Pineapple is known as a fun tropical fruit. While it is mildly acidic, it’s still considered safe for your baby to begin eating by six months old. Keep in mind that the acidity may cause diaper rashes, and if this happens you can wait to try pineapple again when your baby is older.
Introducing Your Baby to Pineapple
At six months old, your baby is beginning to try mostly pureed foods as they adjust to eating with a spoon. Pineapple is a fun fruit since it has a distinct flavor and a thick texture when pureed.
If you don’t want to purchase a whole pineapple, you can start out offering the fruit from a can. Just be sure to read the label and check for added sugar. Doctors recommend against added sugar until your toddler is at least two years old.
If your baby doesn’t like pineapple at first, continue offering it on a regular basis. It can take a few times of offering a new food before your baby begins liking it.
Nutritional Benefits of Pineapple for Your Baby
Similar to citrus fruits, pineapple is packed with vitamin C. Not only is vitamin C good for your baby’s immune health, but it also helps their body absorb iron from other foods. Manganese, another prominent nutrient in pineapple, helps promote growth and a healthy metabolism. Pineapple also contains plenty of antioxidants that may help fight against chronic diseases.
How to Prepare Pineapple for Your Baby
Start out by offering purees to your baby. If they're teething, cut large slices of pineapple to “chew” on for relief from teething pain. When your baby is ready to bite the fruit, cut it into pieces of size of your fingertip or into thin strips they can hold. This helps to prevent choking as your baby navigates new food sizes and textures.
If pineapple is too acidic for your baby at first, try mixing it with other fruits or into yogurt to offset the acidity.
You may be tempted to offer your baby pineapple juice, but be sure to check nutrition labels for added sugar. You shouldn't give juice to babies under 12 months, but if your baby is old enough, make sure to only give them 100% fruit juice.
Tips for Introducing New Foods to Your Baby
Before offering solid food for the first time, ask these questions:
- Can my baby hold their head up independently? This is an important developmental milestone for eating solid food.
- Is my baby interested in eating? Your baby may watch you eat with interest, or even try to grab your food and taste it. When you offer your baby a spoon, they should open their mouth to eat.
- Can my baby move food to their throat? If you offer food with a spoon, your baby may push it out with their tongue first. This is called the tongue-thrust reflex. With time your baby will learn to use their tongue to push the food to the back of their mouth and swallow.
- Is my baby big enough? Your baby should be double their birth weight and at least 13 pounds before beginning solid foods.
Offer a variety. As your baby starts to eat solid foods, they need variety in their diet. This helps ensure your baby is receiving all of the nutrients they need and also helps expand their palate for new tastes.
Normalize new foods. Once you introduce a new food to your baby and you've confirmed they aren't allergic to it, try to offer it to them again at least twice a week. Not only does this familiarize your baby with new foods, but it can also prevent food allergies. Additionally, when your baby is learning to eat, they watch you. Make sure you offer them the same foods the rest of the family is eating for encouragement.
Consider Allergens. By the time your baby is 12 months old, they should be introduced to each of the common allergen foods:
- Cooked egg
- Creamy peanut butter
- Cow’s milk (dairy)
- Tree nuts (such as cashew or almond paste)
- Fish and other seafood
By introducing these foods early in life, you can reduce your baby’s chance of developing food allergies. Only introduce one new food at a time, and wait at least three days before introducing another so you can monitor your baby’s response to the food in case of an allergic reaction.
If you notice your baby having an allergic reaction, stop feeding them that food immediately. If the reaction is characterized by swollen lips, eyes, or face; hives; or vomiting, call their pediatrician. If you suspect anaphylaxis, characterized by swelling of the tongue or difficulty breathing, call an ambulance immediately.