Blackberries, when cut or smashed, may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Native to temperate climes, blackberries thrive on every continent except Antarctica. Over the years the plant’s leaves, roots, and stems have served many purposes: food for humans and animals alike; inky dye for fabric, hair, and skin; herbal medicine; and protection thanks to their prickly canes that can form a formidable wall. Years of wild mixing and agricultural cultivation have spawned a diverse family tree: boysenberries, dewberries, loganberries, marionberries, newberries, and tayberries are all varieties of blackberries.
Eunoia, 7 months, eats blackberries mashed into ricotta.
Kalani, 10 months, eats quartered blackberries.
Max, 14 months, eats quartered blackberries.
Yes. Blackberries offer plenty of fiber to promote gut health and lots of vitamin C, a nutrient that supports immunity and helps the body absorb iron. Blackberries also contain other potent antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavanols, and phenolic acids—plant compounds that help the body stay healthy. In fact, blackberries are one of the richest food sources of antioxidants.
Yes. Blackberries are round and sometimes quite firm—two qualities that can increase the risk of choking. To reduce the risk, smash or flatten the berries or cut them lengthwise into quarters before serving. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm's reach of baby during meals. For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.
No. Reported cases of blackberry allergy are limited and blackberry allergies are generally uncommon. As you would when introducing any new food, offer a small quantity at first and watch closely as your baby eats. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the serving size over future meals.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
Smash and mix into warm cereal, yogurt, or other soft whole foods. Alternatively, flatten each berry between your fingers or with the back of a fork and serve on its own for baby to practice their pincer grasp.
Quarter fresh blackberries lengthwise and offer as finger food for baby to practice the pincer grasp. You can also continue to mash and mix into your baby’s food as you see fit.
When you feel ready, consider offering blackberries that have been cut in half lengthwise. If your child is shoveling palmfuls of food in their mouth, serve halved blackberries directly on the tray or table (without a plate or bowl) so it slows baby down and encourages the use of their pincer grasp.
Around this age, your toddler may be ready to try eating whole blackberries. If you choose to offer whole berries, opt for ripe, soft and large berries (about half of the size of your toddler’s palm). Ironically, the larger ones can actually present less of a choking risk when they are soft and ripe than the smaller kinds, whose shape is sometimes closer in size to your toddler’s trachea. It’s also easier for toddlers to control a bigger berry in their mouth than a smaller berry, requiring more advanced oral motor skills. Trust your gut and if you feel that quartering or halving the berries is best, by all means, do so.
How to choose and prepare blackberries for babies 6 months+
If you are worried about choking, watch our virtual Starting Solids course. Those who do report that they feel much more confidence and less anxious.
1 c (240 ml)
½ c (120 ml) blackberries
½ c (120 ml) plain yogurt
This recipe contains a common allergen: dairy (yogurt). Only serve to a child after this allergen has been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as yogurt. Added ingredients may also include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Wash the blackberries to remove any pesticide residue.
Prepare the blackberries in an age-appropriate way depending on the child’s eating skills. Mashed berries reduce the risk of choking, while halved or quartered berries can help hone the pincer grasp.
Halve the banana crosswise. Mash one half and store the other half for another use.
Swirl the blackberries and banana into the yogurt.
Serve the Parfait
Offer blackberry banana parfait and let your child self-feed.
If help is needed, pre-load a spoon with parfait and hold it in the air in front of your child, then let the child grab it from you.
Eat a bite of parfait alongside your child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Blackberry Banana Parfait keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Blackberries can be both sweet and tart—two flavors to balance healthy fats in creamy foods like soft goat cheese and ricotta; hearty foods like almond, oats, and quinoa; gamey meats like duck and venison; and all sorts of fruits, from similarly acidic ones like apple, apricot, pineapple, plum, and strawberry, to similarly sugary fruits like banana, mango, and peach. Try enhancing blackberries with warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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