Parents, especially new ones, often appear to struggle with determining what to feed their infants. Bread for babies can be considered as the first food as it contains a variety of nutrients such as carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and micronutrients. It is made from wheat flour and is a common food for many people worldwide. However, because wheat is a common allergen, take measures while feeding wheat bread to babies for the first time (1).
This post discusses the nutritional content of bread, when you should start feeding your baby wheat bread, and what precautions you should take when feeding it to babies.
Is It Safe To Give Bread To Babies?
Yes, bread is safe for babies. Experts recommend feeding 100% whole-wheat bread as it can provide considerable amounts of carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and essential micronutrients, like iron, zinc, and thiamin (2). However, while adding it to your baby’s weaning diet, check for possible sensitivity or allergic reactions, especially if you or anyone in your family has a history of allergies.
Babies with a confirmed wheat allergy should avoid all wheat products, including baby cereals, bread, pasta, and crackers. Most infants outgrow wheat allergy within early childhood (3) (4).
Look for breads that do not contain any additives and preservatives such as BHA, BHT, wheat gluten. Choose the breads that have ingredients such as whole sprouted grains and seeds with minimal or no added oil.
Related: Pasta For Babies: When To Eat And Easy Recipes To Try
When Can You Give Bread To Babies?
According to the UK National Health Service, you can introduce bread to babies from the age of six months (5). Bread can be among the first foods when a six-month-old begins eating solids. Pick fresh, 100% whole-wheat bread without any seeds or nuts (6). Serve lightly-toasted bread, cut in small pieces that are easy to swallow for a baby without the risk of choking.
Nutritive Value Of Bread
Below is the proximate composition comparison of one medium-sized slice of refined bread, whole wheat bread, and enriched bread (7) (8) (9). Whole-wheat bread is made from whole-wheat flour that contains all the nutritious parts of the wheat grain, namely bran, germ, and endosperm, while refined wheat flour only contains the endosperm. Enriched bread is made from enriched flour, which is refined flour fortified with nutrients that were lost during the milling process.NameWhole-wheat breadRefined breadEnriched breadEnergy (Kcal)90.774.569.9Protein (g)4.482.482Carbohydrate, by difference (g)15.413.813Fiber, total dietary (g)2.160.7560Calcium, Ca (mg)5840.325Magnesium, Mg (mg)276.440Phosphorus, P (mg)76.327.40Potassium, K (mg)91.435.320Sodium, Na (mg)164137120Thiamin (mg)0.1420.1490Riboflavin (mg)0.060.0680.1Niacin (mg)1.61.341.1Folate, total (µg)15.131.125*Choline, total (mg)9.794.090
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Related: Wheat For Babies: Right Age To Introduce And Precautions To Take
How Much Bread Should You Give To Your Infant?
Whole-wheat bread in moderation can be an important part of a well-balanced diet. Below is the daily suggested intake for grains, including bread, for babies (10) (11).Age (months)Suggested daily serving 6 to 81 to 2 ounces (28-56 grams) of iron-fortified infant cereals, bread, and small pieces of crackers and half slice of whole-wheat bread per day8 to 122 to 4 ounces (56-113 grams) of iron-fortified cereals, other grains, bread, crackers, noodles, tortilla pieces, etc and one large, one medium, and one small slice of whole-wheat bread per day
Source: NCBI and South Dakota WIC Program
Precautions To Take While Giving Bread To Babies
Here are some simple precautions to ensure the safe intake of bread for babies and toddlers.
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Tasty Bread Recipes For Babies
You can feed bread to your baby as a simple toast or by soaking it in a small quantity of warm milk. Alternatively, you may use the following recipes.
1. Jammy bread fingers
The easy-to-prepare finger food recipe can be a part of your baby’s breakfast meal.
You will need:
2. Buttery banana bread slices
A perfect finger food recipe made with nutritious ingredients, like fresh fruits and peanut butter. This is suitable for toddlers.
You will need:
Related: Banana For Babies: Benefits, Precautions, & 6 Recipes To Try
3. Multi-grain French toast
French toast is a delicious traditional treat for babies above 12 months of age.
You will need:
4. Cheesy mini sandwiches
Mini sandwiches are a healthy snack option for babies and toddlers.
You will need:
Related: Cheese For Babies: When To Introduce, Benefits And Recipes
5. Bread upma
A healthy and delicious recipe suitable for babies above ten months of age.
You will need:
Alternatives Of Bread For Babies
Some food items that can be alternatives to bread for babies are:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I feed white bread to my baby?
White bread is softer in texture than whole wheat or millet bread. Thus, several parents prefer to feed white bread to babies. However, it is essential to note that the content of fiber, protein, and several other nutrients, such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium is relatively less in white bread (7) (8) (9). Hence, it is good to feed whole wheat bread to babies. However, you can also feed them enriched white bread occasionally.
2. When can my baby eat bread and butter?
Babies can eat bread and butter from six months of age. You can use unsalted butter and apply it on lightly toasted bread slices that babies can eat as finger foods and practice self-feeding. Alternatively, you can add small amounts of butter to purees, mashed foods, and porridge to enhance the food’s flavor (16). However, keep the use of butter minimal as excessive butter intake isn’t good for long-term health.
Bread for babies can be a great first food because of its nutrient-rich components. It is prepared from wheat flour and contains carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and minerals. While several types of bread are available, 100% whole-wheat bread and bread made with diverse grains, legumes, and seeds are preferred. However, since wheat is a common allergen in babies, follow a “wait rule” when introducing bread to babies to watch out for any adverse reactions. You should also search for bread that is free of additives and preservatives.
Infographic: Nutritious Bread Recipes For Baby-led Weaning
Baby-led weaning enables the baby to self-feed using their fingers. Since holding the food with fingers can be tricky for babies, we bring you delectable yet healthy baby-led weaning bread recipes that a baby can hold and eat comfortably. Go through these recipes and turn the plain bread into a nutritious delight that your baby will love to relish. Pin these recipes and share them with fellow parents.
Can a baby eat bread with seeds?
It's best not to offer babies bread which contains large seeds (or even lots of scratchy seeds on the outside), especially when they are young and new to weaning. Hard seeds in foods such as bread COULD pose a choking risk for babies.
What age can babies have seeded bread?
The Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gives the go-ahead for starting a variety of solid foods from around 6 months old — and bread can be included from this age.
Can babies eat multigrain bread?
Yes—as long as a child does not have wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease. Gluten is simply a type of protein in wheat and other grains such as barley, rye, and some oats.
Can babies eat seeds?
For instance, we say that seeds are just fine for babies even as young as 6-9 months old as long as they're finely ground. Chia, sesame, and hemp seeds are generally OK left whole and mixed into recipes. When in doubt, we always recommend grinding seeds into a dry powder and mixing them into other foods for babies.