When can babies eat avocado?
Avocado can be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Ripe avocados are soft and loaded with nutrients, making them a wonderful first food.
Background and origins of avocado
Avocado originates in Mesoamerica, where it was prepared and eaten by the Aztecs in a variety of forms, including the now-world-famous guacamole (originally called ahuaca-mulli). Colonizers brought the crop back to Europe with them, and it has since spread across the globe. While the avocado is most often thought of in relation to savory Mexican and other Central American dishes, other cultures have adapted the strange-looking fruit to different uses. These include the Indonesian drink called jus alpukat, a cold blend of avocado and coffee, and a simple dessert that marries avocado, ice, and condensed milk (or milk and sugar) found throughout Asia, from the Philippines to Vietnam.
★Tip: That beautiful bright green avocado flesh is notorious for turning brown after being exposed to the air. While not harmful, you can prevent this by adding something acidic (such as lime or lemon juice) or by wrapping the avocado in a plastic film.
Is avocado healthy for babies?
Yes. Avocado is a popular first food for babies, and it’s easy to understand why. The fruit is easy to prepare and rich in fiber and the healthy fats that babies need to support digestion and brain development.1 Avocados are also a rich source of growth-supportive B-vitamins like folate and B6, and contain vitamin E as well as zinc to fuel immune health. The healthy fats in avocado also make it a good oil option, though occasional use may be preferred because it tends to be expensive.
When shopping for avocados, you may notice large, smooth-skinned varieties along with the smaller, rough-skinned Hass avocados. Avocados share a similar nutrient profile, though the larger, green-skinned varieties contain slightly less fat and are therefore sometimes marketed as “lite” avocados.2 Regardless of variety, select avocados that don’t have any bruising and feel slightly soft when gently squeezed.
★Tip: Avocados start to ripen once they’re picked from their tree. If you need a rock-hard avocado to ripen quickly, place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana, which will release ethylene gas that speeds up the ripening process. Conversely, if you have an avocado that is already ripe that you need to keep for a little longer, popping it in the refrigerator will slow the ripening process.
Is avocado a common choking hazard for babies?
No. When ripe, avocados are not a common choking hazard, though in theory an individual can choke on any food. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals.
Is avocado a common allergen?
No. Allergies to avocado are rare but have been reported.3 Avocado allergy is more likely to occur in individuals who are already allergic to banana, chestnut, or kiwi and those who are allergic to latex or certain pollens may be allergic to avocado or experience Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen-food allergy).4 5 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
How do you prepare avocado for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: For first-time eaters, you can offer large halves of avocado, large, thick spears of ripe avocado or mash the flesh and serve on a pre-loaded spoon. If the avocado spears are shooting out of baby’s hands because they’re slippery, roll the pieces in a nutritious food that adds grip: hemp seeds, shredded coconut, or even finely ground nuts that you have already introduced (nuts are a common food allergen). See our guacamole recipe!
9 to 12 months old: At this age, the pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet) is developing, enabling baby to pick up smaller pieces of food. As such, this is a great time to move down in size to small, bite-size pieces of avocado. If it is a struggle to pick up small pieces of food, it’s absolutely fine to continue to offer large spears of avocado or to continue with mashed avocado.
12 to 24 months old: At this age, toddlers are likely mastering the use of utensils. Serving half of an avocado in its skin and calling it an “avocado boat” can be a fun twist, though you can absolutely continue with small pieces of diced avocado or large spears as well. Anything goes!
Our First Foods Essentials bundle is a must-have for getting off to a strong start with solid foods.
Serving Size: about 1 cup
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Age: 6 months+
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of ½ lime (about 1 tablespoon / 15 g)
- In a large bowl, use a fork to mash the avocado until smooth.
- Stir in olive oil and lime juice and stir to combine.
- Serve: Scoop the guacamole into a bowl and let the child self-feed by scooping with their hands. If you’d like to work on utensils, pass a pre-loaded spoon to the child in the air for them to grab from you.
To Store: Press plastic wrap tight over the top of the guacamole so that there is no air between the guacamole and the plastic wrap. Guacamole will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
How often should you offer solids? See our sample feeding schedules for babies of every age.
Avocados are a great healthy fat with a pretty neutral flavor, making them quite versatile. They pair especially well with grilled or roasted chicken, pork, and tropical fruits like mango or pineapple.
E. Cerda, MSN, CNS, LDN
A. Gilbaugh, RD, CNSC
K. Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD Board-Certified General Pediatrician and Pediatric Gastroenterologist
- Comerford, K. B., Ayoob, K. T., Murray, R. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (2016). The role of avocados in complementary and transitional feeding. Nutrients, 8(5). DOI: 10.3390/nu8050316. Retrieved April 16, 2021
- Avocados: Nutrient-Dense and Delicious. (n.d.). @berkeleywellness. Retrieved April 3, 2021
- Telez-Diaz, G., Ellis, M. H., Morales-Russo, F., & Heiner, D. C. (1995). Prevalence of avocado allergy among atopic patients. Allergy Proceedings: The Official Journal of Regional and State Allergy Societies, 16(5), 241–243. DOI: 10.2500/108854195778702594. Retrieved April 16, 2021
- Latex Allergy | AAAAI. (n.d.). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Retrieved April 2, 2021
- Levy, D. A., Mounedji, N., Noirot, C., & Leynadier, F. (2000). Allergic sensitization and clinical reactions to latex, food and pollen in adult patients. Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 30(2), 270–275. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2000.00751.x. Retrieved April 16, 2021