We all love bananas; s that’s before your workout, as a snack, with your favorite nut butter, or with pancakes. But did you know it’s actually that bananas for your baby-led weaning process are the perfect health food to introduce? We cannot seem to get enough of them.
I personally cannot get enough of them: they’re sweet, mushy, great addition on top of your breakfast, and chock-filled with nutrients. Can you even imagine how healthy they are for babies? Well, below are some ideas on how to serve your little one bananas, why they’re nutritious and healthy, and when is the ideal time to introduce them.
Are Bananas Healthy for Babies?
While entirely understandable as a concerned parent, this question is kinda crazy. Of course, bananas are great for your baby! Hear me out; they have so many nutrients, even
more than most berries and vegetables. Yes, that does sound a little far-fetched, but check all the list of nutrients and minerals it has:
- 3 grams of fiber for one regular-sized banana
- Vitamin C
While bananas are considered high in sugar, they’re natural sugars. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is not overeating them. zDespite the high-sugar content, bananas have been related to regulating the blood sugar levels in the human body due to all the natural sugars.
Moreover, they’re full of antioxidants such as amines, good for heart health and the digestive system.
How Much Banana Can I Give a Baby?
So how much banana can a baby have? The amount of bananas your child can eat safely and healthily largely depends on their age. Below is a general guideline you can follow:
For a 6-year old, we do not recommend anything more than ¼ of a banana. Since most babies start weaning at the age of 6 months, as that is the minimum recommended age, you should handle this slowly. Keep in mind that babies won’t be able to take more than 1-inch chunk at a time, the equivalent to 1 tablespoon of banana puree, in one go. At this age, it’s tricky for babies to grasp anything, so make sure the chunks are big enough for the baby to hold but not too big that it’s difficult for them to chew and swallow.
Your little one is slowly developing his motor skills and is gaining curiosity by the day! This is when your baby can start using the pincer grasp, which is when they use both their index and thumb fingers to hold onto stuff. Now, since your baby has grown a tad bit older (they grow at a crazy rate at this age!), you can give him ½ of a banana. This excludes all other foods, obviously, as your little one still needs all their macronutrients. This is when you can start introducing more and more foods and mixing things together. You can start giving them oatmeal, pancakes, or simply some pureed fruits.
Your baby is now old enough to hold onto the whole banana without any problems! We recommend you peel off the banana, discard the peel, and simply give the banana to the baby. This way, your kid will learn how to eat entirely independently without your help, and it’s pretty entertaining seeing babies eat away at this age! Moreover, if you have been considering introducing cutlery, you can do so at this stage. But make sure you purchase some plastic ones to avoid any hazards.
How to Prepare Bananas for Baby-Led Weaning
There are several ways you can cut up, slice, puree, or mix in bananas to feed your baby. The method ultimately depends on your preference and how far along your baby is. For instance, you cannot simply hand big chunks of bananas to your 6-month old as soon as he starts learning how to eat.
No. 1: Cutting Bananas
We all know this method and use it to cut up slices of bananas onto our pancakes. This is the easiest way of preparing the fruit, and it requires only a few seconds to complete. Now, you would want to cut the chunks up to ¼ inches for a baby just stepping into baby-led weaning. That makes it easier for the baby to hold onto and eat with ease.
No. 2: Splitting Bananas
As your child grows older, around the age of 7-9 months, you would want to teach them how to eat bigger-sized chunks of food. Hence, another great alternative is peeling the banana, pushing it down from the very middle, and watching the banana split. You’ll find this is a very convenient way of dividing it into three parts and creates a much more ‘gripable’ piece of fruit for your child.
No. 3: Handheld Bananas
As your little one gets to the age of around 10 months old, he’ll want to grab onto everything around him. This is when their hyperactivity peeks, and you’d be able to give your baby the whole banana to chew on. However, as we know, bananas are pretty slippery and prone to get mushy. You could peel the first half of the banana, cut it off, and leave the other half intact. The peel on the bottom works as a great handle for your baby.
No. 4: Cereal with Cinnamon
Do you feel the food you’re serving is getting quite repetitive? Well, spice it up with some cinnamon! You can puree some bananas, add them to a bowl with some baby cereal, and mix them well. Now, all you need to do is add a pinch of cinnamon, and voila! You’re good to go! This is a great way to serve your baby bananas for the baby-led weaning process, especially when they’re old enough to handle cutlery.
No. 5: Banana Pancakes
This is recommended once you introduce all the ingredients to your baby beforehand. The ingredients needed are one banana (mashed), one egg, and 2 tablespoons of whole-wheat flour. Simply mix everything together in a bowl, cook it up like you would a regular pancake, and add some cinnamon for flavoring. You can add more fruits on top, or I personally found that babies enjoy snacking on them with no additions.
Which Bananas for Baby-Led Weaning
Bananas with the highest nutrients are always the more yellow ones on the outside with some black spottings. We’re not talking about the ones with complete black mushy parts, as they often taste weird and are inedible.
However, aim to find the best, most yellow bananas for your little one. That indicates that they are ripe enough. Keep in mind that it is still OK to feed your baby a black banana on the outside. However, it should still be yellow and delicious on the inside.
Don’t worry about it if you ever stumble upon a banana that looks incredibly green. There are ways for you to accelerate the ripening process. You can put it in a paper bag and leave it at room temperature with another ripe banana or apple, or you can leave it in a closed space for a few days.
Are Bananas a Common Allergin?
No, they’re not. There are rare cases when people or kids get allergic to bananas, but they often find out early. However, we advise you to look for any signs that your little one is developing an allergic reaction. A reaction can happen within the first 2 hours of ingesting the food. These include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Throat tightness
- Stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea
- Swelling of lips, throat, or skin
If you believe your kid might be having an allergic reaction, call your doctor immediately. If left untreated, a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is a life-threatening situation.
Are Bananas Choking Hazards for Babies?
Generally, bananas are not considered a hazard. However, there are a few things we recommend you to do simply to ensure your babies are doing fine. This is especially vital when you’re first using baby-led weaning:
- Keep an eye on them and stay nearby
- Feed them only ripe bananas, as unripe ones are challenging to chew on for 6-month olds
- Remove any strings from the banana once you peel it, simply to avoid the risk of one of them getting stuck in the throat
- Make sure your baby is sitting in an upright position while eating
Conclusion: Baby-Led Weaning With Bananas
All in all, bananas are a great way to initiate the baby-led weaning transition. However, there are numerous other fruits and veggies you can introduce. This includes boiled carrots, avocados, and even small slices of apples without the peel.
If you’re just diving into this trend, consider starting with bananas. Not only are they high in nutrients and antioxidants, but they strengthen the mind and body of your baby. There are also numerous ways to spice things up. That includes trying out innumerable recipes like pancakes, porridge, purees, and even smoothies!