Should you Give Babies and Toddlers Watermelon?
Watermelon is a fantastic food for your baby or toddler, rich in water, fiber, and iron. It contains 93% water and several micronutrients, including vitamins B, C, E, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phytochemicals.
We’d recommend introducing watermelon to your toddler’s diet after 8 months of age but as we all know every child is different. In rare cases, the acidity of watermelon may cause rashes or even trigger an allergic reaction. As with introducing all new foods to your child’s weaning options, keep an eye as they explore this tasty and healthy treat.
Netmums agree “The main difference between watermelon and other types of melon is the size of larger watermelon seeds. So, you just need to be aware of removing any seeds before feeding watermelon to your baby – and you may prefer to feed them other types of melon first.”
How to Choose the Right Watermelon
We always encourage parents to opt for organic produce, avoiding the nasty pesticides that we know are not good for our health or the planet.
Give your watermelon a hard tap, if it sounds hollow you know you’ve picked a ripe watermelon.
Try not to buy precut watermelons as they are susceptible to nasty bacteria growth.
How to serve watermelon when weaning
Make sure that you always supervise your baby when they’re eating, sit them upright during mealtimes and never serve food whilst they are reclining, walking, sitting in a car seat or playing.
To minimize any choking risk for young babies, serve seedless watermelon on the rind (with the rind cut into large, thick pieces) so your baby can use the rind like a teether.
The difference in textures of the watermelon pieces are fun for your little one to explore, going from that high water content juicy part through to the more fleshy part, but be ready to check that they’re coping with this change as they start to chew. If your child is struggling try chopping the chunks into smaller pieces.
Introducing new foods to babies
If this is the first time that you have introduced watermelon into your baby’s diet make sure that you leave a two to three-day gap between introducing any other new foods. That way you can spot any allergic reactions that may occur, watch out for rashes, diarrhoea, runny nose or any swelling. If you do suspect that your child is allergic to watermelon contact your GP for further advice.
6 Months Plus
You can serve watermelon in two ways. Firstly was the watermelon. Remove the watermelon rind and seeds and cut into thin strips. Alternatively, serve as wedges with the rind.
9 Months Plus
Serve the watermelon in cubes. Remove the rind and seeds and cut into small bit-sized pieces.
12 Months Plus
Cut into triangles and serve on the rind after removing the seeds. You can also freeze your triangles to make melon ice lollies to help with teething.
Cut a circle slice through the watermelon with a sharp knife and then quarter your circle. Serve on the rind. Serving on the rind can be a good strategy for babies and toddlers who shovel too much food in their mouths at once.
18 Months Plus
Cut a circle slice as above but serve as a half rather than a quarter.
Why not serve watermelon as part of a fruit salad, include it in smoothies, service on a lollipop stick as an alternative to a sugar filled lolly or maybe create a watermelon porridge and serve it in one of our eco rascals bamboo suction bowls?