Wondering if it’s OK to give your baby watermelon? Once your they’ve started solid foods, usually between four and six months of age, they will be eager to try more new tastes and textures. It is okay to move away from the standard fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, carrots and peas, and move on to newer foods.
- Acidity of watermelon may give your baby a rash
- A ripe melon should sound ‘hollow’ when tapped
Can I Give My Baby Watermelon? Answer: At 8-10 Months
Watermelons are a sweet fruit that can be introduced to your baby between eight and ten months of age. A watermelon’s flesh is usually red but can be orange, yellow or even white. Watermelons are full of beta carotene, and their soothing and watery texture will sure to be enjoyed by your little one. A watermelon’s rinds, which most people avoid because they don’t taste very good, are easy to recognize because the color is so different from the fleshy part of the fruit. Its color is light green, almost white. The outside of a watermelon is usually a dark green but can vary.
How to Introduce Watermelon
When introducing watermelon to your child, be sure to either mash the watermelon or cut into very small pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
Allergic Reactions To Watermelon
Be aware that some babies may experience rashes from watermelons. This is most likely due to the acidity in the watermelon and not to a food allergy; however, if your child does show a rash, it is best to consult their physician.
Though they do not pose high allergy risks, it is best to wait three days after feeding your child a “new” food, like watermelon. If you plan on introducing watermelon to your child by pairing it with another food, make sure you pair it with something your child has already consumed. This way, if an allergic reaction does occur, you will know that the watermelon was the culprit. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose or light headedness.
Consult your pediatrician about foods given to your baby if there is a reaction; generalities may not apply to all infants.
How to Select It
When selecting a watermelon to purchase, give the melon a good thump with your fingers and choose one that sounds hollow. Also be sure it has a fresh melon scent. Inspect the watermelon for cuts, bruises and depressions, which may indicate rotting or over-ripeness.
Storing A Watermelon
At home, watermelons should be stored somewhere dry and at room temperature until you cut them. Once you have cut your watermelon, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Always be sure to remove any seeds from the watermelon before feeding it to your baby, as the tiny black or brown objects can be a choking hazard.
If your watermelon needs to ripen a little more store it out on the counter.
Good News About Melons
According to the Environmental Working group (EWG) melons are less likely to be contaminated with harmful pesticides.
How to Serve It
If you plan on serving watermelon to you baby as a finger food, be sure your child is ready for it. Your baby will need to have mastered sitting up, and be able to chew up or gum up their food. They’ll also have to have good grasping ability, being able to pick up finger foods with the pincer grip using the thumb and forefinger. Children usually do not master this skill until around nine to twelve months of age. Always make sure you are sitting close to your child while her or she eats in case they do start to choke.
If you are worried about your child choking on watermelon even after you have mashed it or cut it into small pieces, you can always place it into a pacifier-like feeder. This feeder has a net that you place fruits into, and your baby can suck on it without the risk of swallowing or choking. These feeders can be found in most baby stores or big box stores.
- Try adding it to yogurt
- When pureed if there is too much liquid add a cereal or other food to thicken it
- Freeze chunks of it to make a soothing natural teether
- Combine with other fruits such as banana and cantaloupe in a fruit salad
Nutritional Value of Watermelon
Watermelons are a very healthy choice for your child. They contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently determined that watermelon contains more of the health-promoting compound lycopene, per serving, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.
Watermelons contain lycopene (it’s what gives the melon its red color) which is an antioxidant linked to reducing the risk of age related diseases. Watermelon is also rich in other carotenoids such as lycopene, phytofluene, phytoene, beta-carotene, lutein, and neurosporene. They may also help to prevent cardio vascular disease. Beta- carotene aids vision and healthy eye development.
Watermelon seeds are an excellent source of protein and oil. A watermelon seed is broken down into approximately 50% oil, 40% protein and 10% fiber. A watermelon seed is also rich in nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous and zinc.
When it comes time to feed your baby solid foods, remember that watermelon is a great choice. Its soothing and watery taste is perfect for hot days or when your child is teething. Be sure to mash it up or cut it into small pieces so your child does not choke.
Also remember that some babies may get a rash after eating watermelon due to its acidity, so be sure to consult your child’s physician if this occurs. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about introducing watermelon to your child, it is recommended to consult his or her physician to discuss.
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