When can babies eat mango?
Mangoes may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Notoriously slippery (and likely to shoot out of tightly-clenched fists!), mangoes are a delicious—and entertaining treat for little eaters.
Background and origins of mango
Mango is a stone fruit that grows on trees that are native to South Asia and cultivated in many tropical climates around the world. There are more than 500 known varieties of mangoes in our world, but the most popular kind on the American market is the Tommy Atkins, a larger fruit with greenish-red skin and golden flesh.1
When ripe, mangoes are juicy and soft, with a sweet smell and soft flesh that ranges in color from gold to orange to pale yellow, depending on the variety. You’ll know when a mango is ready to eat when it gives a little when pressed—just like a ripe peach.
Are mangoes healthy for babies?
Yes! Mangoes are chock full of vitamins. They’re loaded with beta-carotene, which your baby needs convert to vitamin A for healthy eyes and a strong immune system. Mangoes also contain tons of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that powers bone growth and hormone function—and helps our bodies absorb iron for healthy blood. Finally, mangoes contain most B-vitamins, including high levels of folate (for cell growth) and vitamin B6, a nutrient that powers many of our brain and body functions but is often deficient in babies.
Compared to other fruits, mangoes contain lots of natural sugar, so they are best served in moderation as your baby’s palate and food preferences develop.
Are mangoes a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Mangoes are firm and slippery—two qualities that can increase the risk—and sometimes the flesh is stringy which can be challenging for little eaters. Check out how to reduce the risk with our age-specific preparation suggestions.
Are mangoes a common allergen?
No. Allergies to mango are not common though they do occur. Note that mangos are related to cashews and pistachios, so if your baby is allergic to one of these foods they may be allergic to another.
As with all new foods, introduce by serving a small quantity and watch closely as your baby eats. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future servings.
How do you prepare mango 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: Peel the mango and cut some flesh from the pit. Offer the whole pit for baby to suck and munch on or slice into spears that are long and wide, about the width of two adult fingers placed next to one another. Alternatively, try finely mincing the mango flesh and folding it into yogurt.
9 to 12 months old: If your baby has developed their pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet), serve diced mango on its own as a finger food. If not, continue serving large spears or finely minced mango folded into other foods.
12 to 24 months old: Serve diced mango as a finger food or with a fork to encourage utensil use. For babies who are learning to use utensils, coax them along by pre-spearing a piece of mango with the fork and leaving the pre-loaded utensil on the table for them to pick up on their own.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Add grip to slippery fruit like mangoes by rolling the spears in crushed whole grain cereal (make sure it is sugar free!) or finely-grated coconut.
Recipe: Mango-Coconut Spears
- Finely grated coconut
Note: This recipe contains coconut, which is classified as a tree nut (allergen) by the FDA. Coconut allergy is rare.
- Peel the mango and remove the flesh from the pit. Stand the fruit upright on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut vertically just off the center (i.e., just off the pit). Repeat on the other side, then on each end. You’ll have four pieces.
- From there, grab a sturdy water glass and slide the rim into one end of a mango piece, then push along the skin to scoop the flesh from peel in one smooth motion.
- Cut the flesh into long spears that are about the width of two adult fingers next to one another. Sprinkle finely grated coconut on a plate. Roll the mango spears in the coconut and serve.
Mango pairs beautifully with apricot, avocado, cashew, coconut, green apples, pineapple, and soft cheese (such as goat or ricotta). Finely diced mango pairs nicely with proteins like fish and pork. Try seasoning mangoes with warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or even a scant amount of cayenne pepper for some heat!
- National Mango Board. Mango Varieties and Availability. Retrieved March 31, 2020