Tantalize baby’s taste buds with these fantastic blueberry baby food recipes – and learn more about introducing these nutritious treats to your little one!
Unrelated to strawberries and raspberries – and related instead to the less allergenic cranberries and bilberries – blueberries are not subject to the usual ‘berry baby food’ rules!
Whilst medical professionals sometimes recommend waiting until at least 12 months before introducing other berries (strawberries in particular), blueberries are not as likely to cause allergic reactions and many pediatricians will suggest offering them to your baby at some point between 6 and 9 months of age.
Please remember, though, that a risk of allergy to blueberries DOES still exist – and you should watch your baby carefully once you have introduced them. Signs of an allergy to blueberries include
Blueberries may not be suitable for babies with G6PD Deficiency – please see this page for more information
Blueberries are native to North America, where they are in season from May to October. They are also grown in a few other parts of the world, including Australia, South America and – more recently – the UK and Ireland!
Whilst truly fresh blueberries are unbeatable for taste and texture, they are also available individually quick frozen – possibly the only form available in some parts of the world.
Frozen blueberries are acceptable for use in baby food as long as you can feel them moving freely in the bag – if they are all stuck together, then they have probably thawed and refrozen at some point. This will affect both their taste and nutritional quality ( more about making baby food with frozen vegetables and fruits here).
Blueberries are also available canned, although sugar is often added, making them less desirable for use in your baby food recipes.
Recent research has shown blueberries to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, containing even more of these valuable nutrients than other superstars like cranberries and red grapes!
The role of antioxidants in the human body is varied – helping prevent conditions such as peptic ulcers, cataracts, glaucoma, hemorrhoids, varicose veins – and serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
The anthocyanins in blueberries (which give them their distinctive colour) are believed to protect the brain and – in later life – limit the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
And new research has shown that blueberries can significantly boost baby’s brainpower – see this post on our blog for more information!
What’s more, blueberries are also packed with manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and fibre.
Fresh blueberries have a very mild laxative effect on the body, meaning that they can be very useful in preventing and relieving constipation. Dried blueberries, on the other hand, seem to have the opposite effect and are often recommended for firming up the stools after a bout of diarrhea.
Another interesting characteristic of blueberries is their ability to prevent urinary tract infections, in much the same way as cranberries do. If your child experiences frequent urinary tract infections, then including blueberries in his diet or offering blueberry juice will be a far more palatable and popular solution for him than offering cranberries!
PLEASE NOTE: Eating lots of blueberries can make your baby’s poop look almost black in colour – so beware!
Fresh blueberries are very delicate and should be handled very carefully.
Many commerical baby foods list blueberries as an ingredient – so are these foods just as good for your baby as homemade?
Well, tests have demonstrated that anthocyanins (the colourful plant pigments responsible for many of the health benefits of blueberries) are destroyed during processing.
This means that any processed foods containing blueberries lack the nutritional qualities offered by the fresh fruit – and that includes commercial baby food.
You can read more about the effects of processing on our strawberry baby food page.
Our little ones were enjoying whole, fresh blueberries as a finger food from 7 months of age. Some sources recommend cutting blueberries in half to minimize the choking hazard – we never actually had a problem in this respect, as our little ones seemed able to ‘gum’ blueberries very effectively!
Of course, all babies are different and you should follow your own instincts – and your doctor’s advice – before offering them to your baby as a finger food.
Here are some more blueberry baby food ideas…