Bananas | 6 mos+ |🥇🌈

Updated: May 19


Bananas are well known for their potassium content, but they also contain other key nutrients for baby’s growth and development. Plus, bananas provide three natural sources of sugar – sucrose, fructose, and glucose – and are more dense in calories than most other fruits, making them an extremely efficient and sustainable source of instant energy for your growing baby.


DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.


Contents

1.When can I give bananas to my baby?

2. Is banana a healthy food for babies?

3. Is banana a safe food for babies?

4. Is banana a choking hazard for babies?

5. Is banana a top food allergen for babies?

6. How to buy bananas for babies

6.1. Which bananas should I feed my baby?

6.2. When are bananas in season?

7. How to store bananas

8. How to prepare and offer bananas to babies

8.1. Purees

8.2. Finger food 6 to 9 months old

8.3. Finger food 9 to 12 months old

8.4. Finger food 12+ months old

9. Banana meal ideas for babies

10. Recipes


When can I give bananas to my baby?

Babies can eat bananas as soon as they are ready to start eating solid foods, which is usually when they are around 6 months of age and have met all the readiness signs for solids, unless otherwise advised by your baby's healthcare provider. This creamy fruit is not only delicious but easy to prepare, too. A great choice for baby’s first food!


Fun Fact: Today, the banana is considered the fourth most valuable food crop on the planet behind wheat, rice, and milk, and is often hailed as the perfect food because it is one of the world's most accessible, nutritious, convenient, affordable crops grown year-round.

Is banana a healthy food for babies?

Bananas are well known for their potassium content, but they also offer a healthy boost of vitamin B, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and magnesium. They contain three natural sources of sugar – sucrose, fructose, and glucose – and are more dense in calories than most other fruits, making them an extremely efficient and sustainable source of instant energy for your growing baby.


They are low in sodium and high in potassium, which helps to maintain the electrolytic balance of the body. The calcium and potassium in bananas also play a major role in a baby’s bone development.


Bananas are known to help protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. The reason for this seldom known and almost odd fact is that bananas contain “mucilaginous bulking substances,” They help the intestines with producing a mucousy lining and are very, very easy to digest.


In addition, ripe bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber that ‘keeps things moving’ through the digestive system and prevents constipation (do bear in mind, though, that unripe bananas often have the opposite effect and can cause constipation). Pectin is a prebiotic fiber, which feeds the “good” bacteria in your baby’s gut and helps build a healthy digestive system.


If your baby is recovering from a nasty bout of diarrhea, bananas can be useful in replacing the lost electrolytes.



Is banana a safe food for babies?

Bananas are not known for containing common food safety hazards. They may contain pesticides on the jacket. Although banana jackets are a wonderful source of fiber, they are usually not consumed by most people. As with any other fruit or vegetable, remember to wash the outside part (jacket or peel) well before offering it to your baby. See “How to prepare and offer” section for more information.



Is banana a choking hazard for babies?

Bananas are not listed on CDC's list of most common choking hazards for babies. The best way to avoid choking is by always being present when your baby eats. See section “How to prepare and offer” for more information on how to safely offer bananas to your baby.

​This workshop covers everything you need to know for dealing with gagging, reducing the risk of choking during mealtimes, and offering safe food sizes and shapes to your child.


Note: Keep in mind that any food can present a risk for choking if not prepared correctly. You are responsible for following age and food modification guidelines provided in order to reduce your baby’s risk for choking.

Is banana a top food allergen for babies?

Banana allergy is not common and rarely reported in infants. However, some babies may develop a reaction to bananas. There are two types of allergic reaction to bananas.

One is related to an allergy to latex – therefore you should discuss the introduction of bananas with your doctor if your child has a known latex allergy. You will probably be advised to avoid bananas altogether for now.


The second type of allergic reaction to bananas is related to pollen allergies and is known as oral allergy syndrome. The symptoms – which appear quickly – usually involve swelling or itching in the throat or mouth.


Bananas contain a protein called ‘chitinase.’ Your baby’s immune system may develop an allergic reaction after consuming this protein. Sometimes vasoactive amines also trigger a reaction. These are substances similar to histamines that occur in bananas naturally.


Whenever you give your baby bananas (or other foods) for the first time, offer it in small quantities, and watch for any signs of a reaction. If your baby seems to tolerate the food well and you see no adverse reaction, then continue to gradually increase portion sizes when you offer it again to your baby. If your baby shows any symptoms like diarrhea, skin hives, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling of mouth, weakness, or dizziness after the consumption of bananas, consult your healthcare provider. These symptoms can be a sign of banana allergy or intolerance.


Note: Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding introducing solid foods to your baby, and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.


How to buy banana for babies

For quick eating, choose bright yellow-colored bananas that are uniformly colored and have no blemish on the peel. These types of bananas are fully ripe. Fully ripe bananas are better for baby, as they contain more antioxidants than under-ripe fruit.

Avoid buying bananas that have brown patches on the surface. It shows the overripeness of the banana.


Don’t buy very green bananas unless you are willing to wait for them to ripen for a few days. You can, however, hasten the process by placing them in a paper or plastic bag – this ‘traps’ the ethylene gas that they naturally produce, making them ripen even faster


Which bananas should I feed my baby?

Now this is a valid question, considering the fact that there are so many different varieties of bananas around the world! A general rule is that the fruit that grows in your region is probably what will work best for your baby. There are different varieties of bananas that are out there that you might like to try. There are red ones and small yellow ones, and they can have wonderful flavors. Give them a try!


When are bananas in season?


Bananas are in season in summer in the US. However, you can buy imported bananas throughout the year from the grocery store.


In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. They also tend to cost less compared to out-of-season produce. Seasonal produce in your area will vary by growing conditions and weather.


How to store bananas


Store bananas on your countertop until ripe. There are also baskets that you can hang from your ceiling that can be used as banana hangers, as well as space savers for your countertop.

Bananas ripe slowly when they are in a bunch. The process will go faster if you wrap the bunch of bananas with a plastic or paper bag. You can also bind the stem of bananas with a plastic wrap. The stems are known to release ethylene, a gas which helps in the fruit's ripening.


Once your bananas are ripe, you can put them in the refrigerator, if you choose. The skins will likely go black, but this is purely cosmetic and won’t affect the quality of the fruit. Do not, however, refrigerate bananas before they are ripe. If you do, they will never ripen… even when you take them back out!


Do you have more ripe bananas than you can use immediately? Then just freeze them! Either peel them, cut them into pieces, and wrap them in a food-safe wrap – or freeze them in their skins. You can then use them for future baby food recipes, smoothies, or when baking!


Do not feed overripe red bananas, as they may have developed dangerous bacteria in them.



How prepare and offer bananas to babies

To safely prepare and offer a banana to your baby, first make sure the fruit is ripe, wash the banana, then peel it. You may choose to leave some part of the skin to aid baby’s grip. If you do so, make sure you expose some of the banana's flesh so baby can bring that part without the skin to their mouth (see pictures below). Most babies are pretty good differentiating skin from the fruit’s flesh and tend to spit the skin out. See suggestions below for how to offer bananas to your baby according to their age, development stage, and feeding skills.

The 12-Week First Foods Challenge cuts through the fluff and gives you exactly what you need to know to feed your baby in the first year. Feeding schedules, quick and easy food prep guidelines, demo videos, answers to the most common questions about starting solids, and recipes suitable for the whole family… all in one place!


Purees: Remove the jacket of the fruit. Mash the banana with a spoon or fork. Add some breast milk, formula, regular milk, or other baby-friendly liquid to make a puree. You may also choose to use a blender or food processor to puree the banana. Offer puree via spoon-feeding, or preload a spoon and place on baby’s tray or hand for self-feeding.



Don't get stuck on purees! It's completely ok to start with only pureed foods, if that feels more comfortable to you. However, keep in mind that purees are just a transitional phase into finger foods. It shouldn't last for more than a few days or a couple of weeks. Aim to start exposing your baby to lumpy and fingers foods no later than 8 months, unless otherwise advised by your baby's health care provider.


Finger food 6 to 9 months old: At this age babies are only able to grab food with their whole palm, so you can offer bananas as a finger food by giving baby the whole peeled bananas on their own. You can also cut the banana in half and leave some of the skin to aid baby’s grip (see pictures below).



Another option is to offer mashed banana on a preloaded spoon to encourage self-feeding. Place the spoon in baby’s hand, or on the tray, or hold it in front of them so they can grab it from your hands. You may also offer mashed banana in a suction bowl so your baby can scoop the fruit with their hands.


Try serving banana spears by splitting the fruit lengthwise. If you push your finger into one end, it will naturally split into three long pieces. (See the below pictures of this cool trick)


If your baby struggles to grasp pieces of banana as a finger food, then coat them in crushed cereal, nutritious wheat germ, chia or hemp seeds, shredded coconut, or baby cereal (or other edible baby-friendly flour or powder) to help them grip.



Finger food 9 to 12 months old: you can continue to offer bananas as recommended above. However, at this stage, babies begin to use their pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up small pieces of food, and some babies might not be as interested in stick-like shapes or big size pieces of food, so you can move into bite sizes of banana about the size of a garbanzo bean.



This is a great stage to start mixing bananas with other foods and making preparations, since your baby should have already been exposed to a few different foods and you have probably ruled out some possible food allergies or intolerance.



Finger food 12+ months old: continue to offer bananas as suggested above. Add banana into the preparations. Offer bite-sized pieces of banana with a fork so your baby can practice the use of utensils. They will love this hand-eye coordination activity! Now is also a great time to back up in size and offer the whole banana. Teach your toddler to peel it, too!


Note: Finger foods are small pieces of food that your baby can pick up and eat easily. Introducing finger foods early, as soon as starting solids, helps your baby get used to different food textures, improves coordination and encourages self-feeding. These are important feeding skills. Babies can enjoy soft finger foods before they have teeth. They can mash foods into smaller pieces using their gums.

⚠️Avoid putting finger foods or whole foods in your baby's mouth for them. Your baby must do this at their own pace and under their own control.⚠️

Banana meal ideas for babies:

  • Stir mashed banana into infant rice cereal (oat cereal is better than rice cereal).

  • Add mashed banana to baby’s oatmeal/porridge.

  • Use mashed banana as a quick and healthy sandwich filling.

  • Make a healthy, fruity treat by mixing mashed banana with whole milk, plain yogurt, pureed strawberries or other fruits, and topping with wheat germ, chia or hemp seeds.

  • Mix it with delicious unsweetened applesauce.


Recipes


 

As always, discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. This post and this site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. The materials and services provided by this site are for informational purposes only.