All You Need to Know About Chocolate for Babies

3 min read

Chocolate is one such concern which tops the list of doubts every parent has in respect to their offsprings. Queries like is it safe to give chocolate to babies or when is the right time to introduce chocolates can often be heard between pediatricians and parents. So before you get ready to pay your next consultation fee to the doctor to discuss the same, here are some FAQs with respective answers on chocolate for babies.

baby with chocolate

How Should Chocolate be Introduced to Babies?

So, chocolate milk is considered to be the best way of introducing its taste to babies. Chocolate milk made at home contains less caffeine and sugar as compared to bars of chocolate available in the market.

The introduction of sweets including chocolate is however not recommended for babies under the age of one year by many experts. This is done to ensure that they get more inclined towards other healthy eating options.

Are There any Health Benefits?

When consumed in moderate amount, chocolate is believed to benefit the babies with the given perks:

  • The presence of compounds called flavanols in chocolate improves the cognitive skills in babies and boosts memory. It also prevents any blood clots in a baby’s body, thereby improving the functioning of blood circulation and the heart.
  • The presence of rich antioxidants in chocolate minimizes the risk of cell damage and improves the functioning of various cells in the body.
  • The serotonin found in chocolates is a mood booster and uplifts the feeling of happiness.
  • Chocolate consumption reduces the levels of LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increases HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol), thereby controlling the level of cholesterol in babies.

Are There any Side Effects?

Until and unless the baby has a medical precondition that can further get adversely affected by the consumption of chocolate, there are no reasons why s/he should be avoided chocolate. Also, the fact is that it’s not cacao but the presence of sugar and caffeine in chocolate that plays the negative role of bringing in obesity and diabetes in kids. Therefore it is recommended to opt for less sugar or zero sugar chocolate to make chocolate milk or other recipes.

Although there is no well-defined limit for the amount of chocolate to be given to babies, as per experts, they should not intake more than 45mg of caffeine in a day. So accordingly, look at the composition chart of the chocolate and find out, how much can be consumed in a day.

Can Chocolate cause Allergies?

A baby getting allergic to cacao ( the beans from which chocolate is made) is possible although such recorded cases are very rare. In case the allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms might include swollen tongue or throat, rashes, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps.

Also, the parents need to be careful regarding the type of chocolate being consumed by their munchkins. If the chocolate has nuts or soya as one of the ingredients, the precious little one might get allergic because of the presence of these aliens in the chocolate bar, and not because of cacao.

chocolate for babies

Under What Circumstances Should Chocolate be Avoided for Babies?

As too much chocolate can lead to diabetes and obesity, parents should regulate the amount of chocolate being consumed by their babies. To avoid getting addicted, chocolates should be avoided under the following circumstances:

  • Chocolates do contain caffeine in certain quantities as one of their ingredients. Therefore it is advisable to avoid the consumption of chocolate or recipes made out of chocolate, a few hours before bedtime.
  • If the baby experiences irritable bowel syndrome-like severe abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps, and sudden changes in bowel habits, then chocolate consumption should be restricted.
  • Chocolate might cause acid reflux in babies with Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

Is it True that Chocolate Causes Tooth and Gum Decay in Babies?

No, chocolate does not cause tooth or gum decay. The culprit behind decaying tooth and gum problems is the presence of sugar in the chocolate, and not the cacao itself. So it is advisable to provide chocolates with minimal sugar content for safe consumption.

Chocolate, once introduced to the little ones, does become their favorite flavor in food items. A baby with chocolate on their face is often part of our family pics collection. But we as parents must keep a check on the type of chocolate being consumed and the quantity of intake too. There are no laid down medical guidelines for baby eating chocolate, but the wise experts are worried about sugar and caffeine present in it. So let your baby enjoy the chocolate in any form but within limits.

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