Hemp Gallery Australia Hemp Seeds for Babies

Hemp Seeds for Babies

When can babies eat hemp seed and hemp seed milk?
Hulled hemp seeds (also called hemp heart seeds) and hemp seed oil may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. It is best to wait until after your baby’s first birthday, however, to offer hemp seed milk as a drink (cooking with it is fine) as it is important that cow milk and milk alternatives do not displace breast milk or formula in the first year of life.
Background and origins of hemp seed
For thousands of years, humans have cultivated the hemp plant as not only a source of food, but as a fibre to make clothing, paper, and rope. The hull (the seed’s crunchy shell) is often removed before sale to reveal the soft white inner seed, or the hemp heart, from which the oil is extracted.
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are incredibly nutritious, but before we dive into the details, let’s clear up any confusion: hemp seeds and the oil that’s extracted from them won’t get you or your baby high. The hemp plant is part of the same family as marijuana, but it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound in pot.
In Australia, hemp seeds (as well as other hemp foods like hemp flour, hemp protein powder and hemp seed oil) were only legalised in November 2017 after almost 80 years of being grouped with marijuana. In the United States, they were legalised in 2018. But rest assured: hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp seed protein powder are now recognised as safe for human consumption by the federal government.

Are hemp seeds healthy for babies?
Yes! Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are terrific ingredients to add nutritional value to your baby’s diet and to help with that ever-present challenge: constipation.
Nutritionally, hemp seeds are a complete protein, which means that they have all the essential amino acids that your baby’s body needs to thrive. They are also a great source of critical essential nutrients: copper, fibre, selenium, vitamins A and B6, and zinc.
Hemp seeds are processed in different ways to make food products—hemp flour, hemp powder, hemp butter, hemp milk, hemp oil—and each one has unique health benefits:
  • Whole hemp seeds are housed in their hulls (tough outer shells) which offer lots of soluble fibre, a nutrient that’s often lacking in a human’s diet. Because they are crunchy, they’re not the easiest food for early eaters to digest.
  • Hulled hemp seeds (hemp heart seeds) are free of the crunchy outer shell, but still offer lots of protein, healthy fats, and tons of nutrients. Hemp hearts are easier to digest, easier to sprinkle on meals, and easier to serve to your baby.
  • Hemp milk is produced by grinding seeds, soaking them in water, and straining to separate the solids from the liquid. Hemp milk contains healthy fats and many nutrients but not as much fibre. Be sure to read the labels: hemp milk may contain additives like sugar and binders such as carrageenan and gums—which are not great for babies (or adults). It's easier and healthier to make it at home (read our recipe here)
  • Hemp seed oil is made by pressing the oil from the whole seeds. It’s full of essential fats! Do not heat hemp seed oil, as it will go rancid and can contribute to cellular damage.
  • Hemp flour is made from the leftover solids after oil is extracted. Hemp flour is full of nutrients, but lacks much of fibre and healthy fats that are found in the whole seed.
  • Hemp protein powder is what remains after sifting hemp flour. The powder offers lots of protein and nutrients, but lower amounts of healthy fats and fibre.
Are hemp seeds a common choking hazard for babies?
No. Neither hemp seeds, hemp seed hearts, or hemp seed oil are common causes of choking, though the foods they are added to may be. Always stay near your baby during mealtime and check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.
Are hemp seeds a common allergen?
No, though it is not unheard of. As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a scant quantity for the first couple of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future servings.
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