Is Flax Good for Babies? What exactly is Flax and how will Flax benefit my baby?
Flax, Flax Seed, Ground Flax and Flax Meal are all things that most of us have heard of, either in passing or by reading about it in an article somewhere. You may have heard that flax is “good for you” and that flax contains Omega 3’s. Despite it’s recent ubiquity, many people have no idea where to buy flax, how to serve it and most importantly, when, and if, it may be introduce to babies and toddlers.
Welcome to the Flax page where you’ll find just the flax (sorry, couldn’t resist) about how and when you may introduce flax, ground flax, flax seeds and flax meal to your baby.
So What is Flax?
Flax is a flowering perennial and it is the seeds of the flax plant that we consume. It’s flowers are plentiful and are amazing to see. Flax blooms from May through September and is mostly grown in Canada and in the Northern Mid-West areas of the United States. Flax has amazing health properties and is a good source of healthy oils, fiber, and other essential nutrients for babies (and adults) good health, growth and development.
Flax has been cultivated for centuries, its cultivation can be traced back to the Stone Age even. The American Colonists grew flax to use its fiber for making (linen) cloth and cultivated Flax for commercial production as far back as the 1700’s
Flax has 3 essential and amazing components that make it a powerhouse of nutrition. For it’s size, Flax sure delivers! The three essential components of Flax that are wonderful for our bodies are:
Omega-3 oils – You may recognize them as “alpha-linolenic acid” or ALA
Fiber, both soluble and insoluble
When Can My Baby Begin To Eat Flax?
You will most often find pediatricians who say that incorporating Flax into your baby’s diet is safe around 7-8 months old. Ideally, you would begin offering you baby Flax in the form of either Flax meal (finely ground Flax Seeds) or Flax Oil.
How Much Flax Should I Offer my Baby
Include Flax in your baby’s diet but be sure to use no more than 3 teaspoon of Flax per day and offer it on a rotating basis until you see how it affects your little one. While one cannot really “overdose” on Flax, it is important to keep the dosage relatively low as Flax is a natural laxative. It is possible that very loose stools and/or diarrhea will occur with eating too much Flax. Flax is a great assistant in the relief of constipation! Note that you may add up to 3 teaspoons of flax, spread throughout several “meals” during a day.
Many parents who give their babies Flax increase the amount once baby has turned 1 or 2 years old.
As with any new food, it is important that you watch out for any possible reactions and speak to your baby’s pediatrician about adding Flax to the diet. While Flax is not considered a high allergen, you still want to watch for any digestive upsets.
Can I Use Flax Oil as a Substitute for Other Oils in Cooking?
No! You cannot cook with Flax Oil as you do with Olive Oil. Flax oil will burn and go rancid when heated.
How do I store Flax?
Flax must be stored properly as it is very delicate. Whether you are using Flax Oil or Ground Flax, store your Flax in the refrigerator. Flax can go rancid very quickly and then it will be unhealthy to eat. Whole Flax Seeds are not as delicate and may be kept for up to 2 years in a dry cool sealed container.
How Can I Add Flax to my Baby’s Meals?
Many people add whole Flax Seeds directly to their baked goods and cereals. It has been found that the seeds may not prove to be as healthful as using Flax Oil, Ground Flax or Flax Meal. The whole seeds may not break down enough in the digestive system to completely release all of the wholesome and healthy goodness of the Flax.
Flax Oil, Ground Flax or Flax Meal may be added to your Baby’s food in a variety of ways. (ensure your choice of foods is age appropriate for your baby..)
Add Flax Oil, Flax Meal or ground Flax Seeds to your baby’s infant cereals
Sprinkle Flax Meal or ground Flax Seeds in your baby’s yogurt, mixed in or over baby’s fruit purées, add it to veggie purees and meat/rice/veggie meals too.
Flax Meal or Ground Flax is great in J&J’s Baby Meatballs, meatloaf, fish cakes and homemade chicken nuggets too.
Baked goods with added Flax Meal give your teething biscuits and rusks an extra nutritional boost too. Try Flax Meal or Ground Flax in Baby Cereal Pancakes too.
Flax oil may be added to porridge, yogurt and anything else you may wish to add it to.