Skip to main content

When can babies eat pasta? What you need to know

Sitting down to a comforting, cozy, and warm plate of warm pasta sounds just divine, doesn’t it? New parents, however, might be wondering when they can safely include their babies in on the deliciousness that is al dente pasta coated in a tasty sauce or velvety butter. If you’re a first-time mom asking the question of, “When can babies eat pasta?”, we’re here to help.

Why question pasta in the first place?

You may be wondering why there is a concern over giving pasta to your baby at the correct time, and why some parents feel the need to be cautious about the process. While there are several factors to consider initially, the primary concern over serving pasta to a baby is the introduction of two bigtime allergens into your baby’s diet: wheat and eggs. Gluten allergies such as Celiac Disease are very real issues that parents can face, should their child turn out to possess an allergy to wheat. An egg allergy is also a devastating thing, which could be triggered by feeding your infant pasta before establishing allergies first.

Related Videos

The American Academy of Allergy & Immunology suggests introducing single-ingredient infant first, such as apples, pears and bananas, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots, and cereal grains one at a time. – American Academy of Pediatrics

In addition to allergy-related concerns, there are also safety concerns surrounding feeding babies’ new foods. It is vital that parents remain aware of the size of foods they are presenting to their children. Babies can choke easily, and without proper education, successful emergency interventions are not always possible. If once allergies have been determined to not be present, parents wish to proceed in serving their baby pasta for the first time, it’s highly recommended to use short pasta initially. Examples include:

  • Elbow Macaroni
  • Penne Lisce (smaller version of penne rigate)
  • Farfalle
  • Fusilli

When can babies eat pasta?

The simple answer? Pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend babies begin to try solid foods between the ages of 4 ½ months and 6 ½ months. When infants are young, 4 months and younger, their bodies possess a mechanism to prevent anything other than liquid to be swallowed. This is called the “extrusion reflex”, or tongue-thrust reflex. Keep in mind, however, that this is a primal instinct, not your little one being defiant.

Once your infant has reached the appropriate age to begin the process, solid foods can be introduced. This is typically done one ingredient at a time. For instance, fruits are served in small pieces, and cereals are attempted one at a time. Once a wheat and egg allergy has not been discovered after presentation, pasta can be introduced safely. When serving to your little one a dish of pasta for the first time, a light coating in unsalted butter provides a nice “sauce” of sorts. Keeping a baby food journal can be helpful to keep track of when you can safely introduce foods, without becoming confused or forgetting any vital information.

But don’t forget…

As a parent, it’s paramount to remember that even though your baby may begin to try and eat solid foods, those foods cannot become their entire daily diet. Infants will still require formula or breastmilk to meet their nutritional needs on a regular basis. Once solid foods become a regular part of their diets, parents can slowly begin removing feeding times for formula or nursing, usually around the age of 12 months.

We get it. You’re excited to introduce your little one to all the new and tasty treats you and your family enjoy daily. They respond to seeing you eat, the colors of the foods, and maybe even the smells associated with them. You want to include them in your meal, as eating together brings families closer and forms a more close-knit bond. You also want to broaden their palates with new, soft, and baby-friendly foods with easy to eat and digestible textures and ingredients. Don’t let that cloud the importance of doing this in the right time frame, however. By following the recommendations and suggestions of your baby’s pediatrician, you’re ensuring your baby is given new foods safely and in a carefully planned and developed setting. By showing your baby the world of new and exciting foods, you are opening the world up to them with daily adventures in the kitchen.

Editors' Recommendations

A family’s guide to healthy living in 2023, according to an expert
Learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes for the whole family in 2023
Parent putting together a colorful lunch

Getting healthy always tops the list of New Year's resolutions every January, but it's easier said than done, especially when it comes to kids. Putting children on the path to a healthy lifestyle is the gift that keeps on giving. So why not get the whole family on the path to healthy living? Not sure how to get started? Don't worry. We've got an easy guide for healthy habits for families right from registered dietician, pediatric nutritionist, and mom, Ali Bandier.

Be a positive role model
Like anything else, getting your family to embrace healthy living starts with being a good role model. Bandier emphasizes how much influence parents have over their children in regard to food and healthy eating habits. The environment you have in your home and especially at mealtime impacts the relationship your kids have with food. Bandier also points out it's a tightrope walk with how parents positively or negatively influence kids on their eating habits.

Read more
5 vegetarian baby food recipes that are easy to make
Check out these vegetarian baby food recipes that everyone can enjoy
Happy baby eating from a red bowl

Vegetarian lifestyles have come a long way in the past decade, thanks in part to more focus placed on healthier approaches to meals. This is also because now more than ever, parents are prepping their own foods at home and leaning less on drive-throughs and "quick-stop" type meals that carry little dietary benefit. Parents are skipping the store-brand vegetarian baby foods altogether, while doing their weekly food shopping, opting instead to buy fresh produce to prepare their infant's meals at home, versus buying them pre-made and jarred.

To help bolster those dedicated parents' recipe boxes and fill their pantries with healthier and customized baby foods, we’ve put our heads together to bring you five vegetarian baby recipes that are tasty, exciting, and easy to make right at home.

Read more
10 foods to avoid while breastfeeding (and some good, nutritious ones that help prevent colic)
What to include in your diet while breastfeeding and what to leave out
Mom breastfeeding newborn in bed

Breastfeeding gives your baby one of the healthiest starts in life. In fact, your baby gains valuable nutrients naturally while building up the immune system. Still, it’s only natural to wonder if anything could possibly go wrong. Most likely, you and your baby will not experience any drawbacks, but just in case, we’ve brought you information about foods to avoid while breastfeeding, as well as which ones to include to ensure that your baby is gaining vital nutrients.

Gassy foods to avoid while breastfeeding to prevent discomfort and tummy aches
You might wonder how to pinpoint which foods to avoid while breastfeeding. To find out, you'll need to watch your baby's reaction after mealtimes. If you notice a repeated pattern between what you’ve eaten throughout the day and your baby’s issues with gas, then you can try removing a particular food to see if your child’s condition improves. Additionally, you might try omitting the following foods to start off.
Leafy greens
In some cases, vegetables like kale, spinach, and darker lettuces might cause your baby to get gas. This might seem ironic, considering how healthy vegetables are, but you might need to wait a few more weeks or even months before eating leafy greens if you notice a connection between your baby’s tummy ache and the salad you had for lunch.
Beans contain a chemical called Raffinose that works the digestive system a bit more than other foods. The result is usually burping or flatulence. So, if you suspect this chemical is passing through your breastmilk, then you might add beans to your list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Peppers and spicy food
Just like spicy foods with chile or paprika or different types of peppers can produce a gassy effect for adults, the same can happen to your baby. In fact, you’ll be able to tell right away if these spices and peppers are the culprits behind your baby’s discomfort.
Garlic may be one of the most difficult ingredients to give up, but if you see a correlation between your child’s bouts of gas and the buttered garlic you had off of the grill, then you might take a break from this wonder herb since not all infants can tolerate garlic, which also affects the smell and taste of breast milk.
Foods with milk or soy proteins
Although this rarely happens, milk, cheese, and other dairy products might give your baby gas. Likewise, edamame, tofu, and soy milk might pose an issue with food allergies. In this situation, your pediatrician can provide more insight into the possibility of an allergy to milk or soy. Likewise, he or she can recommend some substitutes that still provide an adequate supply of calcium.

Read more