Apples are commonly served the wrong way to babies - they are a choking hazard! Here is how to safely serve apples using a baby led weaning approach.
Apples are one of the most common fruits for kids here in the US - mostly because they are affordable, recognizable, and don't spoil too quickly. Apples are great to introduce at an early age - but they must be served the right way to prevent choking. Read on for safe ways to serve your BLW baby apples!
Can Babies Have Apples?
Yes, BUT no raw apples please! Pieces of raw apple are one of the leading choking risks for babies and toddlers. Apples can be served to babies cooked to a soft texture, or in other safe ways - keep reading for specific examples.
Read More: Safety Tips for Baby Led Weaning
Health Benefits of Apples for Babies
Apples are full of water and fiber, which is great for babies' digestion. They contain the soluble fiber pectin, which could help improve the gut health of your little one.
Apples are also a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
How To Serve Apples for Baby Led Weaning
In order for apples to be safe for baby, they must be cooked soft! (Read more about appropriate texture for baby led weaning.) Here are a few safe ways to serve apples for baby led weaning:
1. Sliced and Steamed (6 months)
Peel, slice and steam apples in a steamer basket until they are soft enough that they can be smashed easily between your fingers, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Sliced and Sautéd (6 months)
Peel and slice apples and sauté them in a bit of butter or oil until soft enough to smash, about 5-8 minutes, adding a sprinkle of water if needed. Try adding cinnamon for more flavor! (Grab the full recipe for my cinnamon sautéd apples here.)
3. Cooked and Cut Into Pieces (9-12 months)
Once baby has started developing the pincer grasp (around 9 months), you can serve apple in small bite-sized pieces, but it still needs to be cooked soft.
4. Cooked and Mashed or Pureed (or Applesauce)
Steam, sauté, or boil apples until soft and mash or puree. You can give baby mashed or pureed apple on a pre-loaded soft spoon, or in a bowl and let them get messy!
This is the one way raw apple can be served to babies. Finely grate apple with a box grater.
BLW Friendly Apple Recipes
- Apple Oat Pancakes for Baby and Toddler (pictured)
- Cinnamon Sautéd Apples for Babies
- Baby and Toddler Carrot Apple Breakfast Cookies
- Sweet Potato Apple Fritters by Kidgredients
- Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Bites by Feeding Tiny Bellies (omit the maple syrup)
- Baked Apples by Creative Nourish
Yes. Raw pieces of apple are a top choking hazard for babies and toddlers. It is important for apples to be served in a safe way for babies, regardless of feeding method.
No, apples are not a common allergen. Rarely, they may cause a minor skin reaction where the raw apple comes into contact with the skin (called oral allergy syndrome).
If you feel comfortable at 12-14 months, you can start offering raw apple in the form of super-thin matchsticks. Be sure to monitor how your child handles them.
Around 18-24 months, you can give your child whole raw apple to try. This is safer than apple slices since your child can use his teeth to scrape off smaller bites than if he were to bite into thick slices. Always supervise your child with any food and make sure he is sitting down while eating. Intervene as needed if your child struggles with raw apple.
Slices of apples can be offered in accordance with your child's eating skills, but it may be around 3-4 years of age before slices of apple are appropriate.
Fruit juice of any kind should not be given to babies under 12 months.