Corn seems a good first baby food, and you may be keen to introduce it into your baby’s diet as early as possible. However, it is better to wait until your baby is at least 12 months old, as corn – particularly fresh corn – is difficult for a baby to digest. When baby is older, her digestive system will be stronger and more able to cope.
There is also the possibility of your baby being allergic to corn – the risk is higher if there is a family history of any type of allergy – allergic rhinitis or eczema, for example.
Is corn allergy the same as corn intolerance?
No…the two are different. Corn intolerance is less serious than corn allergy. Corn allergy symptoms in babies can be the same as other typical allergy symptoms – which can be quite severe.
If your baby has corn, he may experience digestive problems such as:
- Wind (gas)
- Digestive discomfort – bloating, tummy pain
- Diarrhoea (caused by the insoluble fibre in corn)
The nutritional values of corn
Corn contains many nutritional elements – including:
- Vitamins B1, B5 and C
- Dietary fibre
Once corn is picked its natural sugars quickly convert to starch, so its nutritional value is reduced. Other fresh vegetables have more nutritional value for your baby.
Introducing corn into your baby’s diet
When your baby is old enough, and you want to include corn in his diet, you can minimize potential digestive problems if you:
- Wait until he is enjoying and easily digestinga good variety of vegetables and fruits.
- Choose ears of corn that have tight, green husks – make sure the kernels are not dry, and are plump and bright in colour.
- Look for the new‘super sweet’ varieties – it takes longer for their sugars to turn into starch.
- Prepare and give your baby the corn as soon as possible after buying it – keep it in the fridge until then to slow the process of sugars turning to starch.
- Avoid canned corn, as it contains less protein than fresh. If you do use canned corn, read the label carefully to make sure there is no added sugar or salt.
- Offer creamed corn the first time you give your baby corn – it is easier to digest. Make your own creamed corn, using a food processor to puree it and adding water to get the right consistency.
- Don’t give your baby whole kernels until he is at least 12 months old – they may pose a choking hazard, so wait until he can chew food well.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.