Breadsticks are a popular side dish in Italian cuisine. However, there are nutritional and safety considerations for serving breadsticks to your baby.
Overall, your baby can have breadsticks when they are at least ten months old. Make sure the breadsticks are softened and in bite-sized pieces when serving to your baby.
This article will cover more information about serving breadsticks to your baby, choking risk, texture, cheese, and more.
Is it Safe to Give Babies Breadsticks?
Breadsticks are safe for babies when they are at least ten months old. At ten months old, your baby is ready for baby finger foods that are soft and bite-sized (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).
However, the texture of breadsticks can vary greatly, from super crunchy and hard breadsticks to softer chewable bread.
For crunchy and hard breadsticks, make sure you soften them with breast milk, infant formula, or a bit of water before cutting them up and giving them to your baby. However, soft breadsticks are typically the better option, to begin with, so that it is not a choking hazard.
Since bread can be chewy, especially when it is heated, make sure the bread is chopped up very small to reduce the risk of choking as well.
Chopped-up soft pieces of bread can be a good option for a baby-led weaning approach, as your baby can easily grasp them and feed themself.
Nutritionally, breadsticks are often high in saturated fat and sodium but low in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Therefore, it is best to only feed your baby breadsticks in moderation. Pair with cut-up fruit or vegetables for a more balanced snack.
The Best Type of Breadsticks to Introduce to Babies
While all breadsticks are safe for babies who are at least ten months old as long as they are adequately prepared, there are some options that are more nutritious and safer than others.
Commercially-prepared breadsticks, such as those in the frozen section of the grocery store, are often very salty and high in saturated fat. Sodium is not good for your baby’s kidneys, while saturated fat should be limited as well to prevent unhealthy weight gain (source: National Health Service [NHS]).
You can make your own breadsticks at home to reduce the amount of sodium and fat you are using. Make sure to avoid overcooking the breadsticks so that they are not too hard or crunchy.
Many breadsticks you can find at restaurants or commercially made have cheese, garlic, or other flavorings. For cheesy breadsticks, make sure the cheese is soft and avoid using too much cheese because it can make the bread difficult to chew.
Also, make the cheese pasteurized to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, such as listeria (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). Unpasteurized cheese will have a warning on the packaging regarding the increased risk of foodborne illness.
Garlic is also often used on breadsticks. While many parents are hesitant to use strong flavors such as this in their baby’s food, it is safe to do so.
Some benefits to gradually introducing stronger flavors into your baby’s food include training their taste buds to enjoy a variety of different flavors and setting your baby up for success in developing their eating habits for the future (source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
I hope this article helped you make decisions regarding how to feed your baby breadsticks.