Nectarines, if ripe and soft, may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Nectarines and peaches share nearly all of the same genetic make-up, with one exception. While peaches grow a fuzzy skin, the skin of a nectarine is smooth and glossy. Sometimes a nectarine will even grow on a tree full of peaches, and vice versa. Both peach and nectarine were first cultivated in East Asia thousands of years ago. There are lots of varieties of nectarine and peaches to try, each with their own shades of blushed or golden skin and flesh that ranges from white to pale yellow to pink. And just like peaches, nectarines vary in taste, too; some are tart, others are tangy, and many are sweet.
Julian, 12 months, takes bites of a halved nectarine.
Hawii, 13 months, eats sliced nectarines.
Adie, 14 months, eats sliced nectarines with the skin on.
Yes. Nectarines offer fiber to help baby’s gut microbiome flourish, plus they contain good amounts of vitamin E, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C to promote immune health. Nectarine skin is particularly high in antioxidants—beneficial compounds that combat bodily stress and keep us healthy.
★Tip: Wash the fruit before serving to baby to reduce pesticide residues and unfriendly germs.
No. Juice of any kind should not be given to babies under 12 months of age, unless directed to do so by a health provider in very specific circumstances. It is best to wait to serve any kind of juice until age two, and even then, to limit the amount offered to minimize sugar (including natural sugar) in a child’s diet. Small amounts of juice (less than 4 oz a day, ideally diluted with water to reduce sweetness) may be safely offered after a child’s first birthday, but there are many benefits to waiting. Regular and excessive consumption of sweet beverages may reduce the diversity of foods and nutrients consumed and may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries. Plus, fruits in their whole form are more nutritious than the juice.
Yes. Nectarines are rich in fiber and fluid that help feed healthy gut bacteria, bulk up poop, and hydrate the intestines to support healthy digestion and bowel movements. In particular, nectarines (along with pears, prunes, plums, and others) have sorbitol, a type of carbohydrate that adds sweetness and promotes bowel movements.
Certain high-fiber and sorbitol-containing foods can produce gas and, at times, diaper blowouts; while this is normal and expected, it can be uncomfortable for baby. To minimize digestive discomfort, introduce high-fiber foods like nectarines gradually and regularly in baby’s diet as tolerated. Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from day to day and baby to baby. If you have concerns about your baby’s pooping and digestive function, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
They can be, especially when underripe. Nectarines are slippery and can be firm, qualities that can increase the risk of choking. To reduce the risk, only serve very ripe, soft nectarines. Note that the skin, while not a common choking hazard, can stick to the roof of the mouth or baby’s tongue and cause some gagging or discomfort. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
No. Allergies to nectarines are uncommon. Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome), and particularly those with sensitivities to birch tree and/or certain grass pollens, may be sensitive to nectarines. Individuals sensitive to other foods of the Rosaceae family, such as apricots, almonds, peaches, and plums may also have a similar experience with nectarines. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Cooking, canning, or peeling nectarines can help minimize and even eliminate the reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity on its own for the first few 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.
Serve pitted nectarines cut in half with the skin on. Leaving skin on the nectarine helps baby grip the slippery fruit, and at this age, babies often suck and scrape the flesh and spit out any skin that gets in the mouth. If the skin makes you nervous, peel it and roll the nectarine half in shredded coconut or finely ground-up nuts or seeds to add grip and reduce slipperiness. If baby bites off a too-large piece of nectarine or nectarine skin, take a deep breath and refrain from sticking your fingers in baby’s mouth. Instead, kneel down next to baby so they look down at you, allowing gravity to help the piece of food come forward, and place your hand under their chin to encourage spitting. If you are uncomfortable serving a nectarine half, simply mash the flesh and mix it into a soft, easy-to-scoop food like porridge or yogurt.
Offer thin slices of soft, ripe nectarine with skin on or off. If baby is not ready to pick up slices of nectarine, continue offering pitted nectarine halves with the skin on or peeled. Because nectarines are so slippery, bite-sized pieces can be too challenging for baby to pick up, so be wary of going too small in size as you cut up the fruit.
Continue with thinly sliced nectarine or keep serving halved soft, ripe nectarines for biting practice. Alternatively, cut nectarine into bite-sized pieces to pre-load on a fork.
If you feel comfortable, consider offering your toddler a whole, ripe nectarine. We recommend you eat one at the same time to demonstrate biting into the nectarine and how to avoid the pit. Take a few bites and then show your toddler the hard pit on the inside. Tap it with your finger and tell them, “I am eating around this hard part.” If your toddler puts the whole pit in their mouth, try not to panic. Kneel next to your toddler and tell them: “Spit that out please. Pits are not for eating.” Put your hand under their chin while you demonstrate spitting. If needed, put a pit in your own mouth, show it on your tongue, and demonstrate spitting it into your own hand.
Our Nutrient Cheat Sheet is a handy one-page reference of the nutrients babies need most.
Yield: 1 nectarine half + ¾ c (180 ml) nectarine yogurt
½ c (120 ml) plain yogurt
¼ c (60 ml) unsalted pecans
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy (yogurt) and tree nut (pecan). Only serve to a child after these allergens have been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as yogurt. Added ingredients may include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Wash the nectarines, then halve the fruits. Twist the halves in opposite directions to separate them from the pits. If fruit clings to the pits, simply cut the fruit halves away from the pit. Keep the skin on or peel it if you prefer.
Chop two nectarine halves, then mash the fruit. Swirl the mashed fruit in yogurt.
Grind the pecans into a fine powder, then sprinkle a pinch on top of the yogurt. If pecans are not available, use any tree nut that has been safely introduced or sunflower seeds.
Roll the other nectarine halves in the rest of the pecan powder.
Serve the Nectarine
Offer a nectarine half and nectarine yogurt to baby, then let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, hold a nectarine half or a pre-loaded spoon of yogurt in the air in front of baby, then let the child grab it from you.
Eat a nectarine half alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Cut nectarine keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
Nectarines pair beautifully with arugula, blackberries, cherries, mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt.
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP. Board-Certified Pediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist
K. Tatiana Maldonado, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CLEC. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
K. Rappaport, MS, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, Pediatric Feeding Therapist
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
Dr. S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
Dr. R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
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