Cornmeal, or flour made from dried maize or American corn, is a traditional "starter food" for first-year babies. While its sweet flavor, good amount of protein and bright yellow color might make it seem like an ideal first food for your baby, there are several things to consider first. In general, giving your baby cornmeal or regular corn isn't recommended until they reach at least 1 year of age, due to possible allergic reactions and a general lack of nutritional value.
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When to Start
When your baby is about 6 months old, it may be time to start experimenting with foods other than breastmilk and formula. Common starter foods include rice, millet and mashed vegetables and fruits. Rice and cornmeal can also be introduced around this time, usually mixed with either water or a small amount of breastmilk or formula. However, due to the possible allergens in corn, this is usually not recommended until your baby is 1 year old.
Cornmeal, like regular kernel corn, contains plenty of protein and carbohydrates. While kernel corn also contain traces of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron, cornmeal contains no Vitamin A, C and a trace amount of iron. A typical 1-ounce serving of cornmeal contains 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat, as well as 5 percent of your daily allotment of iron.
Because corn is a common allergen, it is not recommended that cornmeal be introduced before your baby is at least 12 months old. The risk of your baby having a corn allergy is higher if there has been a family history of any type of allergy.
A baby with a corn allergy may exhibit any of the typical food allergy symptoms, including cramps, diarrhea, eczema, excess gas, nausea, vomiting, constipation, watery or red eyes, and a stuffy or runny nose. Although rare, in a worst case scenario, a corn allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock. Consult a doctor immediately if that occurs.
It's always a good idea to introduce foods to your baby one day at a time to help single out any possible allergic reactions. If any of these symptoms persist, contact your pediatrician.
Corn derivatives are found in many common foods, including some infant formulas, baking powder and corn syrup. Most of the time, however, the amount of corn in these foods is nearly negligible.
Once you have determined that your baby is not allergic to corn, some foods to mix cornmeal with, other than water and milk, include mashed potatoes, mashed carrots, mashed apples, mashed peas, and brown rice or rice meal. These options are easily digestible.