Navigate the Maze of Maize With Kernels, Blends and Purees
Your baby can eat corn after you introduce her to solid foods or at around 6 months old. Although the American Association of Pediatrics states the order you introduce foods presents no health advantage, corn can cause allergies, so they recommend starting with traditional early-stage solids such as single-grain cereals and protein-and-vegetables puree. How do you introduce corn to your baby's diet? Easy—with baby steps!
Saying Hello to Corn
You obviously want to wait until your baby's teeth emerge before giving her corn kernels, so a 100-percent corn puree works best starting out. Use fresh corn cooked in a little water instead of canned; canned corn contains 530 milligrams of sodium per cup (22 percent of an adult's daily value). At around 6 months, your baby should consume 6 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula at each feeding along with 1 or 2 ounces of solids, or 1 to 2 tablespoons, as in-between-meal snacks.
A month after starting solids, work a taste or two of pureed corn in between liquid feedings to determine the fit. Babies have hypersensitive palates at 6 months, so corn's sweetness, especially that of the sweet corn variety, will likely draw her in. After a few successful nibbles, you can add corn puree to her daily solid-food intake, which shouldn't exceed 8 ounces, or about 1 cup, at 6 months.
What to Expect
The hulls of corn kernels don't digest completely even when pureed, so you can expect to find their remnants at changing time. If that's a problem, strain the puree through a sieve or use a ricer or mouli grater instead of a blender or food processor. If your baby doesn't show an aversion to corn, by all means, include it in her diet. At around 18 months, or when your baby has the fine motor control, and, most importantly, the teeth, to chew, you can introduce corn kernels to her diet. Until then, there's an array of baby-friendly corn preparations when you need to shake up the menu a bit.
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The puree stage of solids is perhaps the most exciting. You can mix several nutrient-dense foods into the puree to add to corn's already impressive vitamin-and-mineral lineup.
- Blend one part each corn and carrots with two parts potatoes with a little homemade stock and butter for a delicious puree or soup.
- For a little extra fiber and a lovely blend of flavors, combine equal parts by volume of cooked corn, sweet potatoes and apple.
- Introduce a little more texture by stirring one part each chopped cooked cauliflower and yogurt into two parts cooked and pureed corn.
Talk to your doctor before introducing corn to your baby's diet if she has chronic eczema, asthma or food allergies. If she shows signs of an allergic reaction after consuming corn, such as a rash or breathing difficulty, hold off on the corn and pay a visit to your pediatrician.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.