Is It Okay to Give My Baby Pickles? (Benefits and Potential Drawbacks)

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Maybe you’ve seen one of those cute videos of babies eating pickles and making funny faces or you are a pickle lover and just curious when your little one can enjoy pickles as much as you. Either way, you’re left wondering if it’s okay to give your baby pickles.

It’s okay to give your baby pickles when she’s ready to begin eating solid foods, around 6 months of age. Cold pickles can help with teething or be a great option for baby-led weaning, but they can also be high in sodium and sugar. The acid in pickles can also cause diaper rash, so it’s best to give them to her on occasion rather than every day. 

Read on as we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of feeding pickles to your baby, as well as tips on how to introduce them to her.

Can babies eat pickles?

Believe it or not but there is no issue with letting your baby enjoy pickles at an early age!

Babies can eat pickles when they are ready to begin solid foods, generally around 6 months of age, and are great for baby-led weaning or as something to chew on while your little one is teething. 

You’ll want to be picky about the pickles because they can be high in sodium and you want to make sure your baby isn’t getting too much salt in her diet at such as young age. It could steer her towards a sodium-heavy diet later in life. You’ll also want to look out for added sugars as well.

After feeding her pickles, pay attention to her mouth and bottom to make sure she doesn’t end up having a reaction or getting a diaper rash from the vinegar-based acidity of the pickles.   

Can babies drink pickle juice?

You may be concerned that pickle juice could be too strong or generally unhealthy for your little one.

Once she’s started eating pickles, a bit of pickle juice isn’t going to harm her, but it’s not really going to do her any good either.

Just like with water, you’ll want to watch and ensure that she doesn’t drink enough that she fills up her stomach and isn’t hungry for healthy, nutritional foods.

When can babies eat pickles?

You can give baby pickles to eat as soon as she is ready to eat solid foods, which usually occurs around 6 months of age.

Your little one will start to show you signs when she is ready for solids: holding her head in a steady, upright position, sitting with support, and showing an interest in food. 

As with any new food you are introducing to your baby (and at first, they’re all new), you will want to wait three to five days after giving her pickles before introducing another new food.

That way, you can be sure she doesn’t have a reaction to it. 

Can babies be allergic to pickles?

Babies can have an allergic reaction to pickles, but, it’s usually not caused by the actual pickle, but the pickling process and preservatives that were added.

It could be that your baby does just fine with one brand of pickles, but has a reaction with a different brand. It just depends on the process they use. If your baby has any known allergies, pay attention to the ingredients list when you’re at the grocery store; if you think your baby may be having a reaction to the pickles, try comparing the ingredient list to other foods in your home. 

The common reactions you may see in baby could be:

  • rash
  • wheezing
  • nausea
  • cramps
  • diarrhea.

If you want to skip the preservatives and make your own pickles, here’s a simple recipe you can try. 

Potential benefits of pickles

Pickles aren’t just fun to watch baby eat (cue the adorable sour faces), they can also provide some real benefit for your baby.

Not only can they help soothe her aching gums while teething, but pickles are also an ideal shape and size for baby-led weaning.

Teething snack

Pickles can be a great snack for a baby when she’s teething.

If you give her a cold, spear-shaped pickle, she can easily hold it in her fist and gnaw away on it, soothing her gums.

Baby-led weaning

If you are going the route of baby-led weaning with your little one, and letting her feed herself finger foods from the very start, then pickles can be a good snack for baby to try.

A pickle spear is a perfect shape for baby to hold onto as she experiments with the taste and texture.

But, always watch young babies whenever they are eating whole foods that could become a choking hazard, such as pickle spears!

Potential drawbacks of eating pickles

While pickles can provide some benefits for baby, they can also have some drawbacks as well.

Some babies can’t tolerate acidic foods as well as others, which could lead to a case of diaper rash. It’s also going to be important to check the label on the pickles you purchase for baby since they can have a high salt content, as well as added sugars.

Diaper rash

One of the most common issues surrounding baby’s newfound pickle eating can be diaper rash.

Pickles are acidic because of their vinegar content and acidic foods can often cause baby’s skin to become irritated, particularly around their bottom and mouth.

Sodium intake

While pickles can be a good snack for babies to eat, they can be high in sodium levels.

A single pickle generally contains 400 mg of sodium. Your baby isn’t likely to eat the whole pickle, but you will still want to keep an eye on just how much she is eating.

Salt is fine for baby in moderation, it’s just important that she doesn’t consume an excess of sodium. It has been shown that babies who consume a lot of sodium will crave it as adults, which could lead to unhealthy habits.

How much sodium can baby have? These are the daily recommendations according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences:

  • Infants under 6 months – 110 mg
  • Babies 7-12 months – 370 mg
  • Children 1-3 years – 800 mg

Added sugars

Some pickles, like the bread and butter variety, are sweeter than others

These types of pickles can have more sugar in them than other pickles such as dill pickles. When choosing pickles to give to baby, give the Nutrition Facts label a quick look on the back to see just how much added sugar is in each pickle.

How to feed pickles to baby

When you first introduce pickles to baby, you will want to make sure that it’s the only new food you give her in that sitting.

That way, if she has a reaction, you will know it. When picking out pickles to give to her, you may want to look for a lower sodium pickle and check the sugar content, too.

Dill spears are a good option to start with for baby since they are less likely to have as much sugar and they are an easy shape for her to hold.

Introducing pickles to baby

Starting off with pickle spears is the easiest way to introduce pickles to baby when she’s between 6 and 9 months old. If you leave the skin on the pickle, it helps provide a little extra grip for her to hold onto it easier. 

As your baby gets older, closer to 12 months old, you can try different shapes with the pickles, allowing her to work on her pincer grasp and try to pick up some smaller pieces of a pickle.

Once your baby starts to enter toddlerhood and is between 18 and 24 months old, you can get even more creative with the shape of the pickles, including half-moons or matchstick shapes. At this point, your baby can even attempt eating the pickle with her fork. 

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