When can babies eat grapes?
Grapes may technically be introduced as soon as a baby is ready to start solids, however, you may want to wait until after 9 months of age to introduce this common choking hazard. This is because grapes must be sliced lengthwise into quarters to be safe for babies and the small slivers can be challenging for babies to self-feed.
Background and origins of grapes
Across the planet, woody grapevines climb up trees and trellises, producing nutrient-rich edible leaves and clusters of juicy berries that range in color and flavor depending on the plant’s variety, of which there are thousands. Hieroglyphics, petroglyphs, and other historical records suggest that grapes have been part of the human diet for thousands of years in North America, Africa, and Asia. Today, most of the world’s cultivated grapes are turned into wine. The rest are eaten fresh as table grapes, dried to make raisins and sultanas, or processed into oil, vinegar, and sweet food products like candy, jam, jelly, molasses, syrup, and more. Most processed grape products are not appropriate for babies and toddlers for different reasons (choking hazards, excessively sweet, sometimes alcoholic, etc.), but fresh table grapes are a great way to introduce this ancient staple food to a baby.
Are grapes healthy for babies?
Yes. Grapes contain fiber for gut health, plus some B-vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin K to fuel a baby’s growing body. Like other colorful fruits and vegetables, grapes are packed with powerful antioxidants called phytonutrients that support cell health and help offset risk of disease. Green and red grapes can offer more antioxidants than black, blue, orange, pink, purple, yellow, or white grapes.1
Grapes are packed with natural sugars, which is why they are often processed to make candy, jam, molasses, and other sweet food products. It would be wise to hold off on serving these types of products until the child is older as sweeteners can reduce the diversity of foods that a child is interested in eating, increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and negatively impact cardiovascular health.2 3
★Tip: To minimize a baby’s exposure to pesticides, buy organic grapes when possible. Conventionally-grown grapes are heavily sprayed with pesticides.4 5 Even washing grapes may not fully remove pesticide residues.6
Can babies drink grape juice?
No. Juice of any kind should not be given to babies under 12 months of age unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.7
After the first birthday, small amounts of juice (less than 4 ounces a day, ideally diluted with water to reduce sweetness) may be safely offered.8 That said, it is our strong opinion that it is best to wait on serving juice until the second birthday. Even then, it would be wise to limit the amount offered to minimize sugar (including natural sugars in juice) in a child’s diet. Further, a recent Consumer Report’s analysis concluded that many brands of fruit juices may contain potentially harmful levels of toxins like arsenic, cadmium, and lead.9
Learn more about the impact of sugar and sweeteners.
Are grapes a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Grapes are an extremely common choking hazard as they are round and slippery.10 To minimize the risk, quarter grapes lengthwise (from stem to bottom) and remove any seeds before serving. Leave the skin on if you like, or remove the skin if it makes you nervous.
As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment, to stay within an arm’s reach of a baby during mealtime, and to check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.
Are grapes a common allergen?
No. Allergies to grapes are rare, although not unheard of.11 In theory, an individual can be allergic to any food. 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 amount over future meals.
How do you prepare grapes 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: Wait until a baby has developed the pincer grasp (where the pointer finger meets the thumb) and can pick up quartered grapes independently. While these skills tend to develop closer to the 9-month mark, some babies may be ready earlier. Regardless of age, quarter grapes lengthwise to reduce the risk of choking. You do not need to remove the skin but go ahead and remove it if it makes you nervous and be sure to remove any large seeds.
9 to 12 months old: Offer quartered grapes (cut lengthwise from stem to bottom) for baby to pick up independently. Leave the skin on if you like, but make sure to remove any large seeds. If your baby is having a hard time picking up the quartered pieces, wait a couple more weeks. Don’t be surprised if baby spits out the skin; this is normal and in fact, a critical skill of learning to eat.
12 to 24 months old: Continue to offer quartered grapes (cut lengthwise from stem to bottom) for your toddler to pick up independently. Leave the skin on but do remove any large seeds. If you feel your child is ready, you can offer grapes that have been cut in half (cutting lengthwise is best) though know that there is still some level of risk.
24 months old and up: When you feel your child has mature eating skills (moves food around in the mouth well, chews food before swallowing, etc.), consider offering whole grapes in a safe and supervised setting. If you have not yet offered grapes halved lengthwise, you may want to begin with this size before progressing. For whole grapes, we suggest demonstrating chewing with the molars prior to offering the grape: open your mouth, place the grape on your teeth and explain “I am using my teeth to crush this grape.” You may want to consider holding the grape for your child to practice biting—hold at the corner of the mouth and allow your child to close their teeth on the grape. Coach your child to push hard to break through the grape skin. You can make a big deal about the fun squish and squirt that happens when they chew through it! Do not offer whole grapes if your child is not sitting at the table and supervised until you are confident that your child will chew and swallow without coaching.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Recipe: Rainbow Fruit Salad
Yield: 2 cups (2-4 child-sized servings)
Time: 5 minutes
- 4 seedless green or red grapes (the bigger the better!)
- 4 large strawberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 kiwi
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 navel orange
- 1 teaspoon ground nut (optional)
- ½ cup ricotta cheese (optional)
- Use any combination of fruit from the ingredient list. Feel free to use frozen fruit—and don’t worry if some types of fruit are unavailable. Swap in your favorites!
- Defrost any frozen fruit. Wash all fruit. Remove and discard any leaves and stems.
- Peel the banana. Slice into rounds.
- Peel the kiwi. Slice into quarters.
- Slice the strawberries into quarters lengthwise and flatten the blueberries between your fingers into a disc if your child is not ready for whole blueberries yet.
- Slice the grapes lengthwise into quarters from stem to bottom.
- Transfer the fruit to a mixing bowl.
- Halve the orange, and squeeze the juice from one half over the fruit. Gently stir to combine.
- Scoop some ricotta cheese, if using, into baby’s bowl and add the fruit salad on top. Exact serving size is variable. Let a baby’s appetite determine how much is eaten. Sprinkle ground nut on top.
To Serve: Serve in an age-appropriate bowl and let baby self-feed by scooping with their hands. If baby needs help, pass a piece of fruit in the air for baby to grab from you.
To Store: Rainbow fruit salad keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 5 days.
Table grapes range in flavor—lots are super sweet, others are tart, and some are musky. Try pairing grapes with creamy foods like goat’s cheese, mascarpone cheese, or ricotta cheese to let their flavor shine, or bring out a grape’s musk by serving with earthy foods like almond, amaranth, buckwheat, butternut squash, couscous, quinoa, rice, Khorasan wheat, or walnut. Serve grapes with other sweet-tart foods like grapefruit, lemon, mango, melon, orange, strawberry, and tomato alongside protein-rich foods like beef, bison, egg, chicken, duck, lamb, salmon, and trout to compliment their savory flavor.
J. Truppi, MSN, CNS
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD Board-Certified General Pediatrician and Pediatric Gastroenterologist
- Qing, L., Guo-Yi, T., Cai-Ning, Z., Xiao-Ling, F., Xiao-Yu, X., et al. (2018) Comparison of Antioxidant Activities of Different Grape Varieties. DOI: 10.3390/molecules23102432. Retrieved on February 10, 2021
- Fidler Mis, N., Braegger, C., Bronsky, J., Campoy, C., Domellöf, et al. (2017). Sugar in Infants, Children and Adolescents: A Position Paper of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 65(6), 681–696. DOI:10.1097/MPG.0000000000001733. Retrieved February 10, 2020
- Jenco, M. (2016). AHA: Limit children’s sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons per day. American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved February 10, 2021
- Zhang, B., Chen, X., Han, S. Y., Li, M., Ma, T. Z., Sheng, W. J., & Zhu, X. (2018). Simultaneous Analysis of 20 Mycotoxins in Grapes and Wines from Hexi Corridor Region (China): Based on a QuEChERS⁻UHPLC⁻MS/MS Method. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(8), 1926. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081926
- United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary. Retrieved February 10, 2021
- Qi, H., Huang, Q., & Hung, Y. C. (2018). Effectiveness of electrolyzed oxidizing water treatment in removing pesticide residues and its effect on produce quality. Food chemistry, 239, 561–568. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.06.144
- Heyman, M., Abrams, S. (2017). Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations, Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Committee on Nutrition. Pediatrics, 139 (6) e20170967. DOI:10.1542/peds.2017-0967. Retrieved February 10, 2021
- American Academy of Pediatrics: HealthyChildren.org. (2017). Where We Stand: Fruit Juice. Retrieved September 15, 2020
- Hirsch, J. (2019). Arsenic and Lead Are In Your Fruit Juice: What You Need to Know. Consumer Reports. Retrieved February 15, 2021
- Lumsden, A. J., & Cooper, J. G. (2017). The choking hazard of grapes: a plea for awareness. Archives of disease in childhood, 102(5), 473–474.
- Bircher, A., Bigliardi, P., Yilmaz, B. (1999). Anaphylaxis resulting from selective sensitization to Americana grapes. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 104(5), 1111-1113. Retrieved February 10, 2021