Can Babies Eat Oranges?

Oranges: Too Acidic for Baby?

Orange juice, orange popsicles, orange chicken, orange slices. You may be an adult who loves oranges and wants to share that love with your baby. Unfortunately, many smaller babies have trouble tolerating the acidity in oranges. It can cause stomach upset, diaper rash or a red rash around the mouth. Fortunately, babies develop the ability to handle that acid around the first year. So although they aren’t an ideal first food, oranges are generally safe for babies around a year old, and some babies enjoy a tiny taste of orange even before that.

Acidity

Kids drinking orange juice

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Unlike apples, bananas or strawberries, oranges are an acidic fruit, which means they can easily irritate your baby’s stomach or bottom if eaten too soon. While adult bodies can deal with the acidity of oranges, small babies typically cannot. Most babies are better able to handle the acid in oranges by the time they reach their first birthday. If your baby has a history of acid reflux or allergies, you also may want to use more caution about introducing oranges or other citrus fruits.

Preparing Oranges

Oranges are a good source of vitamin C once your child is ready to try them. Be sure to thoroughly peel the orange, remove the membrane and any seeds, and cut the slices into dime-sized pieces. To avoid spending your entire day peeling orange slices, try giving your child small pieces of canned mandarin oranges. They are a bit sweeter and have a thinner membrane that is much easier for your baby to handle. Other citrus fruits include tangerines, limes and lemons, but many babies aren’t fond of the last two because of the sour taste.

What to Watch For

Kids drinking orange juice

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When you give your baby oranges for the first time, don’t introduce any other new foods for the next few days. Watch carefully to see if your baby develops a red rash around her mouth or a diaper rash. If your baby has a history of acid reflux, watch for signs of stomach discomfort such as fussiness or an increase in spit-up. If you notice signs of a serious allergic reaction, such as hives, wheezing or trouble breathing, seek medical help right away. If you determine that your baby isn’t quite ready for oranges, other good sources of vitamin C include strawberries, watermelon and sweet potatoes.

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