Mango

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
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Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
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a mango with a piece cut away on a table before being prepared for babies starting solid food

When can babies eat mango?

Mangoes may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Notoriously slippery, mangoes are a delicious—and entertaining—treat for new eaters, but take care as slippery foods can increase the risk of choking.

Are mangoes healthy for babies?

Yes. Mangoes contain fiber to support healthy digestion, which can be helpful if baby is constipated. The fruit is also loaded with beta-carotene, which baby converts to vitamin A for healthy eyes and a strong immune system, and tons of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that fuels growth and helps our bodies absorb iron in plant-based foods for healthy blood. Other noteworthy nutrients include folate (for cell growth) and vitamin B6, a nutrient that powers neurological development and function, and phytochemicals that may have anti-inflammatory properties to support cellular health.1 2

Compared to other fruits, mangoes contain lots of natural sugar. Babies have an innate preference for sweetness and serving mango alongside other fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can help develop a taste for a wide variety of flavors as baby’s palate and food preferences are taking shape.3 If fresh mangoes are not available, choose frozen mangoes or opt for canned mangoes packed in water or natural juices – not syrups, which are way too sugary for children. Rinse canned mango before serving to remove excess sugars.4

★Tip: Add grip to slippery fruit like mangoes by rolling the spears in crushed whole grain cereal (ideally a sugar-free variety), finely-grated coconut, or finely ground nuts or seeds.

Kaia, 5.5 months, munches on a mango pit.
Amelia, 9 months, eats mango coated with grated coconut.
Adie, 11 months, eats mango spears.

Can babies eat dried mango?

No. It is best to hold off on serving dried mango until closer to age 2 unless it is under the supervision of a feeding therapist or swallowing specialist (dried mango is often used in feeding therapy to build chewing skills). Dried fruit in general can increase the risk of choking and often contains sulfites and other preservatives.5 6 If all you have is dried mango, simply rehydrate the dried mango pieces in water (not juice) and chop.

Can babies eat green (unripe) mango?

Yes, but caution is recommended if offering it, as it could be a choking hazard when presented in cubes as it is firm in texture. Safer alternatives include offering the whole mango pit for baby to teethe on, thin strips (julienned), amchur powder (dried, ground green mango), and chutneys (no honey). Unripe mango is high in vitamin C and has a sour taste.7 Babies in particular may experience gas and bloating due to the high levels of raw starch in uncooked unripe mango, so start with small quantities first.8 9

Can babies drink mango juice?

No. Juice of any kind should not be given to babies unless directed to do so by a health provider. 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.10 That said, we believe that it is best to wait to serve juice until age two and even then, to limit the amount offered to minimize sugar (including natural sugar) in a child’s diet. Regular and especially excessive consumption of sweet beverages (even naturally sweet drinks like mango juice) may reduce the diversity of foods and nutrients consumed and increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries.11 Plus, whole mangoes are more nutritious than juice.

Are mangoes a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Mangoes can be firm and slippery—two qualities that can increase the risk—and sometimes the flesh is stringy which can be challenging for little eaters. To reduce the risk, make sure you offer soft, ripe mango, offer the whole mango pit, or slice into thin spears. For more information on choking, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is mango a common allergen?

No. Allergies to mango are rare, though individuals who are allergic to latex or pollens (birch, grass, mugwort, and ragweed) may also be allergic to mangoes.12 13 14 Although cross-reactivity has been noted between cashew, pistachio, and mango seed, this does not extend to mango pulp.15 Mango sap (found in the skin) does contain a chemical that cross-reacts with urushiol, the chemical responsible for contact dermatitis from poison ivy and poison oak. Individuals sensitive to urushiol may experience skin reactions when handling mango skin, but the edible flesh of the mango should not produce such a reaction.16 17

As with all new foods, introduce by serving a small quantity and watch closely as 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?

6 to 9 months old: A whole mango pit—peeled and with most of the flesh removed—is a great resistive food for this age, offering a low-risk way for babies to build oral motor skills and learn about the boundaries of their mouth. If the mango pit keeps slipping out of baby’s hands, roll it in foods like grated coconut, finely ground nut, or even dry infant cereal to add grip. Alternatively, you can serve minced mango atop scoopable foods like yogurt or ricotta or mango spears. Simply peel the mango, cut the flesh from the pit, and slice the flesh into long spears. Handing the spear in the air to baby will help them get ahold of the fruit.

9 to 12 months old: Continue to offer whole mango pits or spears. If baby has developed their pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet), you can also serve bite-sized pieces of mango as a finger food or on a pre-loaded fork. Alternatively, offer minced mango atop scoopable foods like yogurt or ricotta.

12 to 24 months old: Serve diced ripe mango as finger food as well as a fork to encourage utensil use. For toddlers who are learning to use utensils, coax them along by pre-spearing a piece of mango with the fork and resting the pre-loaded utensil next to the fruit for the child to try to pick up.

hand holding a mango pit
A mango pit for babies 6 mos+
hand holding a mango spear
A mango spear for babies 6 mos+
How to cut a mango pit for babies.
How to cut a mango into spears for babies.

Babies get bored with foods just like we do. Try our guide, 50 Breakfasts for Babies & Toddlers, to add some variety to your mornings.

Ideas for cooking with mango

Mango is a stone fruit that grows on trees that originated in South Asia and now grow in tropical climates around the world. There are more than 500 known varieties of mango, including the Tommy Atkins, a larger fruit with greenish-red skin and golden flesh; the honey or Ataúlfo mango, a smaller, more golden fruit with a sweet and sour flavor; and the Kesar mango, a round, sweet variety.18

When ripe, mangoes are juicy, 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 ripe when it gives a little when pressed. Ripe mango brings rich sweetness to smoothies, lassis, and desserts like sticky rice with coconut, and tastes equally good as a complement in savory dishes from curries to stir fries. Unripe mangoes (also called green mangoes) are delicious too, with a tart flavor that works well in pickles, salads, and boldly flavored dishes like gỏi xoài, a Vietnamese salad often made with green mango, shrimp, and mint.

Recipe: Mango Spears with Lime and Coconut

spears of mango coated in finely grated coconut

Yield: 1 cup (165 grams)
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Age: 6 months+

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes

This recipe contains coconut (unsweetened coconut flakes), which is classified as a tree nut, a common allergen, by the United States Food and Drug Administration. While coconut allergy is rare, only serve to a child after coconut has been safely introduced.

Directions

  1. Wash and dry the mango.
  2. Peel and discard the mango skin.
  3. Halve the mango by cutting vertically on either side of the center, i.e. the pit.
  4. Cut the halves into spears that are about the width of two adult fingers pressed together.
  5. Set aside a couple of spears to serve to the child. Exact serving size is variable. Let a child’s appetite determine how much is eaten. Store the extra spears and the pit for a future meal – or snack on it as the child eats.
  6. Sprinkle the lime juice on the child’s mango spears, then roll them in the coconut flakes to add grip.
  7. Serve the mango spears as finger food and let the child self-feed by trying to scoop up the food with hands. If help is needed, pass a mango spear in the air for the child to grab.

To Store: Cut mango keeps when sealed in the fridge for 4 days.

Flavor Pairings

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!

Reviewed by

E. Cerda, MSN, CNS, LDN

A. Gilbaugh, RD, CNSC

K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT

S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)

R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist

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