When Can Babies Eat Whole Blueberries?

one large blueberry next to a small blueberry and fingers pinching the small berry

I want you to look at this picture. The big berry on the right? Doesn’t worry me one bit.  It’s that little bugger on the left that makes me nervous.

Our blueberry bush is about to burst and I cannot wait to show Max—who loves them like no other—how to pick them from the bush and eat them. 

Blueberries are one of those foods that can cause a lot of anxiety. Smash or quarter? And for how long? When can we just hand over a plate of berries?!

The answer depends on who you ask and how conservative they are when it comes to choking prevention. The U.S. CDC lists “uncut berries” as a choking hazard for babies 6 to 12 months old. But after 12 months, berries are not on the list of choking hazards. Yet I know a lot of moms who are quartering well into preschool.

One of the mistakes I think we often make when feeding our babes is sticking to the “rules” for babies well into toddlerhood.  Meaning we apply the rules for babies to older children who are no longer babies. Developmentally, my twins were able to safely and properly chew whole, large blueberries from 10 months on and I have felt comfortable giving them large blueberries since. So here’s my opinion: 

  • Size matters. In my opinion, large blueberries are probably safer than small, hard ones for babies. That small little one on the left? That’s the one that might roll back on the tongue by before being chewed.
  • Where your baby eats matters. Your child is less at risk eating blueberries in a proper, upright high chair and calm environment. But a toddler running around with a snack of blueberries? Be careful.
  • Challenging foods are necessary for learning to eat. This is something our feeding therapists have been pushing me on: babies and toddlers NEED to practice with challenging foods so they develop the oral skills and strength to eat a wide variety of foods. If you are always serving mashed foods to your baby, it’s going to be harder for them to work with challenging foods later on—like when they are running around with a baby carrot at a birthday party and you’re not watching as closely…

To read more on this, check out our Blueberry page as well as our list of choking hazards for babies and toddlers.  In the meantime, happy blueberry season…

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