Introducing new foods to your baby for the first time is an exciting milestone moment for most parents. The process of slowly introducing your child to solids is called weaning, and many families are choosing to introduce these new tastes and textures in a way that lets babies explore the foods at their own pace. Baby led weaning is a fantastic way to introduce first foods, and as such one of the questions I am often asked is “can babies eat peas?”. Peas are a great first food that can be introduced to your child from around 6 months of age.
Everything you need to know about feeding your baby peas.
Peas are a common ingredient in many meals, so it stands to reason that parents will want to know the answer to “can babies eat peas?”. Fortunately, as long as your baby has established a good weaning routine, peas hold very little risk to young children. However, before offering your child peas for the first time, there are a few things you should consider.
- Are peas healthy for babies?
- Are peas a common choking hazard for babies?
- Are peas a common allergen?
- Can babies eat peas if they have been canned?
- Are peas hard to digest for babies?
Let’s take a look at each of these questions in turn.
Are peas healthy for babies?
Not only can babies eat peas, but they actually make a great first food choice as they are packed full of nutritional value. Peas are a great source of fibre for babies, which is important when starting the baby led weaning journey. They’re also packed with carbohydrates and protein – all of which help to fuel growth and development. Additionally, peas are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, folate, and vitamin B6 which all help to support the immune system, brain development, and form a healthy metabolism. To top it all off, peas are also rich in antioxidants.
Are peas a common choking hazard for babies?
Whole peas can be a potential choking hazard, so how can babies eat peas safely? Typically the rounded shape and diameter of a pea is very similar to the size of a baby’s trachea, subsequently, in order to minimise the risk of choking, peas should be mashed into a paste or gently flattened with a fork. Squishing peas slightly at first allows babies to experience the taste and texture of peas without posing a high risk of choking.
As your baby gets more confident with the weaning process, parents are able to stop squashing peas, however, babies and young children should always be supervised when eating, just in case they do begin to choke. As your baby explores new tastes and textures, you may want to provide peas in various ways, for example serving your child baby friendly pea soup or purees.
Are peas a common allergen?
Peas aren’t considered a common allergen, however, over recent years there has been a rise in reported cases due to the rise in popularity of pea protein products, such as plant-based foods. Some people have reported that children and babies with allergies to other legumes such as chickpeas and lentils could experience allergic reactions to peas. So, with that being said, can babies eat peas if they’re allergic to other legumes? The good news is that most individuals that report allergies to peanuts and soy are able to tolerate other legumes such as peas. If your baby does have a known peanut allergy, it’s best to introduce foods with pea protein with caution.
Can babies eat peas if they have been canned?
It is perfectly fine for babies and young children to eat canned peas. With that being said, it’s best to look for the cans marked with “no added salt” as some branded canned peas can contain high sodium levels that could damage your baby’s kidneys. In order to remove any residue salt, drain and rinse off the peas before adding them to your baby’s meal.
Are peas hard to digest for babies?
Peas contain fibre which can lead to babies producing gas. As a result, some parents question, can babies eat peas?, as they’re worried that this increased digestive movement means that peas are hard to digest. Although the shells of peas are naturally resistant to digestion, these fibres help to feed friendly gut bacteria and support your baby’s development. Peas are rich in fibre and subsequently support gut health, bowel movements and digestion. In fact, introducing small amounts of fibre-rich foods, such as peas, into your baby’s diet can help to ease digestive discomforts that may upset your baby when they start to explore solids more often.
Can babies eat peas when made into protein milk?
Pea protein milk is a dairy substitute, however, it is not suitable for babies under the age of 12 months. Up until the age of 12 months, babies should be receiving breast or formula milk, and small amounts of water. No other drinks are necessary unless recommended by your health visitor or GP. However, pea protein milk can be used as an ingredient in cooked foods, such as porridge, before the age of 12 months.
How to serve peas to babies.
How can babies eat peas? Well this tiny, but mighty, vegetable is extremely versatile and can be offered to babies and young children in a manner of ways. For example, peas make a good accompaniment to meals and can form part of your child’s 5-a-day with meals such as baby friendly fish and chips. Along with pureed peas and pea soup, there are other ways to serve your child blended peas, such as creating pea pesto to mix in with your baby’s favourite pasta dishes. Alternatively, use canned, frozen, or fresh peas to create delicious food and snacks, such as baby led weaning pea fritters.
This post has answered a commonly asked baby led weaning query: “can babies eat peas?”. As well as that, we’ve also looked into whether peas are healthy for babies, whether peas are a common choking hazard, whether or not babies can be allergic to peas, do babies find peas hard to digest, and whether or not babies can eat peas that have been canned. For more information about baby-led weaning and first foods, check out our Baby Led Weaning archive.