Cantaloupe may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Note: Melons are notorious for carrying bacteria from the ground as well as for causing diarrhea in babies, so wash well and start with small serving sizes.
Cantaloupe, especially in the form of melon balls, is a choking hazard, so keep reading to learn how to serve this fruit safely.
Cantaloupe is a type of muskmelon—a family of melons with roots in Iran that has grown to include many varieties, including canary, casaba, cavallion, crenshaw, crown, honeydew, winter melons, and more. Cantaloupe goes by different names depending on where you are in the world: rock melon in Southeast Asia and Australia, spanspek in South Africa, and in North America, the name is commonly used for a muskmelon variety that has a grey, net-like rind and sweet orange flesh. Meanwhile in Europe, cantaloupes can sometimes have a smooth white rind with green ribbing and a sweeter orange flesh. Color, shape, and size differ depending on the variety, but all share a key characteristic: sweetness!
Like all muskmelons, you’ll get a great deal by purchasing whole cantaloupe versus pre-cut. There’s also a hidden benefit to whole melons: they are less likely to contain harmful bacteria than pre-cut melon pieces.
Kalani, 7 months, eats cantaloupe in the shape of a thin, wide rectangle.
Max, 12 months, eats cantaloupe in the form of a crescent moon.
Leila, 17 months, eats a large wedge of cantaloupe with the rind left intact. Always wash the rind well before serving.
Yes. While cantaloupe doesn't top the nutrition charts, it contains vitamins A and C—two powerful antioxidants that support cellular repair, eyesight, and immunity. Compared to its popular sister the honeydew melon, cantaloupes offer almost twice as much vitamin C and about 67% more beta-carotene, which gives the melon’s flesh its bright orange color. In addition to offering essential nutrients, cantaloupe can also alleviate constipation in babies because they are mostly water, which helps move things along in their little digestive systems. (And often a bit too helpful!)
Yes. Cantaloupe is firm and slippery—two qualities that can increase the risk of choking. The risk is even greater when cantaloupe is served as melon balls; never use a melon ball scooper when preparing foods for babies. It’s easy to prepare cantaloupes in a safe way for babies of all ages. Check out our age-specific preparation ideas!
For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.
No, allergies to cantaloupes are rare. However, individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called food-pollen allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to cantaloupe. As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity on its own for the first couple of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity 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.
Wash the rind of the cantaloupe before cutting. Remove the rind and seeds, then cut into thin crescent moon or thin rectangular shapes. To encourage self-feeding, hand a piece in the air for baby to grab from you.
Wash the rind of the cantaloupe before cutting. Remove the rind and seeds, then cut into thin rectangles or thin crescent moons. If the child is consistently taking big bites of these pieces of food, feel free to cut the thin slices into smaller bite-sized pieces. After the first birthday, feel free to offer an age-appropriate utensil for practice picking up the small pieces of melon. Remember: never use a melon ball scooper when preparing food for babies or toddlers.
At this age, many toddlers are ready to handle large wedges of cantaloupe, with the rind still on. Just make sure to wash the rind before cutting into the melon and remove any lingering seeds before serving. If you’re noticing that your toddler is overstuffing or taking several bites without finishing what’s in their mouth, feel free to offer thin bite-sized pieces until they stop overstuffing.
How to prepare a cantaloupe for babies 6 months+
How to prepare a cantaloupe for babies 9 months+
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
2 tbsp (30 ml) unsweetened desiccated coconut flakes
This recipe contains a common allergen: coconut. While coconut allergy is rare, it is classified as a tree nut by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Only serve to a child after this allergen has been safely introduced.
Wash the melon rind.
Cut the melon in half. Scoop out the seeds from one half, peel the rind, and cut the melon into thin handles. Store the other melon half for another use.
Press coconut flakes on some of the cantaloupe handles to add grip for your child.
Serve the Cantaloupe
Offer cantaloupe and let your child self-feed.
If help is needed, hold a piece of cantaloupe in the air in front of your child, then let them grab it from you.
Eat some cantaloupe alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Cut cantaloupe keeps when tightly sealed in the refrigerator for 3 days.
The sweet muskiness of cantaloupe pairs well with savory foods like almonds, cashews, chicken, and fish. It also balances tart fruits like citrus, green grapes, or strawberries. Try pairing cantaloupe with its cousins in the gourd family: cucumber and other muskmelons like honeydew. Adding layers of flavor like freshly grated ginger or herbs like basil, lemongrass, or mint will lend complexity to the dish.
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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