When can babies eat guava?
Soft types of guava may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. There are hundreds of guava varieties in the world, and they vary widely in texture and consistency, which means they also vary widely in terms of choking risk. From the soft and smooth Mexican Cream guava to the firm, apple-like white guavas, take care to consider any characteristics that might increase the risk of choking (firmness, roundness, slipperiness) or aspiration (loose seeds). For information on firm guava varieties, known variously as amrood, farang, and jambu batu, see Guava (Firm).
Origins of guava
Guava originated in the tropics of the Americas, where the Arawak people learned to harvest the plant that they called guayabo for its delicious fruit. As colonization and trade took guava seeds to South Asia and other parts of the world, the fruit proliferated in dry and humid climates alike, an evolutionary leap that led to hundreds of varieties grown today. Some guavas are sweet, others are sour, and each has edible skin that ranges from creamy white to lime green to golden pink to crimson. Size ranges, too: there are guavas that are as large as a grapefruit, while others are shaped like a pear. There are even guavas that are so tiny that adults can eat them in one bite like a grape.
Certain varieties of guava—including Mexican Cream, Hawaiian White, and most pink-fleshed types—become very soft when ripe. As the fruit matures, the hue of its skin shifts and gains a strong, sweet smell. The flesh inside these types ranges from creamy white to pale yellow touched with pink to bright pink and is much juicier than the firm varieties of guava.
★Tip: Ripe guavas have an intense aroma and a little give when pressed in your palm – like a ripe banana, mango, or pear. Store unripe guava at room temperature until ripe, then transfer to the refrigerator, where the fruit keeps for about a week.
Is guava healthy for babies?
Yes. Guava is loaded with nutrients that they need to fuel their rapid growth. Guava offers fiber, B-vitamins (including vitamin B6 and folate), vitamin E, and potassium. The fruit is also packed with vitamin C to help the body build connective tissue, promote a healthy immune system, and absorb iron from plant-based foods. In fact, guava contains more than four times as much vitamin C as an orange. That’s not all: guava also contains a healthy dose of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids to support brain and visual health. Guava is rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant nutrients that, in this case, are antioxidative, anti-cancerous, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory.1 2 3 Lastly, guava is an excellent source of fiber, specifically insoluble fiber, which is great for poop but can cause gas and bloating if too much is consumed.4 5 For this reason, it may be best to start slow and gradually increase the amount offered.
★Tip: If fresh guava is not available, try frozen guava pulp and be sure to read the label before purchasing. Opt for packages that contain simply “guava” or “guava pulp” and no added sweeteners or syrups, which are way too sugary for children.6
Is guava a common choking hazard for babies?
No, though even soft types of guava have edible seeds that can be tricky to manage and may present an aspiration risk. To minimize the risk, strain the seeds out and use the pulp for sauces, etc. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment and stay within arm’s reach of baby at mealtime.
Is guava a common allergen?
No. Allergies to guava and guava byproducts (such as guava leaf) are rare, but have been reported.7 Individuals with allergies to latex may be sensitive to guava.8 Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome who are allergic to birch pollen may be sensitive to guava.9 10 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Fortunately, peeling or cooking the fruit can help minimize or even eliminate the reaction.11 12
As you would do when introducing any new food, start by offering a small amount for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the amount served over future meals.
How do you introduce soft guavas to babies with baby-led weaning?
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.
6 to 9 months old: There are a few options for serving soft varieties of guava to babies just starting solids. The most conservative option is to cut guava in half and then scoop out the flesh and strain the seeds out. Mash deseeded fruit into a guava sauce and play with enhancers like butter or yogurt for extra fat or seasonings like cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, or ginger for zingy flavor. Refrain from adding sugar or offering preserved guava products like jam, jelly, paste, or syrup at this age. If the guava is golf ball sized or larger and is soft (similar texture to a strawberry) you can also try cutting it in half, removing the seeds by scooping out the center flesh, then handing over the whole half of the guava to baby to gnaw on.
9 to 12 months old: Mash guava and fold into other foods such as warm cereal or yogurt. If you feel comfortable, leave the seeds in. While not a choking hazard, the seeds can be aspirated, though this is less of a risk if the seeds remain embedded in the fruit flesh and the guava is mixed with other food. If you feel baby has well developed chewing skills at this point and is managing other unmashed pieces of fruits, such as banana, plum or watermelon, you can try serving smaller diced pieces of soft guava (with the skin and seeds) for baby to finger feed. Removing the seeds will make these pieces easier for baby to manage, as the seeds are meant to be swallowed whole along with the pulp and may lead to gagging or coughing.
12 to 18 months old: At this age, you can experiment with using fresh chopped or diced soft guava to flavor foods like fruit salad or puree guava into smoothies. Continue to remove the seeds if you like though this may not be necessary at this age for babies who have lots of experience chewing and swallowing a variety of food textures. As always, stay within arm’s reach during mealtime and refrain from offering raw guava, even deseeded and diced guava, in strollers or car seats.
18 to 24 months old and up: Time for the next step! If you haven’t already, now is a great time to consider serving soft ripe quarters, halves and even whole guavas. Choose one that is soft like a strawberry and large enough that the child cannot easily put the whole thing in their mouth so they must bite into it. Whole guava can actually be safer than larger sections of raw guava, such as a quarter of a guava, that can fit inside the mouth without biting into it. The riper and softer the guava, the easier it will be for the child to chew it well before swallowing, which should decrease the risk. You can keep the skin on but go ahead and peel it if the child struggles with fruit skin. You can also try peeling the skin in “stripes” so that some is left on for variety and exposure to fruit skin. When you feel the child understands instructions, model how to use teeth to bite into and scrape out the juicy flesh, pulp, and tiny seeds from the skin and let the child try on their own. Be sure to stay within an arm’s reach in case you need to help. If you feel the child is not ready for fruit with seeds, continue to offer deseeded slices or bite-sized pieces of cooked guava – or mash and mix guava into soft foods like oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt.
If you are stuck in a puffs and pouches rut, check out our snack guide for 100 healthy and easy ideas for babies and toddlers.
Recipe: Guava Chia Seed Pudding with Banana and Coconut
Yield: 2 cups (425 grams)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes + overnight soak
Age: 6 months+
- 4 ounces (115 grams) soft guava (such as Mexican Cream, Patillo, etc.)
- ¼ cup (63 milliliters) water
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ cup (125 milliliters) unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (ideally from a BPA-free container)
- 8 tablespoons (96 grams) chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon (7 grams) ground cardamom, cinnamon, or spice of choice (optional)
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
This recipe contains coconut, a food that is classified as a tree nut (allergen) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Only serve to a child after this allergen has been introduced safely.
- Make chia seed pudding the night before you plan to serve it so that it’s ready in a flash in the morning.
- Wash the guava. Cut the fruit into quarters.
- Place the guava and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to create a steady simmer. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the guava have softened, about 20 minutes.
- Puree the guava until smooth. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, use a fork to mash the fruit until mostly smooth.
- Transfer the blended or mashed fruit into a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press as much fruit pulp as possible through the sieve until only the seeds remain. Discard the seeds. Cool the fruit pulp to room temperature. This process should yield about ½ cup (80 grams) of guava puree. If there is less, don’t fret – the recipe will still work and the guava flavor will be a little less pronounced. If there is more, store any excess in the fridge or freezer for another use.
- While the guava puree cools, peel and mash the bananas, then scoop into to a small glass jar with a sealed lid. A 2- or 3-cup mason jar works perfectly!
- Add the coconut milk, ½ cup (80 grams) of guava puree, chia seeds, and spice if you are using it. Seal the jar, then shake vigorously to combine.
- Place the jar in the fridge to chill until the seeds have expanded and the mixture has thickened, ideally overnight. If you are pressed for time, chill for at least 1 hour, shaking every 10 minutes or so to emulsify the mixture and help speed up the process. Alternatively, let the pudding set in the fridge while you sleep. No need to shake!
- Scoop the guava chia seed pudding into the child’s bowl. If you like, sprinkle the coconut flakes on top.
- Let the child self-feed by scooping with hands. If you’d like to encourage the use of a utensil, simply pre-load a spoon and rest it next to the bowl for the child to try to pick up. Alternatively, try passing the pre-loaded spoon in the air for the child to grab from you.
To Store: Coconut chia seed pudding keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1 week.
Guava tastes both tart and sweet like citrus. Try pairing guava with sweeter fruits like banana, cherry, mango, nectarine, pear, peach, or watermelon to balance the acidity or play up the sweet-tart flavor by offering similarly tangy fruits like apple, blueberry, guava, kiwi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberry, star fruit (carambola), or strawberry. With its citrusy flavor, think of guava as a tool to cut the richness in meats like beef, bison, lamb, or pork and brighten the nuttiness of grains like Khorasan wheat, quinoa, or rice. Like all fruits, guava also tastes delicious with creamy foods like avocado, coconut, mascarpone cheese, quark, ricotta cheese, and yogurt.
J. Truppi, MSN, CNS
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP
K. Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
- Liu, H.C., Chiang, C.C., Lin, C.H., Chen, C.S., Wei, C.W., et al.. (2020). Anti-cancer therapeutic benefit of red guava extracts as a potential therapy in combination with doxorubicin or targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer cells. International journal of medical sciences, 17(8), 1015–1022. DOI:10.7150/ijms.40131. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Ravi, K., Divyashree, P. (2014). Psidium guajava: A review on its potential as an adjunct in treating periodontal disease. Pharmacognosy reviews, 8(16), 96–100. DOI:10.4103/0973-7847.134233. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- McCook-Russell, K.P., Nair, M.G., Facey, P.C., Bowen-Forbes, C.S. (2012). Nutritional and nutraceutical comparison of Jamaican Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava) and Psidium guajava (common guava) fruits. Food Chem. 2012 Sep 15;134(2):1069-73. DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.03.018. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Jiménez-Escrig A, Rincón M, Pulido R, Saura-Calixto F. (2001). Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber. J Agric Food Chem, 49(11):5489-5493. DOI: 10.1021/jf010147p. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
- Angulo-López, JE et al. (2021). Guava (Psidium guajava L.) Fruit and Valorization of Industrialization By-Products. Processes, 9,1075. DOI: 10.3390/pr9061075. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
- Fresh, Frozen or Canned Fruits and Vegetables: All Can Be Healthy Choices! (n.d.). Www.Heart.Org. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
- Obi, M., Miyazaki, Y., Yokozeki, H., Nishioka, K. (2001). Allergic contact dermatitis due to guava tea. Contact dermatitis, 44(2), 116–117. https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0536.2001.44020917.x . Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Blanco, C. The Latex Syndrome: A Review of Clinical Features. Internet Symposium on Food Allergens, 2(3), 2000. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Erikkson, N.E., Werner, S., Foucard, T., Moller, C., Berg, T., et al. (2003). Self-reported hypersensitivity to exotic fruit in birch pollen-allergic patients. Allergology International, (2003) 52, 199–206. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved July 12, 2021.
- Nowak-Regrzyn, A. (2021). Patient Education: Oral Allergy Syndrome (Beyond the Basics). Up to Date. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
- Kids With Food Allergies: A Division of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. Retrieved July 2, 2021.