It’s only natural to want to provide a nutrient-rich diet for your baby, and mushrooms are some of the most nutritious foods available.
Introducing a baby to new flavors and textures at a young age also helps create healthy eating patterns when they’re older.
But, mushrooms are fungi, and although they have numerous health benefits for adults, you may be wondering if babies can eat mushrooms.
In this article, we answer this question and several others to give you peace of mind.
Can Babies Eat Mushrooms?
Yes, babies can eat mushrooms, and even though they’re fungi, people generally consider mushrooms a vegetable when it comes to nutrition.
Like other healthy vegetables, it’s a good idea to include them in your baby’s menu, and what’s more, allergies to edible mushrooms are rare, making them a safe option.
Additionally, their soft texture makes mushrooms ideal for those introducing their baby to solids using the baby-led weaning approach.
But, don’t feed your baby wild mushrooms as many of them could potentially make your baby ill or even be life-threatening.
To be safe, use mushrooms purchased from a grocery store, supermarket or fruit and veg market.
When Can Babies Eat Mushrooms?
Your baby can start eating store-bought mushrooms as soon as they are ready to eat solid foods.
Healthy full-term babies are generally ready to try mushrooms at around six months, but it varies depending on the baby.
There are several signs to look for that can help you know when your baby is ready.
Your baby has reached a stage in their development where they’re ready to try mushrooms safely when they can:
- Stay in a sitting position with minimal support.
- Hold their head upright and steady while eating.
- Locate food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves.
- Swallow food instead of spitting it out.
Can Baby Eat Mushrooms at 6 Months?
Your baby can eat mushrooms at six months if they have reached all the developmental milestones mentioned above and are ready for solid foods.
The National Health Service (NHS) recommends waiting until your baby is at least six months old before you start giving them solids to give them time to develop and be ready for solid food.
Starting solids at six months also allows parents to take the baby-led weaning approach.
Baby-led weaning is gaining popularity in the UK and the US and involves bypassing purees and mashed-up foods and instead providing finger foods for babies to feed themselves from the start.
Are There Allergy Risks When Feeding Babies Mushrooms?
There are minimal allergy risks when feeding babies mushrooms as mushrooms are not considered a common allergen.
But, a small percentage of babies may be allergic to mushrooms, and it’s always a good idea to watch for signs of an allergic reaction when serving anything for the first time.
Mushrooms contain chitin, a common carbohydrate also found in crustaceans that may cause an allergic reaction.
Your baby is also more likely to have an allergic reaction if there is a history of allergies, asthma or eczema in your family.
Here are some tips for introducing mushrooms to your baby.
- Wait three to five days after introducing your baby to a new food before adding another food. Doing this will make it easier to identify which food is the source of an allergic reaction.
- When introducing mushrooms, or any other new food, start with a small quantity initially, and if there’s no allergic reaction, gradually increase the amount in future meals.
- There are several delicious varieties of mushrooms you can give your baby. Introduce each type to your baby separately so you can watch for any reaction to a specific mushroom.
Signs of Allergies in Babies
According to the National Health Service (NHS), your baby might have a mushroom allergy if they show any of the symptoms below within a few hours of eating mushrooms.
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Skin rash
- Swollen lips, tongue or throat
- Trouble swallowing
This article from the NHS has more information on food allergies in babies and their symptoms.
How Do You Serve Mushrooms for Babies?
Serve mushrooms for babies cooked and pureed, mashed, sliced or chopped into age-appropriate sized pieces.
Some raw mushrooms contain a toxin called agaritine that can cause problems in large doses. Cooking destroys the agaritine in mushrooms, softens them and makes them easier to digest.
To be safe, always cook mushrooms before giving them to your baby.
A mushroom’s soft texture and mild earthy flavors make them very versatile, and there are several ways to serve them to your baby.
Which you choose will depend on your weaning approach, your baby’s age and level of development.
Here are some of the ways you can serve mushrooms to babies:
- Mashed or pureed – When first introducing mushrooms to younger babies, you can serve them mashed or pureed, alone or mixed with other foods your baby enjoys. Try adding mashed or pureed mushrooms to soups and sauces.
- As finger food – Mushrooms are very soft when cooked, making them ideal as finger foods. They’re gentle on a baby’s gums and, like other finger foods, help to teach them to chew. Many people choose to offer them like this at first instead of pureeing or mashing them.
- With other foods – You can fold chopped, cooked mushrooms into other soft food such as mashed vegetables or use them when making finger foods like omelets.
How Do You Cut Mushrooms for Babies?
It’s important to cut and serve mushrooms correctly to make it easy for your baby to enjoy them and reduce the chances of choking.
Larger mushroom caps may be chewy and difficult for babies to break down in their mouths. And, small button mushrooms or tough round stems are a potential choking hazard.
To combat this, you can finely chop the mushrooms into small pieces or slice long, thin strips at least the size of an adult pinky finger when cooked.
Always cut the stems lengthways or remove them entirely, as small round stem slices are still a choking hazard. When cutting, keep in mind that mushrooms often shrink when you cook them.
Mushrooms can be minced, mashed, finely chopped, diced or sliced into strips and served as a nutritious treat for babies.
How Do You Cook Mushrooms for Baby-led Weaning?
Take your baby’s age and stage of development into consideration when cooking mushrooms for baby-led weaning. Here are some age appropriate ideas to consider.
Large portobello mushrooms cut into strips and sauteed in olive oil are great for babies around six months old who are just starting with solids.
Even if a baby cannot pick up small chopped mushrooms yet, they will be able to locate and pick up the large strips of portobello that they can then suck on or gum.
When your baby is around nine months, try offering them finely chopped sauteed mushrooms to help them develop their hand-eye coordination.
At this age, you can also start adding mushrooms to several different dishes for your baby, such as risotto, meatballs, scrambled eggs, pasta sauces and omelets.
Button Mushroom Omelet
This button mushroom omelet recipe is perfect for baby-led weaning and very versatile. You can try other types of mushrooms and incorporate additional fillings as your baby gets older.
It makes two or more servings depending on your baby’s appetite and will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.
- 3 eggs
- 2 medium-sized button mushrooms minced
- 1 garlic clove minced (optional)
- 1 scallion minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and scallion and cook for about three minutes until the mushrooms and garlic have softened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl or plate.
- Return the skillet to the stovetop, add the remaining oil, and set it on medium heat. Pour in the whisked eggs and shake the pan to distribute the mixture across the bottom of the pan. Cook the eggs without stirring for about two minutes until the edges start to curl.
- Sprinkle the mushroom mixture on one half of the omelet and use a spatula to fold the other half on top. Cook for two minutes, then check that the omelet is fully cooked by piercing the thickest part with a knife. It’s ready if there is no runny egg inside. Slide the omelet onto a plate and let it cool.
- Once the omelet has cooled, cut it into strips for babies six to nine months of age and into bite-size pieces for older babies who have developed their pincer grasp (where the thumb and forefinger meet).
What Are The Best Types of Mushrooms to Feed Babies?
The best types of mushrooms to feed your baby are common edible mushrooms purchased from a reputable supplier.
Several types of edible mushrooms are suitable for babies from six months of age, including the most commonly consumed mushrooms in the world, button mushrooms.
You will find button mushrooms marketed under several different names. You may know them as baby bella, champignon or cremini mushrooms.
And, when a button mushroom is allowed to fully mature and get more flavor, it’s marketed as a portobello mushroom.
When your baby is a little older, you can introduce some of the slightly more exotic edible mushrooms.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms For Babies
Mushrooms are low in sodium, calories, and cholesterol and packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
They contain most B vitamins and essential minerals like phosphorus, selenium, zinc, copper and potassium that support babies’ healthy growth and development.
Selenium, in particular, is a rare mineral with antioxidant properties. It helps lower oxidative stress, which protects against cancer, reduces inflammation and enhances immunity.
Mushrooms are also a source of vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium better, supporting the growth and development of their bones and teeth.
Additionally, Mushrooms are a good source of dietary fiber that encourages healthy digestion and helps prevent diabetes.
Our article on the Health and Nutritional Benefits Of Mushrooms has more information for you.
Although mushrooms are fungi, they have many nutritional benefits for your baby.
They’re perfect for use as part of a baby-led weaning process and can be cut and prepared to suit the different stages of your baby’s development.
Their mild flavor and soft texture mean they go well with many other foods, making them an ideal way to incorporate beneficial vitamins and minerals into your baby’s diet.
And, if you are considering growing mushrooms at home so that you’ll have an ongoing supply of healthy fresh mushrooms for your baby. Our Mushroom Growing Hub has all the information you need to get started.