Marmite is a British staple, and it’s true when they say that you either love it, or you hate it. With this savoury spread being such a popular dietary addition for people up and down the UK, it’s no wonder that I frequently get asked the question, “can babies have Marmite?” by parents.
Well, the good news for Marmite lovers is that Marmite is indeed safe to feed babies, as long as it is in moderation, from the age of 6 months and onward.
What do you need to know when introducing Marmite to your baby?
Firstly, when asking ‘can babies have Marmite?’, you might want to consider whether or not your baby will actually like it. Marmite is famous for its savoury flavour but there’s no guarantee that your baby will love it as much as you do. Remember that if at first they do not appreciate your favourite spread, not all is lost; it can take more than 10 tries of a specific food before your baby starts to warm to it.
With that being said, before offering your baby Marmite for the first time, there are a few things to consider that will help you to introduce it in a safe way. This article is going to be looking at the following topics and offering advice on how to best introduce your baby to Marmite.
- What exactly is Marmite?
- Health benefits of Marmite
- Marmite is high in salt and should therefore be given in moderation
- What happens if your baby has too much salt
- Best ways to introduce Marmite to your baby
Let’s take a look at each point in turn.
What is Marmite and how is it made?
Originally invented by a German scientist in 1902, Marmite has been around for decades, and as such, it has a rich history. Justus von Liebig invented Marmite in the UK by noting that leftover brewer’s yeast could be concentrated, bottled, and eaten. Since this discovery, Marmite has been used to treat anaemia in mill works across Bombay and India, treat malnutrition during the malaria epidemic in Sri Lanka, and even form part of the British troop’s ration packs during the first world war.
When it comes to questioning, can babies have Marmite?, the rich history of the product all points to it being a fantastic dietary addition with a great number of vitamins and acids that aid the health and wellbeing of people, so let’s take a look at some of these benefits.
What are the health benefits of eating Marmite?
Marmite is pretty much packed full of important B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B9, and B12. In addition to this, Marmite also contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and selenium. For those looking to conceive, Marmite is a fantastic food choice as it has a high concentration of folic acid which can help to increase the chances of conception, prevent birth defects and reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
It’s important to remember that although there are some great health benefits to the spread, it also has a high salt content and should therefore only be given to a baby in moderation.
Marmite has a high salt content and should therefore be fed to babies in moderation.
When considering introducing Marmite to your baby’s diet, you’re really going to want to think about the sodium content in the average jar.
Although the answer to can babies have Marmite? is a yes, guidelines state that babies under 1 year of age shouldn’t have more than 1g of salt per day and toddlers and children aged 1 – 3 shouldn’t have more than 2g of salt per day. According to Marmite’s website however, a single serving of Marmite contains 0.86g of salt which equates to around 86% of your baby’s daily salt intake allowance.
It’s therefore advisable to keep a careful eye on the amount of spread you’re offering your baby, or to opt for Marmite’s lower salt version. The low salt product contains 0.46g of salt per serving which is nearly half as much as the original version.
What can happen if a baby has too much salt?
To put it simply, too much salt in your baby’s diet can cause serious health complications. Your baby is not yet fully developed and therefore their kidneys cannot process large amounts of salt. As a result, the salt will start to build up in their bloodstream and start to increase their blood pressure, thus raising the risks of heart disease and strokes.
If you find that your baby has more than 1g of salt in a day, do not worry as this is unlikely to cause any harm. It is with prolonged exposure to high salt levels that these types of illnesses can occur, therefore it’s vital that you only offer Marmite in moderation.
What are the best ways to introduce Marmite to your baby’s diet?
You’re probably wondering how can babies have Marmite? There are lots of ways for you to introduce Marmite into your baby’s diet, but it’s easier to do so when they’ve grasped their ‘pincer grip’ motion and can happily enjoy foods such as toast or rice cakes.
A thin layer of Marmite spread on toast can be a good breakfast choice for babies and rice crackers with a thin layer of Marmite form a tasty afternoon snack. You can also serve Marmite on bagels, crumpets, and as part of sandwiches.
Although Marmite is sold as a savoury spread, it can also be used to add a depth of flavour to your cooking. Try using it in stews and other hearty dishes to create some new and exciting flavours for you and your family to try.
Could my baby be allergic to Marmite?
It is possible for your baby to be allergic to Marmite as it does contain both gluten and celery – two very common allergens. By the time your baby is old enough to try Marmite, it is likely that they will already have been exposed to gluten and celery, however it’s still advisable to only offer your baby one new food at a time to ensure that if you do see a reaction, you can pinpoint the cause.
Your family history can play a part in determining the likelihood of your child developing allergies, therefore you may want to consider a trip to your GP if you have asthma, eczema, or known allergies in your family.
According to the NHS, the main foods and drinks that cause allergies are:
- Cow’s milk
- Food containing gluten
- Nuts and peanuts
Alternative spreads for babies.
If your baby has an allergy to celery or gluten, it’s clear that the answer to can babies have Marmite? is going to be a big no-no, however, worry not as there are plenty of other fun and tasty spreads that they can enjoy safely instead.
If you’re looking for alternative spreads to use that still pack strong flavours, you could consider introducing things such as hummus, guacamole, or tzatziki.
Always remember to only offer one new food at a time to your baby to ensure that you can pinpoint any reaction you may get.
Can babies have marmite?
Can babies have Marmite? Yes! But only if it is given in moderation due to the high salt content. If you are eager to introduce Marmite to your baby’s diet, it’s recommended that you purchase the low salt version as this has around half the sodium content of the original version, therefore making it safer for babies and young children to eat. Marmite does also contain gluten and celery – two of the most common allergens, so be sure to introduce it on its own without any other new foods, just in case an allergic reaction does occur.