When Should I Introduce Corn To Baby?
It is very tempting to introduce corn to baby as early as possible – after all, many of us adore its sweet flavour and the bright yellow colour makes it seem very appealing as a first baby food. But you may be advised to wait until your baby is at least one year of age before offering corn – and this page explains why.
PLEASE NOTE: The information given here is meant as a guide and does not replace professional medical advice. It is important to discuss the introduction of any new foods with your child’s doctor.
When to introduce corn to baby – risk of corn allergy
Corn occasionally causes allergic reactions. The risk of your baby experiencing an allergic reaction to corn is higher if there is a family history of any type of allergy, including eczema and allergic rhinitis.
The symptoms of corn allergy in babies can be any of the typical food allergy symptoms. Corn allergy is different from corn intolerance, which is when your baby may experience digestive problems as a result of eating corn. Corn intolerance symptoms are generally less serious than those of corn allergy, which can be severe.
Dealing with corn allergy
Corn allergy sufferers have to avoid all products containing corn and corn derivatives. This is no easy task, because corn in some form is contained in a huge number of foods and even household products. It doesn’t help that the labelling of foods and products containing corn is unregulated – this means that manufacturers are not required to clearly indicate when their products contain corn, as they are with allergens like milk and nuts.
Subsequently, you need to be very vigilant when buying food and other products if your baby is allergic to corn. The following is a list of grocery items that commonly contain corn:
- corn oil
- baking powder
- caramel colour
- vanilla extract
- invert sugar/invert syrup
- corn syrup
- lactic acid
- confectioners’ sugar
- starch/food starch/modified food starch
Please note: This list is far from complete, as the number of products containing corn is so vast.
This site is an excellent resource if your baby has been diagnosed with a corn allergy. Written by a fellow sufferer, it not only contains extensive lists of products to avoid but also offers lots of useful tips, advice and support.
When to introduce corn to baby – digestive upsets
Many babies – and many adults, too – experience various degrees of digestive discomfort after eating corn. Giving your baby corn can give him gas/wind, cause bloating and tummy pain. The insoluble fibre it contains can also lead to diarrhea.
Because corn – fresh corn in particular – is difficult for babies to digest, many parents prefer to delay its introduction until their digestive systems are a little more robust – generally after 12 months of age.
When to introduce corn to baby – nutritional value of corn
Corn does offer some nutritional elements to your baby’s diet, including
- vitamin B1
- vitamin B5
- vitamin C
- dietary fibre
However, the natural sugars in corn rapidly turn to starch once it is picked. This reduces its nutritive value to your baby and is the reason it is not considered to be as beneficial to an infant’s diet as other, more nutritious vegetables.
When to introduce corn to baby – Tips for including corn in your baby’s diet
If and when you choose to make corn a part of your child’s diet, you may find these tips helpful to minimize potential digestive problems and get the most out of this vegetable!
- Don’t give your baby corn as a first food. Instead, wait until he is enjoying – and comfortably digesting – a wide variety of other vegetables and fruits.
- Choose ears of corn that have tight, green husks – avoid those that are dry. Make sure the kernels are bright in colour and plump, rather than indented.
- Corn can be yellow or white – both are equally tasty. New, supersweet varieties tend to stay sweet for longer, because it takes longer for the sugars in the corn to turn into starch.
- For the best flavour, prepare and eat corn as soon as possible after buying it. Until then, keep it refrigerated, as this prevents the sugars turning into starch too quickly.
- Canned corn contains less nutritious protein than fresh. If you do choose to give your baby canned corn, read the labels carefully and avoid brands containing added sugar or salt. (Find out more about making baby food with canned vegetables and fruits)
- The first time you give your baby corn, try offering him creamed corn, which is easier to digest. You can make this at home by using a food processor to puree the kernels, along with enough water to achieve the consistency you want.
- Until your baby is at least one year of age and is chewing food well, don’t give him whole kernels. They may pose a choking hazard.