Pineapple, the spiky, delicious tropical fruit is also loaded with nutrients. Here we answer common doubts about the query: can I give my baby pineapple?
Introducing your baby to a variety of fruits is the perfect way to ensure that they continue to eat them as they grow. All you need to do is to ensure that you introduce each fruit individually, at the right age and follow the 3-day rule. We’ve already talked about introducing banana, oranges, avocado, figs, muskmelon, chikoo and pomegranate. Today we’re going to answer another fruity question from many parents – Can I give my baby pineapple?
The pineapple is truly a fascinating fruit. A single pineapple is actually a cluster of hundreds of flowers of the pineapple plant which produce fruitlets that merge together around the fruit’s core. Pineapples take about 18 to 20 months to get ready for harvest, and once harvested, they stop ripening. A pineapple plant yields only a single fruit.
These spiky fruits were first found by the European explorers in America, they called them “pineapples” as they resembled pine cones. Hawaii produces about one third of all pineapples in the world. Besides containing loads of nutrients, pineapples also have an enzyme called bromelain which can breakdown protein. This makes pineapples useful to tenderize meat. Pineapples are also one of the main ingredients in the popular drink called Pina Colada.
Nutritional Benefits of Pineapple
- Pineapple has high levels of the enzyme bromelain, which is anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant
- Bromelain also helps to reduce excessive coagulation of the blood
- These fruits are low in calories and has dietary fiber which aids digestion
- Fiber content of pineapple can help in weight maintenance
- Eating pineapples can affect the growth of tumor cells and may prevent cancer
- The fruit contains manganese, which is essential in developing strong bones and connective tissue. This helps in strengthening of bones
- Pineapple is high in antioxidants and vitamin C which helps improve eyesight.
- Vitamin C in pineapple helps to build the immune system. It also helps to reduce mucus in the throat and nose during cold
- The vitamin C and beta carotene in pineapple helps to maintain skin health
- Vitamin B of pineapples boost the brain to function better and thus works good on stress
- Astringent agents present in pineapples help to tighten up gum tissues and help in fixing the loosening of teeth. It also prevents oral cancer
- Eating Pineapple can help to get relief from nausea
Can I give my Baby Pineapple?
The short answer is that yes, you can give your baby pineapple after 6 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revised its solid food guidelines in 2012, which now state that babies older than 6 months can now enjoy most foods without restriction. However, if the baby has a sensitive digestive system or a family history of allergies, it’s recommended to wait till the age of one.
Parents should be careful while giving citrus and other acidic fruits to babies. Citric acid sometimes irritates the baby’s stomach, especially if they have reflux. Always introduce such foods gradually, starting with a small quantity and increasing it slowly.
Some babies may experience a tingling sensation in their throats or an excessive swelling of the lips and instigate rashes around the mouth. It can also cause severe diaper rash, gas or bloating. Call your baby’s pediatrician if you notice any of these allergic symptoms after feeding pineapple. Get immediate medical attention if baby has difficulty in breathing or has developed hives. In such cases, you should wait several months before offering pineapple again and get the pediatrician’s green signal first.
Choosing and Preparing Pineapple for Babies
When buying, choose yellow fruits with a fresh smell (sniff the stem). Cutting pineapples can be a little difficult, so use a sharp knife and follow these steps:
- Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple with a knife.
- Hold the pineapple vertically and cut from top to down, removing the peel. Repeat on all sides.
- Any remaining small brown ‘eyes’ can be removed with a potato peeler.
- If you want, you can remove the thick core in the center, either with a knife or a pineapple corer.
It’s always better to feed the baby ripe, fresh and juicy pineapples as they have the most nutrients at this stage. Fully ripe pineapples deteriorate quickly, so it has to be fed within two days if it’s stored at room temperature and within about a week if it’s refrigerated. Never feed the baby unripe pineapples – they can be toxic and can lead to vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.
To begin with, a few tablespoons of pineapple per serving is more than enough for babies. If you find it difficult to mash the pineapple, you can steam or stew it. The fibrous wedges or chunks of pineapple can cause a choking hazard, so be careful when feeding it to toddlers. Pineapples work well in both sweet and savory dishes, and can be combined with other ingredients. Fruits like mango, banana, oranges, grapefruits and passion fruit go well with pineapple.
Pineapple Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
1. Basic Pineapple Puree from Teeny Tiny Foodie
3. Spiced Pineapple Mango Puree from Parent Guide
4. Baked Pineapple from Baby Led Weaning Cookbook
7. Pineapple Banana Smoothie from Weelicious
8. Strawberry Pineapple Applesauce from Dandy Baby Food
9. Pineapple Watermelon Popsicle from Parent Guide
10. Fresh Pineapple Juice from G K Food Diary
12. Pineapple Pikelets from Kidgredients (Use whole wheat flour)