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When your baby is ready to start eating solid foods, fresh strawberries are the perfect first food! Learn how to cut strawberries for baby led weaning to offer these delicious berries the right way.
How to Prepare strawberries for baby
For many parents, the whole goal behind baby-led weaning is to offer our babies healthy foods in a developmentally appropriate way. We want them to learn lifelong habits that will keep them healthy throughout their lives!
Strawberries are a delicious fruit that supports your baby’s health. Plus, they’re delicious, nutritious, and easy to prep!
Before you offer your baby whole strawberries, though, take a little time to learn exactly how to cut strawberries for babies so your little ones can enjoy them safely.
Why You Need to Know How to Cut Strawberries for Baby
- Healthy first food: Strawberries are one of the most nutritious fruits, full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. They’re the perfect addition to your baby’s diet!
- Reduce choking hazard: To keep your baby safe, it’s best to incorporate strawberries the right way. The way you cut or serve them should change depending on your feeding method and your baby’s development.
- Support baby-led weaning: There is a time and place for pureed baby food, but properly serving these bright red berries will help your baby become an independent eater!
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits and fortunately, these berries are also incredibly nutritious. They are loaded with important nutrients, fatty acids, and bioactive compounds and are a great addition to your baby’s diet.
- Rich in vitamins & antioxidants, like Vitamin C
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce oxidative stress & slow aging
- Support heart health
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- May prevent obesity
- Good source of fiber
How common are strawberry allergies?
Especially these days, we’re so worried about our kids developing allergic reactions and food allergies! Fortunately, strawberries are not a common allergen, so it’s unlikely that your baby will have an allergic reaction. One study indicated that about 3-4 percent of two-year-olds may have a strawberry allergy.
Some of these babies will experience oral allergy syndrome when the proteins from the strawberries cause swelling or itching in or around the mouth.
If your baby is allergic to other fruits related to strawberries, like blackberries, plums, almonds, or other plants in the Rosaceaefamily, then there’s a good chance they are sensitive to strawberries, too.
Since there is so much fibre in strawberries, it can be helpful to offer a small amount at first to avoid upsetting your baby’s stomach.
How to Cut Strawberries for Baby Led Weaning
The proper way to cut strawberries depends on your baby’s age and their fine motor skills. The main goal is to prevent choking so your baby can confidently try and enjoy new foods.
Under 6 Months
If your baby is displaying signs of readiness to start on solids before the age of 6 months (some are ready as early as 4 months), but are not ready to hold solid foods on their own, you can blend your fresh strawberries into a smooth strawberry puree and serve it like a regular baby food puree. This is a great way to serve strawberries for the first time.
6 Months of Age
Most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods starting at 6 months old. At this point, your baby doesn’t have a ton of fine motor skills to help them hold and eat solid foods. Babies at this age should be served a whole large strawberry that they can hold with a palmar grasp.
- Choose large strawberries that are too big to fit into your little one’s mouth without taking bites. If it’s too small, it can be a choking hazard.
- Remove the green leaves and stem from the top of the berry and offer a large, soft strawberry exactly as is.
Your baby should instinctively grip the berry with their whole palm and take bites. Be sure to choose fully ripe berries that will break apart with minimal effort. Avoid underripe or firm strawberries.
9 Months Old
Once your baby has some experience feeding themselves, you’ll likely notice them developing a pincer grasp, which is when they use their index finger and thumb to start grabbing food. This can happen at different age ranges, so it’s more important to watch for this behavior than to focus on the specific age.
At this point, serve ripe strawberries by slicing them into thin slices. Use a paring knife to quickly remove the leaves and slice the berry into small slices. This cut is a great way to help your child practice picking up items and serving themselves.
Be sure to monitor them while they are eating to minimize the risk of choking.
12 Months Old
For older babies, you can go back to serving whole, raw strawberries or continue offering sliced or quartered strawberries. It’s best to stick with larger berries when possible and make sure they are slightly soft.
Remove the green tops to make the strawberry pieces easier to eat.
18-24+ Months Old
At this point, you can offer your baby the whole strawberry with the green stem and all. They will eventually be able to remove the green leaves themselves or hold the berry from the top.
Babies can begin eating strawberries as soon as they are ready for solid foods, which is usually around 6 months old. There are many different ways to serve strawberries, depending on your baby’s motor development.
The earliest preparation is usually by serving strawberries blended in the food processor to make a strawberry puree. After that, you can cut the strawberries into different shapes and sizes depending on the type of grasp your baby has developed.
The answer depends on your baby’s age! At approximately 6 months old, you should offer your baby large, whole strawberries without the green tops. These will be easier for them to hold in their hands.
Around 9 months old, offer your baby thin slices of strawberry. They’ll be able to gum the strawberries pieces to break them down. Around a year, you can either go back to offering whole berries or quarter them. It’s always a good idea to monitor your babies while they’re eating strawberries to avoid a choking hazard.
Nine-month-old babies should be served strawberries sliced into thin slices. They’ll be able to pick them up with their pincer grasp, and they can break the tender berries down with their gums.
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