Can My Baby Eat Mushrooms?

Little boy eating

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Mushrooms are a funny food. Neither a fruit nor a vegetable (and technically classified as a fungus), mushrooms are a staple in the healthy diets of most adults, thanks to their versatility and their nutritional benefits. But when you scan the baby food aisle at the grocery store, this delicious and good-for-you food is typically nowhere to be seen.

“Mushrooms aren’t really considered a common food for babies to eat. That said, the goal is to get baby used to eating what parents eat by around 1 year of age,” says pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, author and editor-in-chief of several best-selling American Academy of Pediatrics' parenting books including Baby and Toddler Basics and Your Baby's First Year. “If you are eating cooked mushrooms, and your infant can handle pieces of food, go ahead and try some.”

Here is what else you need to know about introducing mushrooms to your little one. 

Are Mushrooms Safe For My Baby?

If you've started introducing solid foods to your baby, feel free to add mushrooms to the list. "As part of a safe exploration of solid food, it’s absolutely OK to let your baby try mushrooms," says Rebekah Diamond, MD, a pediatric hospitalist in New York City and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University.

The benefits are twofold: mushrooms provide valuable nutrients for babies, plus cooked mushrooms are a great soft consistency for when babies start self-feeding. Just make sure to either puree them, mash them, or cut them into small pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Every baby is different. Be sure to consult with a pediatrician if you have any questions about giving your infant mushrooms.

Benefits of Giving Baby Mushrooms

Small pieces of soft, cooked mushrooms can help support your baby's development, plus help them develop their self-feeding and fine motor skills. Here are some of the perks of feeding your baby mushrooms.

Source of Key Nutrients

Mushrooms are loaded with healthy nutrients, some of which are hard to come by in other foods. "Mushrooms provide many benefits including being a source of potassium, fiber, and iron," says Dr. Altmann. "And several varieties of mushrooms are some of the best plant sources of vitamin D you can eat."

These nutrients, especially iron and vitamin D, play crucial roles in infant development. Iron is key to proper brain and cognitive development in babies and is required for their bodies to build hemoglobin, the compound that ferries oxygen around the body.

Meanwhile, Vitamin D is needed to support healthy bone development. Breastmilk contains negligible amounts of both iron and vitamin D, which is why pediatricians recommend supplementation with both in exclusively breastfed infants beginning very early in life.

Can Support Baby-Led Weaning

For parents taking a baby-led weaning approach to feeding their infant, mushrooms can be a great food to include. "Baby-led weaning introduces solids in the form of soft finger foods that the baby can feed themself, instead of pureed spoon-feeding," explains Dr. Altmann. "Mushrooms can be prepared, cooked, and served as finger food which supports this approach."

Baby-led weaning, if that's the approach to solid foods you choose to take, can have numerous perks for both baby and parent. It supports your child's development, especially fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, plus teaches them self-regulation. It's also easy for parents, as it saves money and time and lets your little one participate in family meals.

Safety Precautions

The biggest risk to be aware of when feeding your baby solid foods is possible choking hazards. "With mushrooms, this means cutting them so that they aren’t a shape that’s easy to choke on, like the round top of a mushroom," Dr. Diamond says. Cooking the mushrooms until they are soft, whether by microwaving them, roasting them, or sautéing them, helps significantly reduce the risk of choking.

While most commercially produced mushrooms are grown in environments that eliminate any potential pathogens, cooking them will kill any remaining germs that might be lurking. "Choose cooked mushrooms over raw mushrooms[for babies]. Raw mushrooms are hard to clean, and cooked mushrooms will have less contamination on them," adds Dr. Diamond.

When and How to Introduce Mushrooms

If you're going to introduce soft, cooked mushrooms to your baby, a great time to start is on a night you're having mushrooms as part of your meal. "Usually, mushrooms aren’t really a baby diet staple, but all foods are fine in the rotation as long as they are prepared to be safe for your child’s specific age," says Dr. Altmann.

Plus, since you eventually want to feed your little one the same foods you are eating, a night when you are already having mushrooms is a great time to start. To do so, put a few small pieces of cooked mushroom on the high chair tray in front of your baby and see what happens.

By the time your baby is able to self-feed, their body will also be ready to digest mushrooms, so age is not as much of a consideration. And while allergies are rare, your best bet is to introduce them separately from other new foods so any potential reactions can be isolated.

What Amount of Mushrooms Should I Give My Baby?

In terms of the amount of mushrooms to give to your baby, that's more up to them. "If you’re doing baby-led weaning or something similar, you won’t be putting food into your baby’s mouth and they can instead explore their plate and decide how much they want to eat at any given time," explains Dr. Diamond. "Mushrooms can also be served as part of a meal, and there’s no real maximum to how much you can offer them."

If you want to, you can hand-feed your baby a few pieces of mushroom to start—but since it's a food they can eat on their own, you want to encourage them to do so.

A Word From Verywell

Even though mushrooms are not considered a typical baby food, they are safe for your baby to eat from the time they start eating solid foods. Mushrooms provide nutrients that are beneficial for their development, plus cooked mushrooms are a soft finger food perfect for babies to practice self-feeding or baby-led weaning. If you have any questions or concerns about feeding your little one, be sure to consult your pediatrician.

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4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding: Iron.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding: Vitamin D.

  4. Venturini ME, Reyes JE, Rivera CS, Oria R, Blanco D. Microbiological quality and safety of fresh cultivated and wild mushrooms commercialized in SpainFood Microbiol. 2011;28(8):1492-1498. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2011.08.007