When can i feed my baby spinach

When Can Babies Eat Spinach? Know When To Introduce It

Know how to make spinach baby food safely and when to introduce it to your little one

By Emily Pidgeon

We all want to see our kids eat more green food. That starts when they start eating solid foods as an infant. If you’re hoping your baby will be “strong to the finish,” just like Popeye by eating spinach regularly, then you may wonder when a suitable time would be to introduce that iron-rich food to your little one. This little green leaf’s ability to pack on the nutrients makes it such a great food for parents to feed their tots.


  • Why you should use caution when feeding baby spinach
  • When can babies eat spinach?
  • How to safely feed your baby spinach

But when are babies able to eat spinach safely? More importantly, how can you make spinach baby food that your child will actually eat? Whether or not they like it makes the difference between a lifelong love of the veggie or a world without it. Let’s break down the when and how to get your nugget to enjoy this mineral-rich superfood.

Why you should use caution when feeding baby spinach

Adding a small amount of spinach to your baby’s regular diet adds much-needed iron to their bodies. Iron is a critical nutrient in the preliminary stages of a baby’s development. It’s needed to produce red and white blood cells as well as for overall lung and brain development.

Strictly speaking, spinach is an excellent source of iron for humans, and is used often in baby foods to help enrich their diets. Where the problem occurs is when the spinach is processed, nitrates begin to build up. This can cause damage to your baby’s red blood cells – more specifically, the hemoglobin protein within them. Nitrates can convert hemoglobin into methemoglobin, creating a lack of oxygen being shared from the red blood cells to the tissues.

When can babies eat spinach?

Luckily, babies are born with enzymes in their bloodstream to help flip methemoglobin back to hemoglobin without any lasting damage. However, the number of enzymes needed to combat a nitrate overload is not found in infants younger than 3-6 months old. Because of the risks involved with using possibly contaminated veggies –either grown at home or bought at the store – it is not recommended for children younger than 8 months old to be served spinach in any form.

Nitrates aren’t only found in spinach, and as the American Academy of Pediatrics explains to parents, it’s important to keep in mind:

“Nitrates aren’t the only cause of methemoglobinemia. Certain antibiotics and the numbing agent found in teething gels can also convert hemoglobin to methemoglobin. And baby food isn’t the only dietary source of nitrates. Drinking water (especially well water) can contain high levels of nitrates from fertilizer run-off. In fact, the most common cause of methemoglobinemia in babies (including those older than 6 months of age) is the ingestion of infant formula made with nitrate-containing well water!”

How to safely feed your baby spinach

The main thing to keep in mind is, all homemade baby foods that are prepared with ground-growing veggies have the possibility to be contaminated with nitrate-rich fertilizers. This happens from contaminated veggies themselves, the soil, or the groundwater. Keeping your baby on a steady diet free from these types of freshly-prepared veggies from home until after the age of 6 months – or 8 months in the case of spinach – is the main thing to focus on.

Vegetables that have been found to hold higher levels of nitrates are:

  • Spinach and other greens
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Squash
  • Beans

Keep in mind that baby food companies run testing for nitrate levels prior to bottling to prevent negative side effects in infants. It’s important for parents to understand avoiding spinach only applies to parents who prepare their own baby foods at home. Due to the lack of sufficient home testing, pediatricians recommend parents wait at least 8 months to prep and feed freshly made spinach purees to their infants.

We understand the importance of infants getting the best quality ingredients in their diet. We don’t want to discourage you from wanting to make your own meals at home for your growing baby. We only want you to do so in a safe and healthy manner. If you prepare your infant’s meals at home, we encourage you to sit down with your child’s doctor or nutritionist to plan and prepare foods that will not only give them a healthy and balanced diet but will also hit all those important health marks such as organic and sustainably grown.

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Giving Baby Homemade Spinach Baby Food

Image: Shutterstock

 The Goodness of Spinach for Baby

Spinach is an amazing source of Calcium. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach gives you 42 mg of calcium. Spinach also contains respectable amounts of Vitamin A, Iron and Selenium too. Spinach is truly a wonderful leafy green that packs a lot of nutrients. On this page you will learn about introducing spinach to babies and find great spinach baby food recipe ideas too.

Spinach is an oxalate food as well as a nitrate food so for babies under the age of 8 months, eating homemade spinach in moderation, if at all, is a good idea – see below for information about homemade spinach.

Spinach: (one cup, cooked)


Vitamin A – 213 mg

Vitamin C – 0 mg

Pantothenic Acid – .3 mg

Niacin – 2.1 mg

Riboflavin – .1 mg

Thiamine – .1 mg

Folate – 16.9 mcg

Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.


Potassium – 81 mg

Phosphorus – 151 mg

Magnesium – 2. 1 mg

Calcium – 42 mg

Sodium – 19 mg

Iron – 1.5 mg

Selenium – 30 mg

Also contains small amount of copper, manganese and other.

When can I introduce Spinach to my baby? 

Recommendations for introducing spinach to babies vary greatly. Some pediatricians say that introducing spinach between 6-7 months of age is just fine while others say to wait until 8 or even 10 months. Age recommendations on Wholesome Baby Food are more conservative in nature and there is no doubt that the recommended age for introducing spinach is very conservative. I find it would best to wait to introduce spinach into baby’s diet until between 10-12 months of age with 8 months being the earliest; this is mostly for those of you who will be making homemade spinach. Studies have shown that if not properly stored, nitrate levels may increase in spinach. Waiting to introduce baby to spinach will also allow your baby to enjoy spinach in a chopped form rather than a pureed form.

As always, you consult with your baby’s pediatrician on introducing solid foods as generalities may not apply to your infant.

How to select and store Spinach for baby food

 According to the EWG, spinach is one of the “dirty dozen” foods that is most contaminated with pesticides; purchasing organic spinach is a good idea.

When selecting Spinach for homemade baby food, try to purchase fresh whenever possible. You may also purchase bagged fresh spinach if you prefer. Purchasing fresh spinach allows you to select tender and firm leaves that are not wilty or otherwise damaged. Frozen spinach is an option as well.

For proper storage, be sure to keep spinach in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator and do not let it become damp or collect droplets of water in the bag.

The best way to cook Spinach for baby food recipes

You may steam or boil spinach however I recommend sauteing fresh spinach in a wee bit of olive oil. Spinach is cooked when the leaves are soft, tender and have shrunk. Cooked spinach will appear to be stringy and “wilty”.

Enjoy these Tasty Spinach Baby Food Recipes

Spinach Baby Food Puree

  • Any amount of fresh spinach you desire

Step 1: Thoroughly cleanse fresh spinach and pick out damaged leaves

Step 2: Steam in a pot with a steamer basket insert (water should just peek through the holes of the basket).

Step 3: Leaves will shrink and appear wilted when done.


Step 4: Drain and puree spinach in blender or food processor,

Step 5: Add fresh water until mixture is of the desired consistency.

Sautéed Spinach Baby Food **

(May be used for Kale and Collards also)

  • Any amount of spinach you desire
  • olive oil

Step 1: Thoroughly cleanse fresh spinach and pick out damaged leaves

Step 2: Heat olive oil in a frying pan

Step 3: Place spinach in the pan with the heated olive oil and sauté until tender.  Leaves will shrink and appear wilted when done.

Step 4: Puree spinach in blender or food processor,

Step 5: Add fresh water until mixture is of the desired consistency.

 Add some spices such as garlic cloves or powder, basil or onion powder if baby is able to have these spices.

Baby’s Souffle of Spinach
  • 10 -16 oz fresh or frozen spinach (if using frozen, please drain excess liquid prior to using.)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs or 4 yolks (increase if mix is too runny)
  • pinch of garlic and basil

Step 1: Combine all ingredients and spoon into a lightly oiled (we always use olive oil.) baking dish or muffin tray.

Step 2: Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.

Step 3: You may wish to insert a toothpick and then withdraw it to check that the insides are done.

Foods Good to Mix With Spinach

  • Carrots
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (white and sweet)
  • Summer Squash – yellow, zucchini
  • Lentils
  • Chicken

 Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.


in 1 year, as well as before and after, what is the benefit, when is it harmful and how to cook - step by step recipes Russian farmer

Spinach is a real treasure trove of vitamins and microelements. Its benefits for the growing body of a child can hardly be overestimated.

It refers not to greens, as is commonly believed, but to vegetables and is very popular in European and American cuisine.

In Russia, few people know about the beneficial properties of this plant and the possibility of including it in the children's diet. In the article we will tell you what the benefits of spinach are, and at what age it can be introduced into complementary foods.

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