We are frequently asked about serving soup to babies and toddlers. Learning to eat soup may be a messy process, but with practice kids figure it out! Soup is an awesome way to expose your child to different flavors, textures and nutrients – including lentils, vegetables and herbs!
Below are some examples of ways you can modify soup to serve it to babies and kids of various ages.
A few notes:
- Soup is usually high in salt, which we want to watch for babies under 12 months. Some salt is OK, but if you’re serving soup or broth daily (some families like doing bone broth) then aim for low-salt options.
- Many people like to serve soup or broth when babies 6+ months are sick. Remember – babies still need breast milk or formula as their main nutrition source, so keep broth or liquids other than baby’s milk to no more than 1-2 ounces a day around 6 months and 3-4 oz a day around 9 months. Once baby is about a year you can liberalize their soup/broth intake.
- Don’t forget to check out the last image regarding multi-texture soup like chicken noodle soup or vegetable soup. Thin liquids like broth, when combined with whole pieces of food like noodles or veggies, can be hard for a child under around 14 months to eat. These young eaters struggle to distinguish thin liquid from whole food pieces and often default to just swallowing (instead of chewing first). We don’t want babies and toddlers to get in the habit of swallowing whole foods, so if your child struggles with chunkier soup, deconstruct it first and practice adding small amounts of broth.
- Even if you do baby-led weaning, it’s important for your kiddo to learn to eat pureed or smooth textures like butternut squash soup or tomato bisque.
- Toddlers WILL get messy with soup when feeding themselves using a regular spoon. By around 16 months, most toddlers can become proficient with spoons (scooping and rotating the wrist) if they get plenty of practice, but every kid is different. Don’t get discouraged, just keep offering! Thicker soups help stick on spoons.