Peas may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Whole, loose peas are a potential choking hazard, so keep reading to learn how to serve them safely.
Part of the diverse legume plant family that also includes soybeans and peanuts, peas were first cultivated in the fertile lands that connect Africa, Asia, and Europe thousands of years ago. While the pods of garden peas are tough and rarely eaten, the pods of other varieties like snap peas and snow peas are sweet and edible. Fresh peas have a short shelf life, but the invention of industrial canning and the ability to flash-freeze produce have made garden peas widely accessible.
Beth, 6 months, eats blended peas with a spoon
Sebastián, 11 months, eats flattened peas
Isar, 14 months, eats peas
Yes. Peas are an excellent source of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein to help support baby’s developing gut microbiome and to fuel growth and development. They are also a good source of zinc, folate, and vitamin B6 which collectively support immune function, neurodevelopment, and a healthy metabolism. Lastly, peas are rich in antioxidants, which help support the body’s resilience against stressors.
They can be. Their perfectly round shape can pose a risk, as the average diameter of a pea is close in size to the diameter of the trachea of babies. To minimize the risk, mash into a paste or flatten each pea gently with the back of a fork until you are confident your child can handle them in the mouth safely. 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. Peas are not a common allergen, although the prevalence of allergies to peas has been increasingly reported over the years with the rise in popularity of pea products and many hidden sources of peas, such as in processed plant-based foods. Emerging research also suggests that certain individuals with favism, also known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, may have their condition triggered by peas.
Pea allergies have been reported in some patients with allergies to other legumes, particularly chickpeas and lentils. However, being allergic to one type of legume does not necessarily mean that an individual will be allergic to all others, although the risk of having more than one legume allergy can increase. Fortunately, most individuals with peanut or soy allergy (both common food allergens) are able to tolerate other legumes, such as peas, just fine. That said, there are reports of patients with peanut allergy experiencing reactions to processed food products containing large amounts of concentrated pea protein (known as pea protein isolate)– even if they tolerate whole peas without issue. If baby has a known peanut allergy, foods containing pea protein isolate should be introduced with caution.
Peas and other pea products are a known trigger of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, also known as FPIES. FPIES is a rare and delayed allergy to food protein which causes the sudden onset of repetitive vomiting and diarrhea to begin a few hours after ingestion of the food trigger. Left untreated, the reaction can result in significant dehydration. Fortunately, most cases resolve completely by early childhood.
Individuals with allergies to birch tree pollen and/or Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to legumes, such as peas. 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 or canning peas can help minimize and even eliminate the reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Yes. Just look for cans marked “no salt added” or “low-sodium,” since many canned peas have levels of sodium in excess of baby’s needs. Draining and rinsing canned peas can help remove some of the sodium. When available, look for cans marked “BPA-free.” Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to line the interior of some food containers, and studies show that frequent exposure can affect baby’s neurological development among other issues.
No. Prior to 12 months, the only liquids an infant should receive are breast (human) milk, formula, and if the baby is older than 6 months of age, water in small amounts (less than 2-4 ounces / 60-120 milliliters a day) in an open cup. If pea protein milk is used as an ingredient in solid food (such as oatmeal), then it is perfectly fine to serve before 12 months of age. For more information milk substitutes, read our Milk FAQs page.
Yes, but only after they have been cooked and modified to reduce choking risk (mashed or flattened, depending on baby’s age and eating ability). Peas that are still frozen and hard are a potential choking hazard and pose a risk of foodborne illness.
Yes, peas are rich in fiber, which helps support healthy gut bacteria, digestion, and bowel movements. Peas and other high-fiber foods can also produce gas and, at times, diaper blowouts; while this is normal, it can be uncomfortable for baby. To minimize digestive discomfort, introduce high-fiber foods like peas gradually and regularly in baby’s diet as tolerated. Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. If you have concerns about your baby’s pooping and digestive function, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
No. Peas contain fiber and other food components that produce gas, which is sometimes mistakenly perceived as peas being hard to digest. Certain elements of peas are naturally resistant to digestion, but these indigestible fibers help feed friendly gut bacteria and support baby’s development of a diverse and healthy microbiome. Introducing high-fiber foods like peas gradually and regularly in baby’s diet as tolerated can help to minimize digestive discomfort.
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.
Blend cooked peas into a smooth spread and serve on top of teething rusks, strips of toast, or on their own for hand-scooping. Encourage baby to self-feed with their hands. You can also share family meals with cooked peas in them; simply flatten the peas with the back of a fork before serving to baby.
Flatten peas with the back of a fork and serve as a finger food to help baby practice their developing pincer grasp. Consider serving the peas directly on the tray or table (as opposed to a bowl or lipped plate) to lower the choking risk, as this reduces the likelihood that baby will shovel several peas into their mouth at once.
At this age, there is no need to flatten cooked peas and you can serve them whole as long as you feel comfortable that your toddler can handle them safely in the mouth. Try serving peas on their own as a finger food and, as the child’s skills develop, encourage fork practice by spearing peas.
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2 c (480 ml)
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy (ricotta cheese) and wheat (bread). 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 bread. Added ingredients may include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Steam fresh or frozen peas, and place in a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Blend the ingredients until the dip is mostly smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure all peas get blended. A little texture is okay as long as there are no whole peas. If you do not have a blender, mash the peas until they are mostly broken down, then mix in the cheese, lemon juice, and oil.
Season the dip with finely chopped mint and black pepper.
Set aside some dip for baby, then season some with salt to taste for yourself. Serve as a dip for vegetables or spread on toast or a teething rusk.
Serve the Dip
Offer garden pea dip and toast to baby and let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, swipe some toast or a baby spoon in the dip, then hold it in the air for baby to grab from you.
Eat some garden pea dip alongside baby to model how it’s done.
To Store: Garden Pea Dip keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Let the sweet, grassy flavor of garden peas balance both rich proteins like beef, lamb, pork, sardines, or lighter ones like chicken, eggs, and shellfish. Garden peas taste delicious with creamy foods like avocado, butter, cheese, and yogurt. They also pair well with alliums like garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots and other spring produce like artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, and new potatoes. Fresh herbs add depth; try chives, mint, or tarragon!
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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