8 Important Things You Must Know When Giving Baby Ice Cream

baby eating ice cream pictures

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Forbidden foods are tastier. Proved time and again since the times of Adam and Eve, we long to eat something which we are told not to eat. Take an ice cream, for instance. How uncontrollable it is to avoid an ice cream from melting in our mouth!

When it is so tempting for a grown-up, can we blame our poor little one for wanting to eat it? So, when can babies eat ice cream? MomJunction answers this question, and also shares tips and recipes for introducing your baby to ice creams.

When Can Babies Have Ice Cream?

Babies can have ice cream after the age of 12 months, as it is a dairy product. Though it is made from whole milk and cream, pasteurized to remove bacteria, babies can still be sensitive to milk proteins and other ingredients.

One year is when the baby is usually exposed to other dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter, and hence you may include the ice cream too. However, according to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, discretionary foods and drinks such as ice cream and other ice confections need to be avoided for babies as they are poor sources of nutrients (1).

4 Reasons To Avoid Ice Cream For Babies Below One Year

The first 12 months are crucial for your baby as you introduce him to nutritious food, and build a taste for healthy foods. Therefore, it is too early to feed your baby with ice cream. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid ice cream during this time:

1. Preservatives

Almost all the ice creams in the market contain preservatives, fat, sugar, artificial ingredients, and food coloring. So it is worth a wait until your baby’s first birthday.

2. Whole milk

Ice cream is made using milk, and you should not introduce a baby to whole milk until he is one year old. Your baby could have sensitivity issues due to whole milk and cream.

[Read: When Can Babies Have Dairy Products ]

3. Chance of bacterial build-up

There is a possibility of bacteria buildup in the ice cream, whether you buy it from the store or make it at home. Exposure to such bacteria could lead to infections due to your baby’s weak immune system. In severe cases, the infection may need urgent medical attention.

4. Digestion issues

The whole milk and other ingredients in the ice cream are hard for a baby to digest. The ice cream can lead to gas buildup and chronic pain in the stomach or colic issues.

4 Tips To Introduce Ice Cream For Babies

Talk to your pediatrician before introducing your baby an ice cream for the first time. Here are a few points to remember:

1. Say ‘no’ to street vendors

Most commercial ice creams are heat pasteurized, killing the bacteria, but be careful from where you are buying it. Never buy an ice cream from a street vendor because you can never be sure about the sanitary and storage conditions at such places.

Bacteria might build up in improper storage conditions. The water used by the local ice cream vendors may not be of the best quality. Poor water quality could lead to gastrointestinal infections in the little one.

[Read: Baby First Foods Guide ]

2. Be sure about the ingredients

Read the ingredient list carefully before offering ice cream to your little one. Certain ingredients could cause allergic reactions. Some common ingredients in ice cream, which could be allergic, are nuts, peanuts, strawberries and coloring agents. Avoid ice creams made of raw milk as it can carry bacteria (2).

Choose a simpler ice cream without too many additional ingredients.

3. Do not overdo

Start with small bites. After introducing an ice cream, do not over feed just because your little one is enjoying it. The sugar content can be harmful to your baby as too much of it could lead to potential tooth decay, and overweight in the long run.

Offer just a spoon or two at a time and not more than once in a week or two.

4. Offer him alternatives

If your baby loves ice cream, you can feed him with desserts such as homemade fruit smoothies, flavored yogurt, fruit custard, fresh fruit slices, chilled fruit purees, sweets, fruit, and jelly. Chill them just before serving to give them the feel of an ice cream.

Simple Baby Ice Cream Recipes

Home-made ice cream for babies is safer than the commercial ones. You can be sure of the ingredients used in it so that the little one doesn’t show up allergies.

1. Homemade baby vanilla ice cream recipe (12+ months)

Homemade baby vanilla ice cream recipe

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 5 minutes + freezing time

You will need:

  • 1 ripe banana (peeled)
  • 5 strawberries (hulled, cut)
  • 1 hass avocado (pitted)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1tsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract (optional)

How to:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and make a puree.
  2. Transfer it to a container and freeze for an hour. After removing from the freezer, stir well.
  3. Place it back into the freezer. Continue the process until it reaches the desired consistency.

[Read: Benefits Of Dry Fruits For Babies]

Note: Substitute strawberries with some other fruit like mango, if your baby has not tried it earlier or is allergic to the fruit. You can make a straight banana version too.

You may even use other ingredients to make the ice cream nutritious. Try some veggies, which get a sweet flavor and texture when cooked, like mashed potato, boiled carrots and sweet corn.

2. Banana ice cream

Banana ice cream

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 5 minutes+ freezing time

You will need:

  • 1 ripe, frozen banana
  • 1tsp cocoa powder

How to:

  1. Throw the frozen banana in a blender, add cocoa powder and run.
  2. Adding a scoop of almond butter or peanut butter would make it a healthy snack.

Note: Frozen banana is perfect for soothing a teething baby’s sore or tender gums.

3. Vanilla frozen yogurt ice cream

Vanilla frozen yogurt ice cream

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 5 hours 5 minutes

You will need:

  • 3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

How to:

  1. Mix sugar, yogurt, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Cover it with a lid and refrigerate.
  2. Pour the chilled mix into an ice cream maker and freeze again until it reaches the soft-serve consistency.
  3. Transfer to a plastic container, cover with plastic wrap.

4. Chocolate ice cream

Chocolate ice cream

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cream milk
  • 1 ½ cup cream
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

[Read: Greek Yogurt For Babies ]

How to:

  1. Mix cocoa and sugars in a bowl. Gently add milk and continue mixing for five minutes.
  2. Add cream, vanilla extract and salt to the mix and stir well.
  3. Transfer the mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.
  4. Freeze until hard.

Try to add healthy ingredients to the ice cream, so that your baby will eat something nutritious and enjoy the taste too. However, do not hurry to introduce ice cream to your baby. Wait until the little one turns one. By the way, be ready for the mess if your darling wants to enjoy eating herself!

When was the first time your baby had ice cream? Have some interesting ice cream recipes to share? Tell us here.

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