Jam and jelly are popular fruity toppings for toast or sandwiches. However, many parents wonder how appropriate these spreads are for babies.
Jam and jelly are safe for babies in moderation and at the appropriate consistency for their age — for instance, avoiding chunks or pieces of fruit for younger babies. However, jam and jelly are high in sugar and should only be given to your baby in moderation.
In this article, we will go into more depth about the safety of jam and jelly for your baby, including how to serve it, the best varieties, and more. Read on!
Can Babies Eat Jam or Jelly? When?
While jelly, jams, and fruit preserves can vary greatly from one another, they are generally safe for babies to consume once they are at least six months old.
While your baby may be ready to begin solid foods, such as jelly and jam, around four months old, the recommendation is to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months (source: American Academy of Pediatrics). Therefore, it’s best to wait until they are at least six months old to introduce these foods.
At six months, make sure the jelly is completely smooth without any chunks of food. Once your baby is ready for finger foods, around eight to 12 months, you can introduce jelly and jam with soft pieces of cooked fruit (source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign).
When preparing homemade jelly or jam, make sure that the fruit is thoroughly washed under clean running water to reduce the risk of foodborne illness (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).
Whether commercially produced or homemade, avoid jams with fruits with large seeds (even with older babies) since these can pose a choking hazard to your baby. Examples of these fruits are pomegranate seeds, seeded grapes, and watermelon.
If you would like to use them, make sure you thoroughly strain out the seeds until you are left with a completely smooth puree.
On the other hand, fruits with tiny seeds, such as raspberries or strawberries, do not pose a choking risk to your baby. However, these seeds may be difficult for your baby to digest, so you might find some seeds in your baby’s diaper after eating jam or jelly with these fruits. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.
Finally, it is important to note that some jellies and jams are high in added sugars, which is not good for your baby’s health or teeth (source: National Health Service [NHS]). Therefore, look for lower-sugar varieties.
What Kind of Jam or Jelly is Best for Babies?
Once your baby begins to eat solid foods, they must consume a wide variety of foods, including fruits (source: American Academy of Pediatrics). So, jelly and jam with more fruit and less added sugar are likely best for their health.
Additionally, as mentioned above, jam and jelly can have a lot of added sugars. Therefore, if you are choosing a commercially-prepared product, look for those labeled “Low Sugar,” “Sugar-Free,” or “No Sugar Added.” Also, you could make your own jelly only with the natural sweetness of the fruit.
However, do not sweeten your homemade jelly or jam with any form of honey since honey is unsafe for babies under 12 months old.
Can Babies Eat Jelly on Toast or Jam Sandwiches?
Your baby can also safely have jelly on toast or jam sandwiches.
As discussed, while your six-month-old baby can have jelly or jam on its own, it has to be completely smooth.
Once your baby can have finger foods, which is around eight to 12 months of age, they can have soft pieces of fruit in their jelly and jam (source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign). Additionally, they can have small pieces of bread or toast.
If you are giving your baby jelly on toast or jam sandwiches, make sure the bread is cut into tiny and bite-sized pieces to reduce the risk of choking.
However, bread is often not the most nutritious option to pair with the fruit spread, so you can also try adding some jelly or jam to baby oatmeal or cereal.
In conclusion, I hope this article was helpful in discussing the safety and nutrition of jam, jelly, and fruit preserves for your baby.