Learn how to prepare banana baby food dishes for your little one with our yummy recipes – and find out what makes banana such a nutritious food for your tiny diner!
Bananas contain so many important nutrients that they can be considered one of nature’s most perfect foods.
Bananas are an excellent source of the essential electrolyte potassium, which is used by the muscles and regulates blood chemistry. They also provide your baby with vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Babies love them because they have a natural sweetness that intensifies as they ripen, providing lots of energy for growth and development.
In addition, ripe bananas contain pectin, a soluble fibre that ‘keeps things moving’ through the digestive system and prevents constipation (do bear in mind, though, that unripe bananas often have the opposite effect and can cause constipation).
If your baby is recovering from a nasty bout of diarrhea, bananas can be useful in replacing the lost electrolytes.
And if these benefits weren’t enough, bananas are also good for the bones and teeth as their consumption is believed to improve the body’s uptake of calcium!
Bananas are often introduced to babies as a first food (see our Guide to Introducing Solids for more information).
Quite apart from being a wonderfully nutritious choice, ripe bananas are easily digestible and incredibly simple to prepare.
Generally considered to have a soothing influence on the digestive system, some sources recommend bananas as a good first food for babies with reflux.
That being said, many parents find that this is NOT the case and this visitor tells us about a reflux flare-up prompted by bananas.
It’s advisable, therefore, to introduce them carefully to a reflux baby and watch out for any worsening of symptoms over the next few days.
Simply peel a ripe banana and mash it with a fork! You may add a little breast milk or formula to create a more suitable texture for your baby.
If your baby is at least 6 months of age (the typical recommended age for the introduction of solid foods), then additional pureeing should not be necessary.
One of the best things about bananas is that they are not seasonal – subsequently, they are available all year round.
As you’ve probably noticed, ripe bananas are very vulnerable to bruising – therefore they are picked and shipped to the countries they are to be sold in before they are ripe. They are then ripened in special rooms where they are treated with ethylene gas – OR they are taken directly to stores for retail (this is why you will sometimes find very green bananas available for sale).
‘Ungassed’ bananas (those NOT treated with ethylene gas) ripen more slowly, giving them a better flavour.
Unlike many fruits and vegetables, the flavour of bananas is NOT influenced by their size – large ones taste just as good as little ones! However, you may wish to buy smaller bananas for your baby to help keep leftovers to a minimum.
In addition to yellow bananas, you can also find red – and even purple – varieties of the fruit, although these are most commonly found in ethnic markets.
Whatever the colour, ensure the bananas you buy are firm and unblemished. Don’t buy very green bananas unless you are willing to wait for them to ripen for a few days! You can, however, hasten the process by placing them in a plastic bag – this ‘traps’ them with the ethylene gas that they naturally produce, making them ripen even faster!
Once your bananas are ripe, you can put them in the refrigerator if you choose – the skins will likely go black, but this is purely cosmetic and won’t affect the quality of the fruit.
Do not, however, refrigerate bananas before they are ripe – if you do, they will never ripen… even when you take them back out!
Bananas are not a common allergen – it is, however, possible to be allergic to ANY food, so you should always watch carefully for any sign of allergic reaction when introducing bananas to your baby.
There are two types of allergic reaction to bananas.
One is related to an allergy to latex – therefore you should discuss the introduction of bananas with your doctor if your child has a known latex allergy. You will probably be advised to avoid bananas altogether for now.
The second type of allergic reaction to banana is related to pollen allergies and is known as oral allergy syndrome. The symptoms – which appear quickly – usually involve swelling or itching in the throat or mouth.
ALWAYS consult your doctor if you suspect that your child is experiencing an allergic reaction to any food.
Eating bananas can change the appearance of your baby’s poo – sometimes causing little black ‘threads’ that look alarmingly like worms! Visit our blog to read more about this common – but harmless – phenomenon!
Because bananas are so quick and easy to prepare, it really isn’t worth pureeing or mashing them in advance. But if you DO choose to do so, you will probably find that they turn a lovely shade of brown! Whilst this is not harmful to your baby, it does look somewhat unappealing!
To prevent banana baby food from turning brown, stir in a drop or two of lemon or orange juice (please note, however, that citrus MAY cause an allergic reaction in some babies. Whilst a drop or two should, on the whole, be safe to use, you might like to check with your doctor first).