What bread is best for babies?
There can be some confusion around which bread is best for your baby, often health professionals give conflicting opinions. Here’s all you need to know about the different types of bread for your baby, and if you want any additional support with baby weaning then please get in touch for a weaning class or private nutrition consultation.
Brown or white?
Products made with white flour have less nutrients than those made with wholegrain flour, because many of the nutrients we need are stripped as the husks of the grain are removed. Brown bread has higher levels of minerals (e.g. zinc, magnesium) and fibre due to the whole grain being used. However, foods high in fibre fill us up quickly, reducing our appetite, which can be a good thing as adults. Babies have small stomachs and filling up on bread doesn’t leave much room for the other nutrients your baby needs to grow. Fibre can also limit the absorption of iron and zinc. Some parents are advised to only give their baby white bread to avoid filling up in this way, but white bread doesn’t contain much goodness.
Instead of eating white bread, another way to think about this is to limit the total amount of bread your baby eats, and give alternatives. Aim for 2-3 days a week with no bread to keep lots of variety in your family’s diet.
Alternatives to bread
Try to include a range of foods in your baby’s diet, try:
- Rice cakes / corn cakes
- Oat cakes
- Rye bread (still bread but different grains)
- Mini pancakes made with buckwheat flour
If you can make your own bread you’ll know what’s in it, and it can be fun baking!
The amount of salt in processed bread is something parents need to be aware of. Babies under 1 should only have 1g salt per day as their tiny kidneys can’t process the sodium as well as an adult. (1-3 year olds should only have 2g) Generally the more the bread has been adapted (e.g. to be low sugar, or low fat) the more salt will be added. Check out how much salt is in each slice of bread!
Salt content per slice
- Hovis 50:50 – 0.4g
- Waitrose Farmhouse white bread – 0.7g
- Weight Watchers Thick Slices Grain loaf – 0.9g
- Weight Watchers from Warburtons white thick sliced load – 1.1g per slice
Of course we all love a bit of toast and bread, but if you and your baby have toast for breakfast, then a sandwich for lunch, followed by pasta for tea that’s a lot of one type of food (wheat), it’s easily done! It’s worth experimenting with a few different foods as you’re weaning to see what works for you and your family, get in touch if you’ve got any questions about what to give your baby or you’d like any support with eating healthily.