How to Introduce Waffles to Babies + Toddlers
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Waffles can be a terrific texture for both babies and toddlers. Here are some yummy ways to prepare, serve, freeze and reheat waffles for your kids.
Preparation: Since dry waffles can be a choking risk, be sure the waffle is moist and tender. I prefer to make my own mix and use a waffle iron instead of buying premade waffles. Using a waffle iron helps to ensure that the waffle maintains a warm consistency. This consistent temperature is key to maintaining a moist + safe texture. My favorite mix right now is the Happy Baby Organics Pancake and Waffle Mix.
- Babies: Place the mix into the waffle iron and remove it before the waffle becomes crispy or dry. Then, cut the waffle into strips so your baby can easily hold them. Serve with a puree so your baby can practice dipping.
- Toddlers: For toddlers, you can cut waffles into quarters to make a waffle pizza. Spread some strawberry puree on top of the waffle and then add a colorful mix of chopped fruit toppings. Ta da… delicious waffle pizza!
Feeding Skills: I like serving waffles to babies and toddlers because the craters on the waffle are perfect for teaching feeding skills such as biting, chewing and dipping.
- Biting: In feeding therapy, I use waffle sticks to teach the skill of biting. I have an older baby or toddler place their teeth on the crater of the waffle and pull with their hand. After they learn this skill, I teach them to place their teeth and bite through the crater (since the texture is thinner there).
- Chewing: I also use waffle sticks to teach chewing to children. The craters provide a perfect sensory spot in the mouth to focus on teeth and gum line placement for chewing.
- Dipping: Dips and dippers are important tools in feeding development. They allow a child to have more control at mealtime and focus on eating independently. Here are a few fun dipping ideas:
- Fruit puree: Try to offer a variety of colorful purees (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple).
- Yogurt: Dairy is a potentially allergenic food that should be served early and often.
- Sprinkles: Offer a condiment container with some hemp hearts, chia seeds or ground flaxseed. To help encourage toddlers to try these healthy seeds, I also mix in a few (not a lot) multicolored cupcake sprinkles. Yum!
Freeze + Reheat: When cooking waffles, I usually double the recipe. I do this because waffles are easy to freeze and quickly reheat. The trick is how to freeze them – you don’t want the waffles to stick together!
- Freeze: I put the ezpz Play Mat on a cookie sheet. Then I line up the waffle sticks on the Play Mat’s flat surface. I quickly make some fresh fruit puree and then place the puree into the flower sections of the Play Mat. After freezing, I place the sticks into a zip top bag and the fruit puree cubes into another bag. (I’ve found that if you freeze all of the sticks together in a zip top bag they stick together and are difficult to separate / reheat).
- Reheat: When reheating, take out a few frozen waffle sticks and place them into the toaster oven or microwave. I find that the toaster oven helps to maintain the temperature of the waffle stick but, at times, can make it too dry. A microwave can help keep the waffle moist but may make it too chewy. Try different reheating options with your appliances to find the safest texture for your child.
- Serve: Take the frozen fruit puree from the zip top bag and let it defrost in the ezpz Tiny Bowl (for babies) or the Mini Bowl (for toddlers). Once you have warmed your waffle strips, place them alongside the puree (as pictured). Place the suction bowl on the highchair tray or tabletop to help foster your child’s self-feeding milestones.
I hope these tips help make breakfast ezpz for both you and your family! What are some fun ways you serve waffles?
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).