Sprouts For Babies – When to Introduce, Benefits And Precautions

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Sprouts For Babies

Babies have tiny tummies and need nutrient-dense foods to aid with their growth and development. Sprouts for babies are one such food that can help them with many nutritional and health benefits despite less intake. These can be made easily at home and are nutritious not only for the baby but the whole family as well.

Sprouts are quite a common food in south Asian countries like India and China since ancient times. But in the western world, it gained popularity after World War 2. Since then sprouts are used commonly in salads and sandwiches or as toppings in some soups. But their nutritional benefits ask for more attention to these tiny budding plants. So here are all the benefits of sprouts for babies and a few instructions for you to grow sprouts safely at home.

In This Article

What Are Sprouts?

Sprouts are tiny green shoots that grow from germinated seeds of grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Some popular edible sprouts are lentil sprouts, especially moong bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, wheatgrass sprouts, and chickpea sprouts. Though Brussel sprouts have the name sprouts in them, they do not belong to the family of sprouts.

These nutritional microgreens are full of nutrients like vitamins and minerals and enzymes to improve overall health. You can get sprouts in the supermarket or local market or can grow them at home

When Can You Introduce Sprouts to Your Baby?

Introduce Sprouts to Your Baby

You can introduce sprouts to your baby after a few weeks of starting solids. It is better to give sprouts after your baby has some teeth to munch them. Ideally, you can introduce sprouts around the 8th month mark. Boil the sprouts well before giving them to your baby to ensure there are no bacteria. You can mash the sprouts well before feeding them to your munchkin in the initial days. Also, give your baby only fresh sprouts.

Nutritional Value of Sprouts

The nutritional value of sprouts is quite huge. The germination and sprouting process of the seeds produces Vitamin C. Other nutrients like Vitamin B2, B5, B6, fiber, folate, amino acids, and carotene can be seen in sprouts of many grains. For instance, mung bean sprouts are rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C, protein and dietary fiber. Broccoli sprouts are rich in folic acid, Vitamin A, C, and K. Radish sprouts have manganese, folate, Vitamin B, and C.

Thus, a small amount of nutrient-rich sprouts can supply enough energy for your baby’s all-day jumping, crawling, and running.

[Read : Broccoli for Babies]

Amazing Top 5 Health Benefits of Sprouts For Babies

Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts For Babies

These tiny budding plants have great health benefits for your baby. Here are some benefits of sprouts:

1. Improves Digestion

Small babies often suffer from digestive problems because their digestive system is not completely developed. So, they require easily digestible food. The process of soaking and sprouting diminishes the fat content and converts the thick plant protein into simple amino acids which babies can easily digest. Sprouts can also reduce intestinal gas caused by legumes. The fiber content in sprouts also encourages healthy bowel movements. As your baby is just learning to digest new food, sprouts can help them to digest.

[Read : Gas in Babies]

2. Great Source of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is much needed in your baby’s growth years to form new blood cells, improve the central nervous system, boost immunity, and turn food into energy. But lots of vegetables lack Vitamin B12. Grain sprouts on the other hand can meet the requirement of Vitamin B12 (Cynacobalamine) in the body.

3. Rich Source of Plant Protein

Protein is again very much important for your baby to develop muscles and bones. As animal protein is very hard to digest for small babies, you can give them sprouts instead.

4. Reduces Hunger Pangs

Obesity among children is now becoming a huge problem due to the constant craving for junk foods. You can introduce healthy sprouts in the sandwiches and salads for older babies who are used to eating finger foods. The protein and fiber of sprouts will keep their tummy full for long and prevent unhealthy cravings.

5. Strengthens Bones

Sprouts contain calcium, vitamin K, and potassium. These nutrients are needed for our body’s calcification and mineralization which makes our bones strong.

Tips For Selecting and Storing Sprouts For Babies

homemade sprouts

Here are some precautions you must consider for buying, storing, and preparing sprouts for babies.

  • Never feed store-bought sprouts to your baby as they carry the risk of contamination. Home-made sprouts are the best option.
  • Try to buy organic seeds when preparing sprouts. This will ensure minimal contamination from pesticides and chemicals
  • It is best to buy grain, lentils, or seeds and make sprouts at home. You just need to soak the seed overnight, then drain the water and let it germinate. Rinse the seeds every day for 3 to 5 days and you will get to see the sprouts.
  • To store sprouts, you need to remove the hulls first and rinse them for the final time. Then dry them using a dry towel and put them in a jar or container, seal the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap but punch some small holes in it for airflow. Then place the jar in your refrigerator. It is best to give fresh sprouts to your baby.

Never feed store-bought sprouts to your baby as they carry the risk of contamination.

Precautions to Take While Feeding Sprouts to Babies

You should maintain some precautions before feeding sprouts to your baby. These are:

  • Give finely chopped or minced and boiled sprouts to small babies depending on their age.
  • Give sprouts in small quantities like one or two teaspoons at first. If your baby is okay with it then increase it up to one or two tablespoons
  • Follow the three-day rule to check if it is causing any allergy or bacterial disease.
  • Discontinue giving sprouts for a few weeks if your baby is having gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Consult with the pediatrician if the problem gets worse.

Sprouts for babies can be a tasty as well as a healthy food option. It has many benefits and nutritional value. And the best part is you can make them at home. Do not underestimate sprouts because of their size. They can be a great source of nutrition for your little one. They can make your baby strong and healthy from the inside and keep them full for a long time. Induce the habit of healthy eating from the beginning

[Read : The 3-Day Wait Rule For Babies To Introduce Solids]

FAQ’s

1. Can We Give Boiled Sprouts to Babies?

Yes, boiled sprouts are the safest for your baby. Raw sprouts can contain harmful bacteria even if you grow them at home. Stir-frying is not appropriate for babies as it will require oil. Boiling will make the sprouts tender and make them easy to chew for your baby.

2. How Long Do We Have to Soak Sprouts?

Soaking time will differ for different seeds. Generally, you will at least have to soak the seed for 8 hours in clean water. Then you will have to drain the water and rinse the sprouts for the next 3 to 5 days or until tiny shoots come out.

3. Do Sprouts Cause Gas in Babies?

The sprouts of some vegetables like broccoli, beans, asparagus, and wheat can cause gas in babies. But this will soon recover as your baby’s digestive system learns to handle the situation. But in general sprouts are easily digestible even for babies.

Read Also: Lentils For Babies: When To Start, Benefits and Precautions

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Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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