How to Introduce Bananas to Babies
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
When I teach Baby Led Weaning (BLW) classes, I always suggest trying banana as one of the first foods for baby. But I didn’t realize how confusing this fruit is for parents until I was inundated with questions about it. Let’s tackle some of the most common feeding questions I receive when it comes to bananas.
Consistency: In my courses, I get questioned a lot about which consistencies to try first and how to advance in texture from there. I teach parents to start their babies with basic single ingredients, and banana is obviously a great choice! Once baby has mastered a few tastes, I change up the texture by either adding another food (that they have already had success with) or introducing a new consistency. Here are a few of my easy recipe combinations to try:
- Familiar Tastes: Banana + Avocado. Mash them both together in the Tiny Bowl and add a little breast milk or formula. Give your little one a head start on their self-feeding skills by using the Tiny Spoon for dipping and scooping!
- Grab and Eat: Cut the banana in half and peel back a portion of the top so baby can easily hold onto the skin section and gum the soft flesh. This recipe is very popular with BLW and I love to use it with babies who are progressing well with their fine motor feeding skills.
- Crunchy Combo: I cut a banana into long banana slices (like French fries). Then I roll the slices into crushed iron-fortified cereal or another safe crumble texture to make it easier for baby to pick up and eat. This mixture of crunchy (cereal) and soft (banana) textures is a combination that will continue throughout adulthood.
- Fried Bananas: Fried banana is very common in my Hispanic culture, and it’s something we traditionally give to babies between 8-12 months. Here is my family recipe:
- 2 Bananas
- Step 1: Melt 1-2 Tbs of butter in a small frying pan
- Step 2: Cut the bananas into thin (French fry) slices
- Step 3: Gently place the bananas in the pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes on each side
- Step 4: Once the banana is coated with butter on each side, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and serve!
Constipation: I get asked a lot of questions about constipation in regards to bananas. Yes, bananas are known to have constipation tendencies, especially if parents are serving them to baby daily. But I’ve learned from the pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) doctors I work with that bananas also have GI benefits. If you have have a baby with reflux, consider the fact that bananas have a mucosal property that helps with digestion and may encourage a baby with reflux to continue eating orally (when they may normally refuse).
Colors: A common question I receive about bananas is what color the banana should be when they first introduce it to baby. Depending on the color, the taste and texture can vary widely and the nutritional benefits change too! I’ve outlined a few ideas to help you choose the right color stage for your baby:
- Green: Parents who choose to serve bananas that are green in color are giving baby a texture that is firm with a tart taste.
- Yellow: Others parents may give baby a banana that is yellow in color, which means the texture is soft and the taste is sweet.
- Brown: Some families prefer to introduce bananas past their ripening stage. Brown bananas have a mushy texture and the flavor is very sweet (which is why it’s usually used in baking desserts!).
What texture and taste does your baby prefer? How did you introduce banana to your baby? Try some of my banana recipes and let us know what you think! #ezpzfun #blw
To find out more about ezpz's latest items designed specifically for feeding first foods - the Tiny Bowl, Tiny Spoon and Tiny Cup - head here.
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).