CARROT | 6 mos+ |🥇🌈 ⚠️
Updated: Mar 27
With a sweet taste carrots are typically one of the most well-accepted baby’s first foods. High in beta-carotene (which turns into vitamin A in the body), carrots help keep little eyes healthy!
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.
When can I give carrots to my baby?
Babies can eat carrots 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 root vegetable is rich in nitrates, which is why American Academy of Pediatrics advise against giving carrots to babies younger than three months.
You can give your baby a safe start to solid foods! This on-demand workshop will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to wean well.
Is carrot a healthy food for babies?
Carrots are rich in vitamins and several vital nutrients that benefit baby in so many ways. This nutritious vegetable contains carotene, an antioxidant which converts into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is essential for developing powerful vision. The antioxidant properties of carrots strengthen the immune system and help to protect against harmful chemicals that enter the body. Its antioxidant properties promote the production of healthy cells, which are very important during this rapid growth stage your baby is going through.
Carrots are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system as well, protecting the body from sickness. And they provide fiber to assist with digestion, which prevents constipation, making the bowel movement gentle and easier for babies. The roots also contain some vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, folate, and potassium.
Fun Fact: Carrots originated over five thousand years ago in present-day Afghanistan in Asia.
Is carrot a safe food for babies?
Between 1998 and 2017, at least 31 carrot-associated outbreaks were reported to CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS), causing 756 illnesses, 17 hospitalizations, and no deaths. Carrots are very beneficial vegetables, however, they can be contaminated with different bacteria and viruses during processing and storage, such as norovirus, Bacillus cereus, and Salmonella. These microorganisms can cause different diseases. And contamination might happen through the air, water, or cross-contamination during pre-harvesting or post-harvesting.
The best practice is to take some food safety steps before feeding the carrots to the infants. Follow the standard “clean, separate, cook, and chill” food safety practices when preparing carrots. Carrots should be refrigerated (40°F or below) and washed with clean, cold water before consuming. If carrots will be consumed with the skin (i.e. not peeled), they should be cleaned with a vegetable brush.
Is carrot a choking hazard for babies?
Raw carrots are listed as a common choking hazard by the CDC's and by five other international groups. Round and hard foods can be extremely dangerous for young children. Pieces of raw carrot or other raw hard vegetables can be easily lodged in the back of their throat, blocking airways. To minimize the risk, cook carrots until soft (ideally soft enough to smash with your finger but not so soft that it falls apart when your baby tries to pick it up), and avoid cutting raw or cooked carrots into coin-shape pieces. Sticks/strips about the length and width of an adult finger or bite sized square cuts about the size of a garbanzo bean are best. If offering raw carrots for kids under two shredding it would be the safest.
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 carrot a top food allergen for babies?
Carrot allergy is rarely found among infants. But remember that each person's body responds differently to foods consumed. Whenever you give your baby a food 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 the food again to your baby.
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 carrot for babies
Carrots, depending on the variety, can range in size from small to large ranges, and in color from shades of orange, yellow, purple, black, red, to white. And they are readily available fresh, frozen, or canned.
Here are some tips to help you select good quality carrots for your baby:
Avoid the processed carrots. Look for carrots that have bright colors, smooth skin, and minimal sprouting or hairs.
If you observe any stem-like growth on the top, then the carrot was harvested a long time ago, hence look for fresh ones.
Don’t go for carrots that have thicker ends. These carrots have a tough texture. Choose the carrots that are medium size having thin edges. The smother the vegetable is, the easier it will be for your baby to chew it and digest it.
Avoid the carrots that have black spots near the top, this shows that carrots are not fresh; and also the ones with puncture marks, as they are likely to have been caused by pests.
If using canned carrots, choose no salt added or low sodium, and rinse under warm or cool water before serving to baby. Studies have shown that rinsing and draining canned vegetables resulted in a 41% sodium reduction.
If using frozen carrots, choose the ones without added salt, sugar, or processed sauces.
Is it a good idea to use "baby carrots" for my baby?
These carrots are often cleansed with a harmful chemical, chlorine, during the processing to retain the color. They also have low nutritional value due to poor slicing methods of manufacturers, who chop away most of the nutrient-rich outer layers. Skip these carrots and opt for buying regular, unprocessed, full-grown carrots that you can clean, peel, and cut at home, especially if you’re offering it to your baby on a regular basis.
When are carrots in season?
Different types of carrots are available throughout the year, with peak seasons in the spring and winter.
★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 carrots
Use a paper towel or perforated plastic bag to wrap the carrots. Store the carrots in the vegetable section of your refrigerator to preserve its crispness, sweet flavor, and nutrients, and to avoid cross-contamination. Clean and wash the carrots with cold water before offering them to your baby. Fresh carrots can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
How to prepare and offer carrots to babies
To safely offer carrots to you baby, first wash the carrots thoroughly, rinse them, and peel the sprouts or hairs of carrots. You may choose to remove the peel or not. Since the peel is very thin, most babies can manage chewing it without a problem. However, the peel could give a little bit of a bitter taste, which some babies might not be a big fan of.
You may cut the carrots before or after cooking. Either way, just make sure to cut carrots into sizes and shapes that are appropriate for your baby’s age, development stage, and feeding skills (see suggestions below).
You can steam, boil, bake, or roast the carrots. Steaming is the best way to cook, as it softens the carrots and retains most nutrients. Whatever cooking method you choose, just make sure they are cooked to a soft consistency that passes the “squish test” (you can easily smash the food between your fingers).
Purees: cook carrots into a soft texture. Mash them by using a spoon or a fork to make the puree. Add a little water, breast milk, formula milk, or yogurt to get the texture desired. You can also use a blender or food processor, if you want to. Add any desired spices (avoid salt and sugar). Offer via spoon feeding or by preloading a spoon that your baby can bring to their mouth independently.
6+ months: mashed or puree on a baby spoon
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 stage the best way to offer to baby is in the form of cooked carrot sticks. Cut carrots lengthwise in fourths or more to reduce risk of choking. Make sure sticks are about the length and width of an adult finger.
Alternatively, you can offer mashed cooked carrots or carrot puree on a preloaded spoon that you place on your baby’s tray or hand to encourage self-feeding.
6+ months: cooked carrots sticks (about the length and width of an adult finger)
Avoid coin-shaped pieces, as they are a choking hazard
NOPE BETTER BEST
Another option is to grate raw carrots and add it to preparations. You can also offer grated raw carrots on its own, but since at this stage babies are still grabbing food with their whole palm, they might get frustrated trying to pick up the carrots. You can help them by offering grated raw carrots in a suction bowl so baby can scoop it with their hands, or even better, mix carrots with a little plain yogurt or sour cream, which will make it easier for baby to scoop with their hands.
6+ months: raw grated carrot
Finger food 9 to 12 months old: You can continue to offer cooked carrot sticks. 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 shapes anymore, so you can move into bite sizes about the size of a garbanzo bean. After cutting the carrots in julienne strips or quarters, then cut it into little cubes. Avoid coin-shaped, pieces as they are a choking hazard. Encourage the use of utensils by preloading a fork with diced cooked carrots so baby can bring to mouth on their own.
You can also continue to offer raw grated carrots like recommended above. At this point it will be easier for baby to pick up grated carrots, since they will have developed their pincer grasp movement.
9+ months: cooked carrot cut into bite-sized pieces (half-moon slices or cubes)
Avoid coin-shaped pieces, as they are a choking hazard
NOPE BETTER BEST
This is a great stage to start mixing carrots 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 carrots as suggested above. For more advanced eaters (around 18 months) you may start offering raw carrot sticks. Cut carrots lengthwise to reduce the risk of choking, including baby carrots. Start with julienne strips, and gradually increase to thicker pieces like quarters or baby carrots. Follow your toddler’s cues as you work towards the goal of helping them learn to chew and safely swallow challenging yet healthy foods such as raw carrots. Toddlers love to dip food, so try serving cooked or raw carrot sticks with different kinds of delicious dips.
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.⚠️
Carrot meal ideas for babies:
Combine carrot with a high-cal & iron-rich foods for a complete meal.
Make carrot fires by cutting into strips and baking it. Offer with a baby-friendly dip like mashed avocado or yogurt.
Stir cooked into grain dishes like pasta or quinoa.
Use carrot in baking - muffins, pancakes, waffles, cakes.
Combine shredded carrots with olive oil and apple cider vinegar for a easy salad.
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.
Library Symbol Legend
Here in our Food Library we use some symbols or emojis to make it easier for you to find what you need. Listed below are the symbols we use and what they mean.
🔥 - this is a high-calorie food. You should include a high-calorie food at each meal.
💪 - this is an iron-rich food. You should include an iron-rich food at each meal.
🌈 - this is a colorful food. You should include a fruit and/or a vegetable at each meal.
🥇 - this food is a great choice for baby's first food.
🌱 - this food is a great choice for plant-based babies.
💩 - this is a food that helps prevent or treat constipation.
🥜 - this food contains peanuts, a common food allergen.
🍳 - this food contains egg, a common food allergen.
🐄 - this food contains cow's milk, a common food allergen.
🌾 - this food contains wheat, a common food allergen.
✳️ - this food contains soy, a common food allergen.
💮 - this food contains sesame seed, a common food allergen.
🌰 - this food contains tree nuts, a common food allergen.
🐠 - this food contains fish, a common food allergen.
🍤 - this food contains shellfish, a common food allergen.
⚠️ - this food is a common choking hazard. Make sure to follow age and preparation guidelines.
★ - tips, tricks, and hacks.
Choking Hazards. (2021, September 2). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/choking-hazards.html
Choking Prevention | CS Mott Children’s Hospital | Michigan Medicine. (n.d.). C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/choking-prevention
Steps to Safe and Healthy Fruits & Vegetables. (2022, January 20). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/steps-healthy-fruits-veggies.html
Szalay, J., Bryner, J., & Dobrijevic, D. (2021, December 14). Bananas: Health benefits, risks & nutrition facts. Livescience.Com. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.livescience.com/45005-banana-nutrition-facts.html
Yellow Bananas. (n.d.). Specialty Produce. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/bananas/bananas_919.php