When can babies eat blueberries?
Blueberry may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Background and origins of blueberries
Blueberries are part of the same plant family as cranberries, huckleberries, and lingonberries. Wild varieties of this berry grow on low shrubs in fields, forests, and mountaintops throughout the Americas—their native home. They range in color from cobalt to indigo to midnight blue to black and ripen in the hot summer months. Wild blueberries are typically smaller and taste much sweeter than their cultivated cousins from “highbush” blueberry plants, the type most often grown on commercial farms.
When you see a pint of blueberries at your local grocery store, they are most likely highbush blueberries grown commercially in Canada, the United States, or Mexico. Keep an eye out at the farmer’s market in July and August for wild blueberries. They’re a rare treat!
Are blueberries healthy for babies?
Absolutely. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin K (for healthy blood) and they are also a great source of vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb iron from plants, so serve blueberries alongside iron-rich plant foods like lentils and beans. But it’s the powerful concentration of antioxidants that gives blueberries their superfood status. Blueberries are among the fruits and vegetables highest in antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage and support our DNA functionality, immune system, and liver health. If you can swing it, buy organic blueberries. Berries are high on the list of commercially grown fruits with the most pesticides, in part because birds and squirrels love to eat them. If organic blueberries are not possible for your family, remember that fruit is better than no fruit.
Word to the wise: blueberries are high in fiber. That means when babies eat large quantities of blueberries, there’s a poop blow-out coming your way!
Are blueberries a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. The round shape of a blueberry is a choking hazard for your baby. To minimize the risk, flatten or quarter blueberries and check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions. As always, stay near your baby during meal time.
When can babies eat whole blueberries?
Blueberries are a choking hazard until age four or five because of their round, firm shape. Once your child becomes an advanced eater (chewing and swallowing well and not smashing fistfuls of food into their mouth) you can try offering whole blueberries in a safe eating environment. You may also “graduate” to whole blueberries by flattening the berries a little less each time you serve them.
Are blueberries a common allergen?
No. However, individuals who are sensitive to salicylates may be sensitive to blueberries.1
How do you prepare blueberries 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 12 months old: To serve blueberries on their own, flatten each berry to make a little disc and serve to your baby. If your baby gags, take a deep breath and try to let your little one work the blueberry forward independently. Smashed blueberries can also be mixed into soft foods, such as Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or ricotta cheese. Cooked blueberries (in muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods) can be left whole because they soften and burst with heat.
12 to 24 months old: Continue to flatten the berries before serving to reduce the choking risk. At this age, you may find that your baby is ready to eat a whole blueberry. Take into account the child’s eating ability before serving whole blueberries, and once they’re ready, be sure to create a safe eating environment when serving them for the first time. Your baby should be sitting in an upright highchair—not eating “on the go” in a stroller or the back seat of a car. If your baby is not quite ready for the “whole berry” experience, build up eating ability by flattening the berries a little less each time you serve.
Recipe: Purple Oatmeal
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup blueberries
- Combine the oats and coconut milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. If you opened a can of coconut milk, consider using the rest for chia pudding!
- While the oats are cooking, wash the blueberries. Remove any stems.
- Once the oats have thickened, add the blueberries. Use a fork or potato masher to smash the berries. Remove any lingering blueberry skins or break them up as you smash.
- Serve in a bowl that suctions to the table to make it easy for young babies to self-feed. Here you have two options: you can let your baby hand-scoop the porridge, or you can pre-load a spoon and hand it to your baby in the air or rest it on the edge of a bowl for your baby to pick up independently. Or both!
The tart flavor of blueberries pairs well with hearty nuts like almonds and walnuts, warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla; and sweet fruits like apple, pear, and peach. The sweetness of wild blueberries makes an amazing compote to serve with wild game, such as elk and venison.