When can babies eat pears?
Raw pear can be a choking hazard because the fruit is slippery and firm. That said, if you steam or cook pears until they are soft, or slice them very thinly, pears may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old.
Are pears healthy for babies?
Yes, if they are organic. Did you know that non-organic pears are near the top the list of produce with the most pesticides in the United States?1
Pears contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including copper (which aids iron absorption), vitamin C and other antioxidants (which power a healthy immune system), and vitamin K (which promotes healthy blood). Pears are known for containing a high level of fiber—the majority of which can be found in the skin. A pear’s skin color indicates the variety’s unique plant compounds and, thus, different beneficial nutrients to the human body. For example, red-skinned pears contain beta-carotene, which is essential for healthy vision, skin and immune function.
Are pears a choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Raw pears and dried pear pieces can be choking hazards. To reduce the risk, you can steam, poach, or cook pears until completely soft. Alternatively, you can offer your baby paper-thin slices of raw pear when they are old enough to hold on to them.
Are pears a common allergen?
No. True allergies to pears are rare. However, individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen-food allergy) may be sensitive to pears, though cooking the fruit can minimize the reaction.2
How do you prepare pears 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 12 months old: Raw pears that are firm in consistency must be cooked until completely soft or sliced thinly to be safe as a finger food for babies. If your pear is soft and ripe, cutting it into thin, wide slices work well for babies of all ages. As your baby approaches their first birthday, you can go down in size to smaller, more conventional-sized slices of soft, ripe pear.
12 to 24 months old: Thinly slice pears with or without the skin or take the plunge and offer a whole, soft, ripe pear with or without the skin. You may also continue to offer cooked pears for your baby to eat with their fingers or mix blended pear into other foods your baby can self-feed. As a midway step, you can also serve grated raw pear and work up to larger pieces as your baby becomes more skilled at eating.
For more information on how to cut food for your baby’s age, hop over to our section on Food Sizes & Shapes.
★Tip: In the United States, organic produce is identified by the numeral 9 at the beginning of the produce number on the little stickers added to fruit. Numbers on conventional produce start with 4. At farmers markets, ask the farmers if they spray their trees with pesticides to mitigate the many bugs who love to eat pears. Purchase only unsprayed pears.
Recipe: Poached Pears
- Cardamom (optional)
- Unsalted butter or ghee (optional)
- Peel, core, and quarter 1 to 2 pears.
- Place in a small pot and cover with water. Add a dash of ground cardamom or a whole cardamom pod if you like.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the pears are completely soft, about 7 minutes. Cool completely.
Pears are versatile. They taste delicious with almond, apple, banana, beef, cheese (especially goat cheese!), chestnut, chicken, hazelnut, pork, and walnuts, as well as with spices like cardamom and cinnamon.
- Environmental Working Group. About EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. (2019). Retrieved January 9, 2020.
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved January 9, 2020.