to try non dairy products, like smoothies and fruit custard. If you cool them first, this will make them the baby feel as though as she is eating a cold ice cream (honestly, your child is a baby and will likely not notice much of a difference!).
Most babies usually like sugary substances. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should feed them sugary stuff though – you shouldn’t! You shouldn’t give your baby too much sugar, especially if it’s processed.
Ice cream might happen to be one of those things that your baby likes. However, it is advisable that you regulate the number of times and the amount that you give him or her the ice cream. If you want to give your baby less than 12 months a treat by getting them an ice cream, you could consider these variations of ice cream for babies so that you can rest assured you’re giving them the right thing.
Ice Cream for Babies – Your Best Options
Now, let’s have a look at some of the options that you might consider giving your baby as opposed to traditional ice cream. Remember, we’re trying to avoid dairy here because this is the main thing that has an effect on your babies digestion.
Almond Ice Cream
By going for an almond ice cream, you can avoid the copious amounts of dairy you’d find in regular ice cream. Almond ice cream is a great choice because usually it doesn’t need too many ingredients to make, so you don’t have to worry about your baby eating lots of chemicals either.
There are a few almond ice creams available on the market, with my favorite probably being So Delicious. This is because their products aren’t plowed with additives and you don’t need to worry about fake sugars like maltitol, which may upset your baby more than lactose would! You should avoid almond milk brands like Ben & Jerry’s, because they have far too many extra toppings thrown in like nuts and cookies. Try and go for a plain almond milk ice cream – your babies digestive system will thank you!
Soy Ice Cream
Another more traditional alternative to dairy ice cream is soy ice cream. Soy has been the go to ingredients for many years when dealing with lactose intolerance in general, so it’s no surprise that it’s a great alternative to giving dairy to your baby.
Whilst I still like the So Delicious soy brands that you can get, I think I prefer the Trader Joes soy ice cream. This is because it’s made with organic soy milk and small amounts of cane sugar, which should be fine for your baby in small amounts.
Coconut Ice Cream
Are you seeing a pattern here? You can pretty much look to any non dairy ice cream as an alternative. In fact, coconut may be my favorite option of these to give to your child.
You will have to be pretty careful with the amount of coconut milk ice cream you give your child. This is because of it’s high fat content, which will leave your baby feeling full – be sure to monitor how your baby deals with digestion.
In general though, coconut milk actually offers little nutritional value as part of your babies diet and is a secondary option to soy milk. It should be used as a treat for your baby, like ice cream should be in general.
Whilst I wouldn’t recommend giving your baby store bought sorbet, you can find a nice fruit puree that is extremely similar to a sorbet. For this reason, I’d recommend you actually make your own version of a sorbet as opposed to buying one.
Here’s a great recipe for a sorbet suitable for your baby. It’s ideal for babies that are 8 months or older. This is because it goes pretty easy on the sugar – you definitely don’t want to be giving your baby a sugar overload! In fact, the main reason that you generally want to avoid giving your baby foods high in sugar and salt is that is leaves a lot less room to give them nutritionally beneficially stuff. Essentially, sugar is empty calories, so try to save it for when you want to give your baby a special treat as opposed to an everyday occurence.
Yogurt (not frozen yogurt!)
A much safer option to giving your baby dairy ice cream is starting off by giving them yogurt. But yogurt is dairy too, right?
Well yes, but it’s proven that yogurt is much easier for your baby to digest than ice cream. Tis is in part due to the lower fat content, but primarily due to the fact that the active cultures in yogurt actually help with digestion, making it much easier on your babies tummy than dairy ice cream.
There’s an abundance of great options for yogurts for babies out there, but Petit Filous is still one of my favorites.
When can you start giving babies dairy in general?
As you can see from the list, there’s many other alternatives to giving your baby dairy ice cream. But, this doesn’t mean to say that you should avoid giving your baby dairy in general.
As a rule of thumb, most nutritions will say you should wait around 6 months before slowly introducing your baby to dairy. However, this doesn’t mean you should start giving your baby ice cream at 6 months old!
It’s important to remember that different dairy products will have different effects on your babies digestions system. For example, normal yogurt is the most commonly recommended dairy product to start your baby on at 6 months old because it’s particularly good for their digestion. This is opposed to other dairy products, which you should wait a bit longer before introducing your baby to.
If you’re asking yourself things like “when can babies have frozen yogurt?”, then a good answer to this is a few months after you’ve introduced them to ‘softer’ dairy products like regular yogurt. For cheese, you should also probably wait between 8-10 months before giving this product to your baby even if the cheese is grated properly, and with ice cream I still stand by my recommendation of waiting at least a year.
Another thing that you should always remember is to give your baby these foods in small quantities! You don’t need to give your baby massive amounts of dairy, so starting them off with a small spoonful is a great way to go.
To conclude, it’s probably not the best idea to be giving your baby any type of dairy within the first six months. This tends to result in an upset stomach, and an upset Mommy & Daddy from having to clean up the mess afterwards!
Remember; there’s really no rush to introduce your child to dairy. Many people want to try and introduce dairy into their child’s system immediately to see if they’re allergic or how they’ll react. Or, you feel guilty snacking on an ice cream whilst your child can’t join you. There are TONS of alternatives for your child, so try not to feel guilty about eating ice cream when your child is around.