Yes, babies can have pineapple! Pineapples offers babies a variety of health benefits and introduces them to exciting new flavors and textures. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods around 6 months of age.
Introducing solid foods to your little one is exciting and overwhelming as a parent. The joy that comes from watching your little one discover all the new flavors and textures this world offers is often overshadowed by parental anxiety.
The outdated “forbidden food” lists, allergy concerns, and choking hazards associated with solid foods can make anyone’s head spin.
Feeding your baby pineapple is no exception. Before you add pineapple to your baby’s diet, there are some safety concerns you should be aware of and serving guidelines you should follow.
When Should I Introduce Pineapple?
As long as babies reach “mealtime milestones” (sitting, holding head up, weighing double their birth weight, and opening their mouth), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests introducing solid foods at six months.
Interestingly enough, introduce solid foods before six months of age can lead to higher weight gain through early childhood.
If your child has shown signs of acid reflux, I would suggest being a little cautious about the amount of pineapple your little one tries for the first time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents introduce meat and veggies into their baby’s diet before fruit, as babies usually prefer fruit’s sweetness.
For this reason, try waiting until your little one has adjusted to a well-balanced, solid diet before introducing pineapple.
Finding a Good Pineapple
A good pineapple does not mean it needs to be organic. Regular pineapples are just fine. The pineapple’s thick skin protects pesticides from penetrating the edible part. It is most important to purchase organic when you eat the fruit’s skin.
Make sure the pineapple is ripe. Pineapples tend to be very tough when they are not quite ripe. Unripe pineapple is also toxic and can cause unpleasant digestion issues.
To check the pineapple’s ripeness, smell the stem. If the stem smells sweet, the pineapple should be soft inside. When you pick up the pineapple, it should also feel heavy for its size.
If these tricks fail you, and the pineapple is not ripe, you can steam the pineapple to soften it up.
Only Use the Flesh
Despite its intimidating appearance, pineapple is easy to prepare. The only part of the pineapple you want to feed your baby is the tender pineapple flesh.
To get to the soft layers, lay the pineapple down horizontally to cut off the crown and the stem. Then stand the fruit up vertically.
Remove the poky skin by sliding your knife just under the skin, slicing from the top of the fruit to the bottom.
Keep the pineapple standing tall, and cut straight down to remove the softer flesh from the pineapple’s harder inner core.
Keep it Fresh
Whole uncut pineapples can stay fresh at room temperature for up to seven days. You can also store the entire uncut pineapple in the refrigerator, if the weather is warm, to keep it fresh. Once cut, always store leftover pineapple in the fridge.
Canned Pineapple and Pineapple Juice
We know fresh fruit is better than canned. Not only do canned fruits often contain additives, but fruits also lose some of their nutritional value in the canning process.
Fresh pineapples should always be your first choice because they will provide more health benefits for your little one.
If you decide to use canned pineapple, make sure the fruit is soaked in natural pineapple juices or water and not a syrup.
Also, make sure you check the expiration date and the label for any funky ingredients before purchasing.
Only give pineapple juice in small quantities. Because fruit juice is high in sugar, it should be given in limited amounts to children under two.
In addition to its lack of nutritional benefits, pineapple juice will not expose your little one to the fruit’s unique texture.
How Should I Serve It?
Consider Serving Size
One tablespoon of pineapple per meal is a good amount to begin with. You can increase the amount to 3-4 tablespoons as they get older and become accustomed to the fruit.
In a Mash (6-9 months)
Pineapple is very fibrous. Instead of feeding it to your little one wedges or chunks of pineapple, which can pose a choking hazard, mash it up.
Mix the mashed pineapple with banana, avocado, chicken, or sweet potato to reduce the pineapple’s sourness and bring out its sweet undertones.
You can also add a spice like cinnamon and cayenne pepper to give the mash a deeper flavor.
In a Puree (6-9 months)
Pineapple also makes a great puree when blended with banana, mango, pears, or sweet potato in the food processor.
If you feel adventurous, try combining pineapple, banana, and sprigs of fresh mint into a puree. You can also swap out the mint with other fresh herbs like cilantro.
Serve the puree to your little one on top of greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, or quinoa.
Fun With Finger Foods (9+ months)
Once your child is nine months old or older, they have most likely expanded their horizons beyond purees and mashes.
Have a little fun making different shapes and see how your little one handles trying to feed themselves!
One New Thing at a Time
Pineapple, like any new solid food, should be introduced in small amounts separate from other solid food that is new to their diet.
If you just introduced your child to sweet potatoes, for example, wait three days before introducing pineapple.
If you mix pineapple with other foods, make sure the other ingredients have been in your baby’s diet for three days.
According to the AAP, you should introduce one new food at a time because it makes allergic reactions easier to monitor and pinpoint.
What Should I Watch For?
Acidic fruits, like pineapple, are a little harsher on a baby’s stomach than other foods. Some digestive systems can handle the extra acid, while other children’s digestive systems struggle to neutralize it.
After introducing a small bit of pineapple into your baby’s diet, you should make sure that they do not develop a diaper rash or become fussy (which could be a sign of stomach discomfort).
Pineapple is not a common allergen, but these symptoms may signal minor allergic reactions to pineapple.
- Gas or bloating
- A rash (anywhere on the body, although a diaper or face rash is common)
If you notice signs of severe allergic reactions such as hives or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.
Reach out to your baby’s pediatrician for advice if you notice any symptoms of food sensitivities or allergies listed above.
The pediatrician will also be able to suggest whether you should reintroduce the food at a later date based on the specifics of your baby’s reaction.
Why Should I Introduce It?
Eating pineapples will provide several health benefits for your little one. Pineapples contain high amounts of essential nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and trace amounts of all B vitamins.
What if My Child Doesn’t Like Pineapple?
If your child refuses to eat pineapple or shows signs of distaste when eating it, don’t give up. Try introducing pineapple again some other time.
There are various foods, spices, and herbs that pair well with pineapple, so there are plenty of combinations you can try.
Even though no parent wants to hear this, it may take your child several times to get used to new textures and flavors.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you may need to expose your baby to a new food 20 times or more before they will try it.
Try Other Fruits
Fresh pineapples are just one option. Other fresh fruits offer health benefits very similar to the ones found in pineapples.
The important thing is that you provide your child with a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables while exposing them to a wide variety of textures and flavors.
Babies at least six months of age or older can have pineapple. Make sure you follow the suggested guidelines for introducing and integrating pineapple into your baby’s diet.
As with other solid foods, there are particular safety concerns associated with babies eating pineapple.
If your child has other food allergies, sensitivities, or prone to acid reflux, waiting to introduce pineapple until 12 months of age is best.
In the absence of other concerns, some still suggest waiting until babies are 12 months of age before introducing acidic fruits, like pineapple.