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When can babies have chocolate milk? This is when it’s safe to let your child indulge

How to introduce this beverage to your child

Toddler drinking chocolate protein drink
Dobrila Vignjevic / iStock

Introducing your baby to new foods is a fun milestone for every parent. Watching your little ones as they experience new tastes and textures is an exciting part of their development. Many parents know when they can begin to introduce milk to their babies, but may wonder if the same rules apply to chocolate milk. Are little babes old enough to try it yet? When can babies have chocolate milk? It can be quite the job to keep up with what babies can have and at what age. So, for this delectable treat, we will help you find out when little ones can indulge in a glass.

Babies shouldn’t have sweets or milk if they’re not at least a year old. But even if they’ve celebrated that first birthday, there are other factors to consider.

Baby with a chocolate cupcake
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Can babies have chocolate?

This is the first big question that you should be asking before you hand over a sippy cup filled with chocolate milk. Has your baby had chocolate before, or would this be the first time introducing it into their diet? Ideally, this is a good question for your child’s pediatrician. You have to take into account that your child might be allergic if you are introducing a new food. You just never know, so err on the side of caution and consult a doctor before making any drastic dietary changes.

If you want to introduce your baby to chocolate but not jump right into chocolate milk just yet, try chocolate cake. This is dependent on your baby’s age, of course. Experts warn not to introduce sweets within the first year of life and not to introduce milk into their diet if they are under a year old. However, before introducing chocolate into their diet, you may want to try to get them to have a taste of healthier foods first so that they do not expect chocolate all the time.

A young child drinking out of a sippy up.
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Introducing chocolate to babies

If they have had other kinds of cake in the past, then a chocolate cake should be just fine. You will be able to gauge their response to see if they like it or not.

While it might be unlikely, make sure to be vigilant to any warning signs of an allergic reaction. These include trouble breathing and breaking out in hives.

If they seem fine with the chocolate, then you can introduce chocolate milk to your baby. However, it should be in moderation, not be given too freely, and only as a special treat. Chocolate milk has way more sugar than a glass of regular milk.

Chocolate Milk
American Heritage Chocolate / Pexels

Syrup or powder or ready-made?

There are various ways that you can make chocolate milk for your little one.

  • First, there is the pure chocolate syrup that you pour directly into a glass of milk and stir it up until you have chocolate milk.
  • Then you have chocolate-milk powders that you can mix into a glass of milk.
  • Finally, there is ready-made chocolate milk that you can find at the store in the dairy case.

Which one is better for your baby? It all comes down to the nutritional value of each one.

The chocolate syrup itself tends to have quite a fair amount of preservatives in it, and you may not want to be giving those kinds of chemicals to your baby at such a young age. Now, when it comes to powder, it can sometimes be a more pure form of cocoa. Then there is the regular, good old ready-to-drink mix. Most times, it is fortified with calcium, but milk in and of itself already has calcium in it, so that should not be a selling point.

When it comes to the three of these products, it seems that the best product to use is the powder, as it has the least amount of “bad ingredients” that you do not want to give to your baby. It also has a longer shelf life than the ready-made and the syrup. If you are looking for a healthier option, you could always look for a cocoa powder that is organic or not as processed as other cocoa powders. You will have to look around at a health food store to find this kind. (Just as a heads up, if you’re looking for more information related to your newborn’s liquid intake, you might want to check out the best baby formula ingredients for sensitive stomachs.)

Mom holding a cup while baby drinks from it
Yan Krukau / Pexels

What should babies be drinking?

As exciting as it may be to introduce new beverages to your baby, experts recommend keeping it simple. The scientists at Healthy Eating Research suggest that children should drink only breastmilk/formula, water, and milk until they reach 5 years of age, with the exception of a small amount of 100% juice introduced after their first birthday. “Close to half of all 2- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. drink sugary drinks every day, which we know increases their risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems,” Megan Lott, deputy director of Healthy Eating Research noted. “These recommendations simplify everything for parents — water, milk, and limited amounts of 100 percent fruit juice,” she added.

Overall, there is no reason that you cannot give your baby chocolate milk as long as they’re at least one year old and not allergic to any of the ingredients. So, feel free to pour them a glass of cold, chocolatey goodness as a treat! They will love this brand-new taste and really enjoy it. But remember, moderation is key when it comes to it!

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Jennifer Passmore
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