When can babies eat pineapple?
Pineapple may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids (which is generally around 6 months of age) as long as it’s finely chopped or sliced into thin strips. Note that pineapple is acidic, which can cause or worsen diaper rash.
Background and origins of pineapple
Pineapples were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 19th century, and while there are still some small farms in operation, today most pineapples are grown from Central or South America, their native home.1 If you live in Florida or Southern California, you may see the tropical fruit at your local farmer’s market. Otherwise the pineapples at your local grocery store are most likely traveling all the way from Costa Rica and Brazil, the world’s leading producers of the popular fruit.2
Is pineapple healthy for babies?
Yes. Pineapple is a powerhouse fruit. It is exceptionally high in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium and has trace amounts of all B vitamins and copper. Together, these nutrients help your baby’s body to absorb iron, a critical nutrient for babies at this stage.
Pineapple is also the only known plant source of bromelain, a nutrient that is said to have healing powers for a wide range of ailments, from joint pain and injuries, to allergies and gut troubles. There is little scientific research to back up the belief in bromelain as a natural remedy, however it is clear that eating large quantities can cause a burning sensation on the tongue. Bromelain splits proteins into building blocks (amino acids), which is why pineapple is used as an effective meat tenderizer in recipes.
For this reason, try serving pineapple with yogurt or another neutralizing food to offset the effect of bromelain, and take care to serve the fruit as a treat rather than an everyday food.
Is pineapple a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. You won’t find pineapple on most lists of choking hazards for babies, but the fruit is hard and slippery—two qualities that increase the risk of choking. Pineapples must be prepared in an age-appropriate way before serving to babies who are ready to start solids. (See our age-specific serving suggestions).
Is pineapple a common allergen?
No. Allergies to pineapple are rare, however the fruit may trigger reactions in people with a latex allergy.3
As with all new foods, introduce by serving a small quantity of pineapple and watch closely as your baby eats. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future servings.
How do you prepare pineapple for babies with baby-led weaning?
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.
6 to 8 months old: Offer a pineapple core to teethe on, along with thin, wide strips of soft, ripe pineapple for consumption. While the core won’t yield any food in the belly, it will stimulate baby’s phasic bite reflex and advance oral motor skills. For the strip of pineapple for consumption, try cutting the pineapple piece so that there is still some core on the side of the piece, which will help keep the fruit from falling apart. Serving pineapple alongside yogurt or another neutralizing food will help offset any of the harmless burning sensation that can happen when eating pineapple.
9 to 12 months old: Serve bite-size pieces of pineapple, either on their own as practice for baby’s developing pincer grasp or as part of a meal. If you’d like to continue serving the core or large strips, you may. Just stop offering the core when baby can bite through it entirely.
12 to 24 months old: Continue to offer bite-size pieces of pineapple, and consider introducing a fork for practice. Just remember that using utensils can be exhausting for new eaters, and many children toggle back and forth between feeding themselves with their fingers and utensils. Consistent and accurate utensil use will come in due time, probably between 18 and 24 months of age.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
How do you know when a pineapple is ripe? Pick up the fruit by the spiky leaves (or crown), flip it over, and smell the bottom end. If you smell pineapple, the fruit is ready to eat. If there’s a sour smell, the fruit is likely past its prime.
Recipe: Pineapple-Coconut Parfait*
- Fresh whole pineapple
- Greek yogurt (full fat)
- Dried unsweetened shredded coconut
Note: This recipe contains yogurt, a common allergen, as well as coconut, which is classified as a tree nut (allergen) by the FDA. Coconut allergy is rare.
- Prepare the pineapple by removing the crown, stem, skin, and core.
- Mince the pineapple flesh. Add a dollop or two of full fat Greek yogurt to a bowl that suctions to the table.
- Fold in a spoonful or two of minced pineapple, then sprinkle a pinch of coconut on top. Mix well and serve in a bowl that suctions to the table. To encourage self-feeding, you can pre-load a spoon and hand it to your baby in the air, or rest a pre-loaded spoon on the edge of a bowl for your baby to pick up independently.
Pineapple’s acidic sweetness goes well with shellfish and white fish, and pairs nicely with robust fruits likes avocado and banana. It will also go nicely with bold-flavored fruits like grapefruit, raspberry, strawberry, and tamarind and fatty, nutty flavors like coconut and macadamia nut. Try flavoring fresh pineapple with fresh herbs (cilantro or mint) and spices (cinnamon or cayenne pepper) for deeper flavor.
- Hawaii Aloha. The History of Pineapple in Hawaii. Retrieved February 24, 2020
- World Atlas. Top Producing Pineapple Countries. Retrieved February 24, 2020
- Brehler, R., Theissen, U., Mohr, C., & Luger, T. (1997). “Latex-fruit syndrome”: frequency of cross-reacting IgE antibodies. Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 52(4), 404-410. DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1997.tb01019.x