Is it okay to give chocolate to babies?

What are the effects of giving chocolate to your baby? When it comes to our baby’s diet, it’s often encouraged to steer clear of sugar, salt and saturated fats. But when it comes to their first birthday, it can be tempting to give them a little piece of chocolate as a celebration.

Babymoov’s nutritionist, Julia Wolman, provides some valuable advice on giving chocolate to your little one.

The sugar issue

Current weaning advice recommends that you avoid giving sugary foods to babies during their first year. Not only are sugary foods harmful to tiny teeth but they can also be quite filling for tiny tummies. If given between meals, they could reduce your baby’s appetite for nutritious foods during the important weaning period.

No food is forbidden

From 12 months, toddler diets typically start to include more sugary foods. Occasional exposure to treat foods from one year is fine, as long as your little one doesn’t get used to it as a part of their everyday diet.

There is little guidance for food portion sizes for babies. However, the Infant and Toddler Forum provides guidance for one to four year olds, suggesting that a suitable portion of chocolate for this age group is:

  • 2-4 squares of chocolate
  • ½ – 1 chocolate coated biscuit
  • 6-8 small chocolate buttons
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The portion range is indicative of different ages and appetites from one child to the next and for babies would of course be smaller.

Preferable to sweets

If you had to choose between sweets or chocolate for your baby, chocolate would be a better choice since it contains some milk and therefore provides a little calcium. Darker varieties also contain some iron, an important micro-nutrient for young children. Sweets on the other hand offer nothing but sugar and, if in contact with the teeth for a long time (as with lollies or chewy sweets), could contribute to tooth decay.

Never as a reward

If you do give your baby or toddler treats, it should not be as a reward for good behaviour. Foods given as a reward can be perceived as having a higher value than other foods. Instead, give a treat as part of a dessert alongside other healthier foods such as fruit or yoghurt.

maternity & infant

Originally posted 2016-10-12 15:25:43.