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When can you start preparing spinach for babies?

This leafy green is power-packed with nutrients and health benefits, but is it safe for your baby? Nitrates in spinach can cause food poisoning for babies that are too young. Here’s when and how to safely introduce spinach for babies!

Spinach is one of the most powerful greens there are and for good reason. It is one of the best sources of iron, a very important nutrient for your baby’s growth and muscle development. Introducing your baby to spinach when you have fully weaned them to solid food can help them eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Spinach also has a neutral flavour, which can make it very easy to add in a number of recipes in your baby’s food chart. Here are the top benefits of spinach for babies and how you can start introducing your baby to this leafy superfood.

Health benefits of spinach

Spinach or palak is great for babies since the nutrients it contains are vital for healthy growth.

  • Spinach is a good source of vitamin A as well as B2, C, E, and K. It is a healthy option for improving vision as well as immunity.
  • Spinach is  90% water and it will keep your baby hydrated.
  • It is mineral-rich, particularly in manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium. A proper potassium balance is important for a healthy heart, zinc aids the immune system and the other minerals are needed for bone development. 

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  • Spinach for toddlers is a natural laxative and helps in constipation as it adds bulk to the stools. Spinach has twice the amount of fiber that other greens have.
  • Spinach health benefits also extend to the muscles. 100gms of spinach has over 2gms of proteins, making it a good source of the nutrient that builds muscles.
  • Spinach is one of the best calcium-rich foods for children. Including it in your growing child’s diet can help them develop strong bones and teeth.
  • The iron in spinach can help improve your baby’s haemoglobin content. This can prevent anaemia and fatigue.

Also read our blog on Are Probiotics Safe for Babies? What You Need to Know Before Feeding Them to Your Child.

When can you introduce spinach to your baby?

Most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is 8 to 10 months before introducing it into their diet. This is mainly because if spinach is stored for a while, its nitrate levels can increase. Your baby’s young kidneys will not be able to cope with such high nitrate levels and they might experience a bad reaction to it. Even once your baby crosses this age, always ensure that you feed them fresh spinach or baby spinach as it is easier for them to digest.

Also read our blog on 6 Incredible Benefits of Chamomile for Babies.

Symptoms of a bad reaction to spinach

Some babies can experience an allergic reaction to spinach. In a few cases, your baby might not be able to digest the oxalates in spinach and might have a bad reaction to it. Some of the symptoms of food poisoning in babies from spinach include:

1. Because your baby cannot digest spinach, they might experience severe abdominal pain, cramping or diarrhoea.

2. A spinach food allergy could also cause a red rash on your baby’s skin. In some cases, this rash might be very itchy, prompting your baby to keep scratching it.

3. In some very rare cases, an extreme spinach food allergy could cause respiratory problems. Your baby might have trouble breathing and start gasping for breath. Make sure you rush your child to their pediatrician immediately if this occurs.

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It’s important to remember that each of these symptoms can also be indicators of other health conditions. Pay close attention to see if these symptoms repeatedly occur immediately after feeding spinach to your baby.

How to prepare spinach for babies

When it comes to cooking spinach for your baby, it’s important that you take steps to prepare it safely. You can serve spinach for babies younger than 10 months but only once in a while. Just make sure you only use the fresh, tender leaves as they have the lowest nitrate content. Always wash the leaves thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or contaminants on them. If you are boiling spinach leaves in water, throw out the water once it’s cooked as it will be high in nitrates. For babies below one year of age, you should serve spinach as a puree because it will be easier for them to swallow and digest. Once your baby is older, you can serve spinach to them chopped up.  

There are umpteen ways to prepare spinach recipes for babies.  However, do keep in mind that the nitrates in spinach can make some babies allergic to it. The very first time you give spinach to your baby, give not more than a teaspoon mixed with potato or rice. If your baby shows no reaction to this, you can increase the quantity and experiment with different recipes. For more expert tips on child nutrition, download the mfine app and schedule an instant consultation with your city’s top pediatricians!

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