While introducing new food to the baby, we are always sceptical, whether to give it or not.
There are many fears such as allergic reaction, choking hazards, and tummy aches that occur as a quick reaction to any food.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is better to wait for 4 to 6 months, before introducing solids to the child(1). It gives time to the digestive system to mature and digest the newly introduced food properly.
Is It OKay To Give Lemon To A Baby?
Whether giving lemon to a child beneficial or not, let’s have a look at it.
Benefits Of Lemon For An Infant
Any kind of citrus food is a healthy addition to the diet of a baby. One 84 grams lemon has 44 milligrams of vitamin C that is almost 90 % of the daily intake for an infant of 7 to 12 months of age(2)
Vitamin C helps absorb iron, create collagen, and keep the immune system healthy. It also acts as an antioxidant and combats free radical damage that can damage the cells.
As the food made for them is rather bland, lemon can help boost the flavor of the food of the babies,.
Lemon acts as a natural meal tenderizer and makes it soft for the babies to eat.
Other Benefits Of Lemon Include:
- Controls diarrhea
- Prevents anemia
- Treats tonsillitis
- Maintains skin and hair health
- Maintains gut health
- Fights cold
- Controls vomiting and nausea
How To Introduce Lemon To An Infant?
An infant can be introduced to Lemon by adding a bit of its juice to the food to add flavor. It can be started anytime around the 6 months of babys age when adding solids.
It would be a good strategy to add the lemon juice drops to the food that is well-liked by the baby. You can mix a bit of lemon juice to plain yogurt as well.
If your child is not sensitive to new foods, you can try giving a piece of lemon or a spoon of diluted lemon juice with sugar and salt.
It is always good to start with a lesser quantity in the beginning and as the child tolerates it well, you can increase the quantity gradually.
The Risk Associated With Giving Lemon To The Baby
Lemon is highly acidic, so giving the child a lemon wedge or one full lemon juice is not a good idea at all. It would be too strong for the little one’s palate.
Lemon juice when served alone can aggravate certain health conditions. It can also cause skin irritation or can worsen diaper rash or reflux if consumed in large quantities.
Instead of giving the child a lemon wedge to suck, try introducing lemon to the already familiar foods.
Giving child lemonade is not a good idea as it contains a lot of sugar than recommended for the little one.
American Academy of Pediatrics says a child below 12 months of age should not be given juices(3)
Research shows, children allergic to pollen and grass, are more likely to have an allergy to citrus fruits(4)
Every child is different and so is their reaction to different flavors of food. Even if the child disapproves of the taste of any food, try it again. Increased exposure would eventually lead to acceptance(5)
Various other sources of vitamin C can be included in the diet such as sweet potatoes, kale, peas, banana, strawberries, kiwi, watermelon, spinach, grapefruit, and raw tomatoes. These foods are baby-friendly and can benefit them when included in the diet. Lemon can be given to the baby but should be started in lesser quantity.
If in doubts regarding any food consult the pediatrician or a nutritionist to get an idea on a baby diet. They are growing and need a proper diet and nutrition. The professionals dealing on the same can guide on how to introduce foods and in what quantity are they safe to be given to the babies.
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