Mushrooms in weaning: are they really banned?

March 11, 2024

The world of parenting is riddled with myths and beliefs, one of which concerns the intake of mushrooms in weaning.

This indication seems to be given only in Italy.

How do they, in other countries, survive? The reason is quickly stated: it was probably a misinterpretation of a specific document, then also handed down by many professionals.

The first to point out this inconsistency were the good professionals at Uppa.

So let us try to understand why there is this ban and whether in fact we can give mushrooms to our children.

Mushrooms in weaning banned only in Italy?

The indication to avoid mushrooms in children under 12 appears to be a rather unique case, considering that there are no similar directives in other countries.

mushrooms in weaning

In fact, the international literature not only does not prohibit mushroom consumption in toddlers but, in some cases, encourages it as part of a balanced diet rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Mushrooms are found in many official documents from the U.S., Canada, France, and the U.K. Mushrooms find their way into infant food guidelines, both as an ingredient in healthy recipes and as a food to be introduced after the first months of life.

Where did this ban come from?

So how did this indication come about in Italy? Analyzing the sources, the ban is often traced back to information documents focused on the risks associated with the consumption of wild mushrooms.

The origin of this ban may stem from a specific quote from a Ministry of Health pamphlet.

This pamphlet, however, speaks of guidelines regarding wild mushrooms and advises against giving mushrooms to children and other fragile groups.

The caution, therefore, seems to stem from a cautious approach to non-cultivated species, which does not necessarily reflect an opposition to the use of commercially available safe mushrooms.

When to introduce mushrooms in weaning?

The Italian ban on feeding mushrooms to children under the age of 12 thus seems to be based more on an extremely precautionary and specific approach to wild mushrooms, rather than on a proven metabolic difficulty.

However, molecules such as mannitol that would not be well digested by the child’s endocrine system are often cited by various experts.

However, it is important to distinguish between legitimate precautions toward uncertified products and the nutritional reality of cultivated mushrooms, which can enrich children’s diets with their benefits.

Nutrition is one of the pillars of a healthy life for both children and adults, and it is essential to treat it carefully and with scientific method. In this way, knowing the subject well, we will know how to make the right decisions and also approach meetings with experts with a good level of preparation.

No matter how well you may know a topic, the best thing, especially when it comes to your health and your child’s health, is to rely on the right reference figures, such as the pediatrician and pediatric nutritionist.

Safe Mushrooms and How to Introduce Them into Children’s Diets

Although the debate about mushrooms and children has brought out different opinions, it is crucial to recognize the importance of introducing this food into the diet of young children in an informed manner. Cultivated mushrooms, such as champignons, porcini, and shiitake, offer a wide range of essential nutrients, including vitamin D, selenium, potassium, and fiber. The introduction of mushrooms into children’s diets should therefore be done gradually, taking into account the origin and quality of the product.

Tips for preparing mushrooms in weaning

When introducing mushrooms into children’s diets, food safety is paramount. Mushrooms should be well washed and cooked correctly to ensure the destruction of any harmful bacteria and to neutralize certain toxins typical of this product. Preparation can range from simple recipes such as omelets enriched with mushrooms to more elaborate dishes such as risotto or pasta with mushroom sauce, always taking care to cut them into age-appropriate pieces for the child to avoid choking problems.

Listening to the Baby’s Signals

It is important to pay attention to how the child reacts to introducing new foods, including mushrooms. Although adverse reactions are rare, each child is unique and may have different sensitivities. Consulting your pediatrician for individualized advice is always a good practice. Keep in mind, however, that many Italian pediatricians continue to offer this ban and may give you more in-depth explanations, and you can still decide what to do.

We are with you.

We at Parentalife are by your side throughout parenthood, from the childbearing period to child- birth, to life with children. We support you through our guides and classes, and we are also by your side with personalized counseling to help you in your daily life. You will never be alone, we are with you.

SOURCES

1. USDA Food Patterns for Children Younger than Age 24 Months 
2. UPPA. Funghi ai bambini: รจ giusto vietarli fino a 12 anni? disponibile a https://www.uppa.it/funghi-ai-bambini/
3. NHS Foundation Trust Five Day Meal Planner-Issue 3
4. Government of Canada Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months 

About the Author

Severino Cirillo

Health, Wellness and Education Expert. With a degree in Community Health, he is the CEO of Informed Parent and is responsible for validating the blog's scientific information and coordinating the editorial team of experts, consisting of gynecologists, midwives, psychotherapists, and others in pregnancy, perinatal, and parenting wellness and health.