Raspberries Are a Delicious and Nutritious Treat for Your Baby
Fresh berries are a bountiful source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and antioxidants, making them a valuable addition to anyone's diet. Berries are best when they're in season, which is generally the late spring and summer months. The bright color, finger-friendly size, soft texture and sweet flavor of raspberries are especially appealing to most little ones, just as they are to adults. In the off-season, frozen raspberries are a colorful and delicious addition to meals and snacks, as well as a natural comfort for teething gums.
Birth to 6 Months
Most babies thrive just fine on breast milk, formula or a combination of both until they are about 6 months old, though some babies are ready for the next step a little earlier. Once you're ready to start introducing more solid foods, you can offer pureed raspberries. Remove all visible stems and seeds from your raspberries, and rinse them thoroughly in cool water. Let them drain and pat them dry. Puree your raspberries in a blender or food processor, maybe adding a little mashed banana or vanilla yogurt to smooth out the texture and tone down the bright flavor if your child has texture or bold flavor issues.
Six Months to 1 Year
Raspberries are a fun treat once your baby can sit up and grasp things. Start with a bit of raspberry jam on toast or a cracker, or just plop a dollop of fork-mashed raspberries on your baby's plate and let her explore. More dexterous little ones can be given fresh berries. Cut them in half, or even quarters, to reduce the chance of choking. As your child gets nearer to a year old, you can offer fresh, whole berries. These fit perfectly on the tips of little fingers. Try this one finger at a time, though, because tiny ones often freak out at new sensations.
Toddlerhood and Beyond
The older your child gets, the more ways there are to offer fresh raspberries. Mix whole berries with blueberries and sliced bananas for a colorful finger-food snack. Line them up along a stalk of celery slathered with cream cheese to make adorably delicious "caterpillars." They can also serve as an unexpected treat in otherwise iffy foods. Berries pair very well with green beans, and can be sprinkled on or folded into small pieces of lettuce to introduce the idea of salads.
Get toddlers and older children involved in choosing, washing and preparing raspberries in treats such as smoothies and ice pops, and adding them to salads, cereal, yogurt and ice cream.
Some berries, such as strawberries, are more allergenic than others. Introduce berries one variety at a time, and watch your child carefully for signs of allergic reaction, which can include stuffy or runny nose, swollen lips and tongue, rashes, hives, vomiting and diarrhea.