Let’s chat oranges! This sweet, tart and juicy fruit has a lot to offer when it comes to flavour and nutrition. It is also worth noting that seasonal changes and different varieties can make them taste pretty different. For this reason, your little one might accept a juicy orange one day and not the next. Oranges are suitable from 6 months or when starting solids, but they do need a little modification based on age and development.
As most of us know, oranges are brimming with vitamin C, which is great for immune health but also that all important iron absorption. We have said it before but just in case you missed it, iron stores are depleted in your bub around 6 months of age. This is why adding iron rich foods into their diet is important when you start solids. Adding a fresh squeeze of orange juice into meals or serving a wedge alongside meat can help boost your little one’s iron. Now, let’s not forget about the fibre in oranges either which is great for gut health and bowel motions.
Is it an allergen:
No, oranges are not a common allergen. However, the acid in citrus foods can cause a contact rash when it meets bub’s sensitive skin. You can use a barrier cream to help with this if needed.
How to introduce it and serve it:
So oranges served in large chunks with the membrane (the white thin bits that keep all the flesh of the fruit in each segment) can be a choking hazard. For this reason, it is important to prepare oranges in a way that is safest for babies.
- You can offer a wedge of orange with the peel on, but seeds removed. Wash the rind well before doing this. You can leave the membrane intact.
- If you want to offer it without the rind, that is okay too but removing the membrane is a good idea, as they cannot chew through this yet. You can do this with a process called a “supreme” (photos below). For this technique, you cut off the top and bottom of the orange before cutting off the skin. You then cut out the wedge of flesh between the white lines (membrane).
- You will most likely still need to remove the membrane as they are learning to chew food well.
- You can offer smaller pieces as they get better at chewing and as that pincer grip develops.
- As they get better at ripping and biting with their teeth, you will likely want to avoid the rind too.
- As they get closer to 18 months and better at chewing tougher foods leaving the membrane on is okay. As with most foods, what each child is ready for will vary a lot. Be guided by your bub’s skills and development.
18-24 months +
- You can offer large pieces of the orange with the membrane and pith once they are confident chewers.
- Can offer with or without rind on.