Between their beautiful color, sweet flavor, and amazing nutritional content, strawberries are a favorite fruit for many. You’re sure your baby would love them, but before you introduce berries into their diet, there are a few things to know.
Berries, including strawberries, can be a great source of vitamins and minerals. But because any baby can develop allergies, and what you choose to feed your baby can have an impact on your baby’s chances of developing one, it’s important to introduce new foods with a little caution.
When to Introduce Solid Foods
Between 4 and 6 months of age, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) states that many babies begin developing the skills necessary to eat solid foods. Those skills include good head and neck control, and the ability to sit up with support in a high chair.
If your baby has been showing interest in your food and has these skills, you can introduce a first food like rice cereal or another single grain cereal. Once your baby has become a cereal eating expert, they’re ready for foods like pureed fruits and vegetables.
You can try single ingredient foods like pureed carrots, squash, and sweet potato, fruits like pears, apples, and bananas, and green vegetables, too. It’s important to introduce one new food at a time, and then wait three to five days before introducing another new food. That way, you have time to watch for any reactions to specific foods.
According to the AAAAI, even highly allergenic foods can be introduced to your baby’s diet after they have begun eating solids. Highly allergenic foods include:
In the past, the recommendation was to avoid these foods to reduce the chances of developing allergies. But according to AAAAI, delaying them may actually increase your baby’s risk.
Berries, including strawberries, aren’t considered a highly allergenic food. But you may notice that they can cause a rash around your baby’s mouth. Acidic foods like berries, citrus fruits, and veggies, and tomatoes can cause irritation around the mouth, but this reaction shouldn’t be considered an allergy. Instead, it’s a reaction to the acids in these foods.
Still, if your baby suffers with eczema or has another food allergy, speak to your pediatrician before introducing berries.
Signs of a Food Allergy
When your baby has a food allergy, their body is reacting to proteins in the foods they’ve eaten. Reactions can range from mild to very severe. If your child is exhibiting signs of a food allergy, you might notice the following symptoms:
- hives or itchy skin rashes
- wheezing or trouble breathing
- pale skin
- loss of consciousness
In severe instances, multiple parts of the body are affected at the same time. This is known as anaphylaxis and is considered life-threatening. If your child is having trouble breathing after eating a new food, call 911 immediately.
There are other considerations when introducing strawberries to your baby for the first time. Conventionally grown strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list of the Environmental Working Group because of high concentrations of pesticides. You may prefer to buy organic berries to avoid this.
There’s also the potential for choking. Whole strawberries, or even those cut into large chunks, can be a choking hazard for babies and even toddlers. Instead of cut up pieces, try making pureed strawberries at home. Wash eight to 10 strawberries and remove stems. Place in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Strawberry, Blueberry, and Apple Puree
When your baby is ready for stage two foods, and you’ve introduced strawberries, blueberries, and apples one at a time with no adverse side effects, try this easy recipe from Only From Scratch.
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
Place fruit in a saucepan and cook two minutes over high heat. Reduce heat to low for another five minutes. Pour into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Freeze in single serving containers. This recipe makes four 2-ounce servings.
If the puree is too thick for your baby, thin it with a little water.
Strawberry and Banana Puree
After your baby has tried bananas with no issues, try this recipe from Mash Your Heart Out as well. Babies can eat it plain or stirred into rice cereal.
- 1 cup organic strawberries, hulled, with outer skin peeled to remove seeds
- 1 ripe banana
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Leftovers can be frozen. Again, use water to thin the puree if it’s too thick.
If you don’t peel the strawberries in your recipes to remove the seeds, don’t be alarmed if you notice seeds in your baby’s diaper. Some babies don’t digest berry seeds well. If you find them, it just means they moved right through your baby’s digestive tract.