When Is it Safe for a Baby to Eat Blueberries?
You likely know that a varied and well-balanced diet is important for good overall health. That doesn't mean it's safe to feed your baby any and all foods whenever you want to. However, blueberries offer many health benefits and offering them to your baby when it is safe helps boost her nutrient intake and contributes to her daily fruit intake. Follow the advice of your baby's pediatrician when it comes to introducing solid foods.
Health experts and pediatricians say babies shouldn't be started on solid foods before four (or even six) months of age, and when it is time to start, they recommend you begin with infant cereal and work toward other foods. Frank Greer, pediatrician and former chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Nutrition suggests waiting until six months of age to introduce blueberries into your baby's diet. Offer blueberries independent of other new foods so you can keep an eye out for signs of an allergy.
When your baby first starts eating solid food, he might not have any teeth yet. This makes purees the most ideal food for babies. Look for blueberry puree at the supermarket when you're ready to introduce it. It's most likely to be mixed with other fruits, such as bananas or applesauce, so be sure your baby has already tried the other fruits before serving combinations. If you prefer to make your own baby food, place fresh or frozen blueberries in a blender and puree, adding water as needed until you reach the desired consistency.
Once your little one has a few teeth and eats more table foods and less pureed foods, blueberries are an ideal way to boost her fiber and vitamin C intake. Whole blueberries pose a choking risk, according to Susan Moores, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, so it's important to chop them before serving to your baby. Cut blueberries in half or quarters, suggests Moores. Offer just a few pieces at a time to prevent your baby from sticking too many in her mouth, which also increases the risk that she'll choke. Once your baby turns three years old, it's probably fine to serve whole blueberries.
Diced blueberries are a healthy stand-alone snack for your baby, but incorporating them into meals is a simple way to help her develop a taste for them and boost her antioxidant and nutrient intake. Serve them with oatmeal, alongside sliced turkey and shredded cheese or blend them with a bit of yogurt to make a tasty smoothie for breakfast or lunch. Starting your baby out on a healthy diet gives her the tools she'll need to make her own good choices when she gets older.