It is well-known that peas are a nutritious vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals. However, are they healthy (or safe) for your baby? Let’s talk about it!
Overall, peas are an excellent food option for your young baby, as long as the texture is appropriate for their age and abilities. Peas can be great finger foods as well.
From canned versus frozen, how to reduce choking risk, and the allergen potential, let’s talk more about peas!
Can You Give Peas to Babies? Is it Safe?
Peas are a safe and nutritious food to give your baby when they reach six months old. They can be easily pureed and make an excellent first food.
Peas are rich in protein content, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin A and vitamin K.
Vitamin A is great for your baby’s vision, while vitamin K promotes healthy blood clotting and more. Since peas are a great source of nutrition, they are the perfect food to incorporate into your baby’s diet early on.
Are Mashed or Mushy Peas OK for Babies?
Mashed and mushy peas are OK for babies. So let’s start by talking about mushy peas.
When your baby is six months old, they can begin to have thin and watery purees (source: University of Illinois). An example of a thin puree is mushy peas which are popular in the UK. Mushy peas are perfectly pureed to be appropriate for your young baby.
However, when your baby gets to the seven and eight-month-old age range, you can begin to provide them with pureed or mashed vegetables, such as peas (source: University of Illinois). They can have a slightly thicker pea puree or even whole peas that have been mashed well.
When Can Babies Eat Whole Peas?
Babies can eat whole peas when they reach about eight months old. However, there is a small variation that needs to be made.
First, slightly mash the peas with a fork to change the shape from perfectly round to more of a pancake shape. This can help prevent your baby from swallowing a pea whole and potentially choking (more on this below!).
It is also important to note that, while most babies can have whole peas as finger foods beginning around the eight-month age mark, every individual baby is different, and when to serve whole peas should be based on their specific development.
Are Peas a Choking Hazard for Babies?
Since peas are small and round, they do pose a slight choking risk to your baby. Here’s how to mitigate the risk!
While peas are not typically included on lists of common choking hazards for babies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considered cooked corn kernels to be a potential risk. Peas are similar in size, textures, and shape and, therefore, may pose a risk.
As mentioned above, to make the whole peas baby-safe and reduce the risk of choking, lightly mash cooked peas with a fork. Make sure the peas are cooked well and soft for the baby to eat.
Of course, always monitor your baby while they are eating.
Can I Use Canned or Frozen Peas for Baby Food?
Canned and frozen types of peas are both appropriate options for your baby’s food. They can both be cooked and prepared to make a safe food.
However, many varieties of canned peas that you find at the grocery store are extremely high in sodium. This is because sodium adds flavor but also helps preserve food on the shelf.
However, sodium is not suitable for your baby and should be avoided. If you do decide to go with canned peas for your baby, opt for a canned product that has no added sodium.
Do Peas Make Good Finger Foods for Babies?
Peas are a great finger food for babies and can even be appropriate for baby-led weaning.
Once your baby is eight months old, they can begin to have finger foods that can be small and bite-sized (source: University of Illinois).
Since peas are naturally quite small, they are suitable for baby-led weaning. However, if your baby is having trouble with the pincer grasp, you can use a fork and lightly mash the pea to make it easier for them to pick up.
Can Babies Be Allergic to Peas?
While peas are not one of the most common allergen foods, it is still possible that babies can be allergic to peas. Rather than altogether avoiding giving your baby peas because of fear of an allergic reaction, there are certain precautions to be made.
Overall, it is essential to introduce a new food to your baby a few days apart. For example, you should provide one new food at a time rather than feeding your baby pureed peas mixed with pureed carrots.
This recommendation suggests that if your baby consumes a new food every few days, any allergic reaction would clearly indicate which food caused the response.
Signs and symptoms of food allergies include itching or hives, swelling, stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, breathing changes, and more (source: American Academy of Pediatrics). If you notice multiple symptoms in different body systems after feeding your baby a new food, seek medical advice immediately.
In conclusion, I hope you found this article helpful and informative regarding how to safely and healthfully give your baby peas.