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As your baby starts to grow up and take a leap from breastmilk and baby formula to different kinds of solid food, it’s always exciting to see them try out new foods.
However, just because they’re ready to eat solids, doesn’t mean they’re ready for all kinds of food, so when babies eat chia seeds?
Ideally, your baby should be ready to consume chia seeds when he or she is around 6 to 8 months old. Yet, the chia seeds must be soaked properly to make them easier to digest.
If you want to know more about chia seeds, their benefits, and how to introduce them to your baby, keep on reading this guide!
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are the seeds of a flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. The plant’s scientific name is Salvia hispanica. It grows naturally around central America. The plant was originally called “chian” or “chiyantli” by the locals, which means “oily”.
The seeds of the chia plant had a reputation for being an excellent source of nutrition since the Aztec and Mayan civilisations.
The seeds can be consumed dry by adding them to smoothies, juices, salads, oatmeal, and yoghurt, whether they’re ground or whole.
Additionally, you can make them into a chia seed pudding by combining them (soaked or dry) with some milk, and leaving them in the fridge for a few hours.
What Are The Benefits of Chia Seeds For Babies?
Chia seeds are considered a form of superfood for adults, so it’s no wonder that they’re quite healthy for babies as well!
For starters, chia seeds are extremely rich in healthy fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds contain the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids among all types of plants!
Additionally, they’re rich in a variety of macronutrients, including proteins as well as soluble fibres that are great for relieving constipation in babies and adults.
Moreover, chia seeds are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K and vitamin B6 in addition to zinc and calcium which are healthy for bones and teeth development.
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which reduce the risks of many diseases and keep your baby’s skin healthy! Chia seeds are also gluten-free which fights inflammation and digestive problems in the long run.
With that said, chia seeds can cause some digestive problems when consumed in large quantities, so they should be added in moderation to your baby’s diet.
When Can Babies Eat Chia Seeds?
While every baby grows at his or her pace, it’s usually common for babies to start consuming solids as early as 6 to 8 months old.
Although babies are not usually weaned during that time, they’re usually ready to try out some solids, such as yoghurt and soft fruits and vegetables. During that time, your baby should be able to try out chia seeds as well.
How to Add Chia Seeds into Food for Your Baby
Although chia seeds are too small to obstruct your baby’s airways, they tend to absorb moisture and expand. They also tend to clump, which can make them a choking hazard.
To avoid these problems, make sure that you soak the chia seeds in water and thoroughly mix them to break any clumps formed before introducing them to your baby. Alternatively, use a baby food blender.
Additionally, you can give them chia seeds in the form of chia pudding, which is made by soaking the seeds in milk (usually 3 to 4 tablespoons for every 1 cup of milk).
If your baby doesn’t seem to like the taste of chia seeds, you should still try to add them into his or her diet because these seeds are extremely nutritious!
Luckily, the seeds are somewhat tasteless, so you can add them to a wide range of food options, including yoghurt, porridges as well as mashed vegetables and fruits.
Alternatives and Similar Foods to Chia Seeds
If you can’t find chia seeds but you want similar seeds that also have a lot of benefits, you might want to consider linseeds or flax seeds. These seeds are also full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in addition to proteins and soluble fibres!
In addition to linseed, you can also try other substitutes like:
- Sesame seeds
- Coconut flakes
- Oat bran
There you have it! A brief guide that shows you the ideal time to introduce chia seeds to your baby’s diet.
As you can see, babies can eat chia seeds around the same time they take small bites of fresh whole vegetables and fruits, which is usually anywhere between 6 to 8 months old.