Fruit Weaning: How Can I Best Manage It?

Do you want to give weaning fruit but don’t know how to handle it?

In this article, we discuss what fruit to give at the beginning of weaning, when to start giving fruit to infants, why not to give fruit at four months, how to prepare it, how to wash it, and whether homogenized or fresh fruit is better.

What fruit to give when we start weaning?

As you will see in this article, weaning can begin with fruit, although this choice is certainly not a must.

Which fruit to start with is indifferent, apple, pear, banana, peach, grape etc, but also potentially more allergic ones such as strawberries and kiwi.

It has been shown that approaching these foods can provide benefits, such as helping the immune system of those who eat them to tolerate them better.

When to start giving fruit to infants?

The beginning of weaning, or better to say complementary feeding, has definite signs that it can be started:

  • being able to maintain an upright position (sitting and head upright);
  • no longer have the extrusion reflex;
  • being interested in food (through play and positioning it toward the mouth for the first taste).

In these essential indications, there is no food to be preferred over others.

How to prepare fruit weaning for infants?

Fruit can be given without a definite pattern, and therefore, once weaning is under way, it can be given in any type and size, whether crushed, in cream form, or in pieces.

It should always be kept in mind that the cuts should represent a safe form, with no weight to stick to.

Here’s a table outlining safe cuts for some common fruits during weaning:

FruitSafe CutNotes
BananaMashedEnsure it’s ripe and soft
AvocadoMashedHigh in healthy fats
MangoSoft CubesRemove skin and pit
PapayaSoft CubesRemove skin and seeds
PearSoft CubesRemove skin and seeds
AppleSoft Cubes or SteamedRemove skin and seeds
PeachSoft CubesRemove skin and pit
PlumSoft CubesRemove skin and pit
KiwiMashed or Soft CubesRemove skin
Melon (e.g. cantaloupe, honeydew)Soft CubesRemove seeds and rind
WatermelonSoft CubesRemove seeds and rind
GrapesQuartered or HalvedEnsure seeds are removed
BlueberriesMashed or HalvedSmall size may pose choking hazard
StrawberriesQuartered or MashedRemove stems and halve or quarter
RaspberriesMashed or HalvedSmall size may pose choking hazard
PineappleDicedRemove skin and core

Remember to always supervise your baby while they’re eating, especially when they’re trying new foods or learning to eat solid foods.

Why not give fruit at 4 months?

Until these conditions exist, it would not make sense to start with weaning, even with foods that, historically, have been preferred and recommended over others, just like fruit.

It is often recommended right around the fourth to fifth month to start with a few bites of grated fruit (first apple and then pear, preferably), but there is no scientific data so far to support that this represents the physiological beginning of weaning.

Usually the signs, listed before, are visible around the sixth to eighth month, but each child, let us remember, has its own times and there is no need to worry if he or she does not develop interest beyond the indicated range.

Homogenized fruit or fresh fruit?

Fruits represent an important food group in our nutrition education because of their source of water, fiber and sugars, complementing other nutrients such as protein.

Often the beginning of weaning is precisely marked with some fruit, preferably grated or in homogenized form.

To date we have no confirmation from the scientific literature that fruit is the first food to be offered and all others to follow. Many myths should be debunked, such as the one about mushrooms in weaning.

fruit weaning

What fruit not to give to children?

It would be desirable to respect the seasonality with which we offer fruit to our little ones, as this choice can have a great impact at the environmental level.

Fresh preparations would also be preferable, as opposed to those ready-made and packaged by large retailers.

This implies an advantage in the range of flavors we offer to the child, at a stage of great discovery, at the expense of others that prove, in terms of taste, more similar to each other.

How to wash fruit in weaning?

Fruit, before being offered to the child, should be washed under running water; this represents the most effective method of cleaning it.

Of course, if it is prepared with other utensils, it should be remembered that the latter should be clean and not from other preparations (whether cooked or raw), as the water and sugars in the fruit could be a vehicle for bacterial growth and mold development.

To recap: fruit can be washed with running, potable water, while home preparations should be well washed before cutting, prepared on well-cleaned countertops, and placed in previously sanitized and sterilized jars.

FAQ

  1. What fruit is suitable for starting weaning?

    You can start weaning with a variety of fruits, such as apple, pear, banana, peach, grape, strawberry, and kiwi. There is no specific choice that is better than another.

  2. When is the right time to start giving fruit to infants?

    You can start weaning when your baby shows signs of interest in food, such as holding an upright position and interest in food through play and positioning toward the mouth.

  3. How do I prepare fruit for weaning infants?

    Fruit can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as mashed, creamed, or soft pieces. Just make sure the cuts are safe and without any hard parts or seeds.

  4. Why not give babies fruit at 4 months?

    It makes no sense to start weaning until the baby shows signs of interest in food and can maintain an upright position. This generally occurs around 6 to 8 months.

SOURCES

Borowitz SM. First Bites-Why, When, and What Solid Foods to Feed Infants. Front Pediatr. 2021 Mar 26;9:654171. doi: 10.3389/fped.2021.654171. PMID: 33842413; PMCID: PMC8032951.

About the Author

Simona Scagli - Nutritionist