Mushrooms are a nutritious and delicious addition to any diet – even for toddlers and children. However, parents may be hesitant to introduce mushrooms to their babies due to concerns about safety. Mushrooms aren’t generally the first “baby-friendly” food people think of, and it is true that certain wild mushrooms are toxic for humans of any size. But really, mushrooms can be a great food for your baby to try once they start eating solids! This blog will cover 4 tips for safely introducing mushrooms to your baby. But first...
Are you Familiar with Solid Starts?
A quick note before diving in! The owners and leadership of R&R Cultivation are all parents. Safety is always a top priority with our little ones, which is why we're huge fans of an organization called Solid Starts. They provide everything you need to know about babies starting solids foods (including baby feeding schedules, cup drinking, safety and preparation, videos, baby-led weaning, and more).They have safe food introduction guides for almost everything (including tons of mushrooms). Check out their First Foods® Database, mobile application, and Instagram profile for some awesome content. And no, they're not sponsoring this post...we're just that excited about the work they're doing :) Okay, let's get started!
1. Wait until your baby is ready
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your baby is at least six months old before introducing solid foods, including mushrooms. This is because a baby's digestive system is not yet mature enough to handle solid foods. Once your baby has started eating solids, there’s no need to introduce new foods in a specific order. Your kiddo can start munching on mushrooms as soon as they’re interested in (and can safely eat) solids.
According to the experts at Solid Starts, "Oyster mushrooms may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Avoid foraging mushrooms to share with baby unless you are an expert mycologist as there are plenty of poisonous look-a-like species in the wild."
2. Start with small amounts
When introducing mushrooms to your baby, start with small amounts. Offer just a few small pieces of cooked, finely chopped mushrooms at first. This will allow your baby to get used to the texture and flavor of mushrooms without overwhelming their digestive system.
3. Choose the right type of mushroom
Not all mushrooms are safe for babies. Don’t risk exposing your baby to toxic mushrooms by feeding anything that’s been harvested in the wild. Stick to commonly cultivated mushrooms, such as button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, and gourmet mushrooms that are grown commercially. Oyster mushrooms are a great place to start. These mushrooms are safe and easy to digest.
4. Cook the mushrooms thoroughly
It's important to cook mushrooms thoroughly before giving them to your baby. Raw mushrooms can be difficult to digest and may contain harmful bacteria. To cook mushrooms, sauté them in a little bit of olive oil until they are soft and tender. This will make them similar in texture to other cooked vegetables, which will allow your child to focus on the new flavor instead of being forced to contend with the unusual mouthfeel of raw mushrooms.
Introducing mushrooms to your baby can be a nutritious and delicious addition to their diet, as long as you follow these tips and take all the necessary precautions. By feeding your child a variety of foods early on, studies have shown that they are more likely to become an adventurous eater. Soon your baby will be a gourmet mushroom enthusiast!
Image Credit: Solid Starts: https://solidstarts.com/