Cornbread is a popular starch option that many people enjoy with their meals. When can babies eat cornbread, both with and without whole corn kernels?
Cornbread without corn kernels is safe for babies over the age of nine months, or as soon as they can consume finger foods. If the cornbread contains corn kernels, the kernels should be mashed up to make it easier for the baby to eat.
Many new parents are worried about feeding new foods to their baby, including cornbread, and are not sure when to introduce them. Let’s dive into more information about making cornbread safe to feed your baby!
Can Babies Eat Cornbread? Is It Safe?
Cornbread with and without whole corn kernels can be safely fed to babies. However, there are a few considerations to be aware of to ensure it is safe for your baby.
Cornbread without kernels is appropriate for babies. However, it tends to be dry, so moisten it with breastmilk, infant formula, or water (source: American Academy of Pediatrics).
Recent studies suggest that introducing possible allergenic foods such as peanut butter, eggs, and dairy to babies can prevent them from having these allergies in the future (source: MyPlate).
Milk and eggs are some of the most common allergens, and both are present in cornbread. According to a study, cow’s milk and products made with it (such as baked foods), should only be given to infants 12 months and older because of the risk of adverse reactions (source: UpToDate).
Whenever you introduce a new food, it’s important to watch your baby closely for any allergic reaction like stomach pain, loose bowel, vomiting, gas, skin rash, wheezing, or others, during and after feeding (source: USDA).
Whole corn kernels tend to be harder than regular cooked soft corn because the kernels are baked while the cornbread bakes. Therefore, if the cornbread contains whole kernels, be sure to mash them up before feeding to your baby.
Cornbread tends to be high in saturated fat due to its butter or fat content. It also can be high in added sugar, depending on the specific recipe used. To follow a healthy and balanced dietary pattern, avoid feeding your baby foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugar (source: American Heart Association).
When Can Babies Have Cornbread?
Babies older than six months need energy from food, not just from breast milk. This is to support their growth, development, and activity (source: USDA).
At ages 8–9 months, a baby can be given strips or small pieces of cornbread. However, it should not have any nuts, seeds, or whole-grain kernels (source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction).
A child aged 1–3 years old can be given half of a 2-inch square cornbread. Children ages 4–6 can have a whole piece of the same size (source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services).
While babies as young as six months can have pureed corn, many varieties of cornbread may contain whole kernels of cooked corn. As mentioned above, this corn has been baked into the bread and is often slightly harder to chew than soft-cooked corn.
If the cornbread does not contain whole-kernel corn, the baby can consume it at around nine months, as long as you moisten it slightly with breastmilk or infant formula. If it does, wait until closer to 10 – 12 months to prevent choking (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).
Can Babies Have Cornbread with Honey in it?
Babies should not consume any honey until they are 12 months old (source: Cleveland Clinic). This is because honey contains Clostridium botulinum spores. Babies’ digestive tracts are so immature that these spores can cause botulism, a very serious disease that affects skeletal muscle.
An analysis of botulism cases in the UK from 2008–2013 found infant botulism was the most common type (source: PubMed).
For this reason, babies under 12 months old should avoid honey in all forms, including baked or cooked foods and food products. Therefore, babies cannot have cornbread with honey in it. For a better option, sweeten your cornbread with agave or maple syrup instead of honey.
If using store-bought cornbread or a mix, always check the ingredients list to ensure that honey is not an ingredient in the product. When in doubt, it’s safest not to serve the cornbread to your baby.
Cornbread and BLW (Baby-Led Weaning)
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is usually started at six months of age. By this time, the baby is able to feed him or herself (source: NIH). However, it’s best to hold off on giving bread (including cornbread) to babies until they are at least eight months old (source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service).
For baby-led weaning, it is important to serve food that is both bite-sized and soft but also easy for the baby to pick up on their own without it falling apart and crumbling.
Cornbread is a tricky food to navigate for baby-led weaning, due to its dry and coarse texture. To help your baby consume cornbread, cut it into small bite-sized cubes or pieces.
You can moisten the cornbread slightly with water, breastmilk, or infant formula to make it less dry, as long as you avoid saturating the cornbread so much that it does not stay together when your baby grasps it.
Overall, cornbread is a good starch option to serve to your baby in moderation and with appropriate precautions. I hope you found this article helpful in unpacking the information surrounding feeding cornbread to your baby!