Can Babies Have Watermelon? All You Need to Know
Watermelon is a tropical fruit that has its roots in South Africa. Today, watermelons are one of the most preferred fruits because they contain vitamins and antioxidants that play vital roles in the body.
Since babies typically grow very fast, their bodies usually need a lot of nutrients, and breast milk alone cannot cater for all the needs hence it will be good if they also ate watermelons, but the question is, “can babies have watermelons, and when is the right time to introduce them to watermelons?”
The answer is yes, and a big one for that matter. However, only babies who can eat solid foods or those who have started eating solid foods are the only qualified candidates. Expert paediatricians and nutritionists recommend introducing babies to solid foods when they are between 6-8 months old.
How Can I Serve My Baby Watermelons?
Since watermelon has a soft texture, it won’t cause your baby any problems as far as biting, and chewing is concerned hence you can give it to your baby as a finger food.
However, don’t just cut the watermelon into pieces anyhow and give to your baby. Remember, your baby is still learning to eat therefore she might put a whole piece in her mouth which may be difficult to swallow, and this might choke her.
Therefore, ensure that you cut the watermelons into very tiny pieces so that your baby can easily swallow them even without chewing, and don’t forget to remove the seeds. You should be there to watch her as she is eating to ensure that she doesn’t choke. The baby should also be seated upright to avoid choking.
For those mothers who are still worried about their baby choking, you can mash up the watermelons before feeding it to the baby. You can also get creative with how you serve your baby the watermelons. You can do this by adding the mashed watermelons to yoghurt, pureeing it then thickening it with some baby cereal or make a fruit salad by combining it with fruits like banana.
Nutritional Values of Watermelons to Your Baby
Enhanced Bone Development
Minerals like calcium and magnesium are found in abundance in watermelons. These minerals are needed for bone formation. Therefore, giving your baby watermelon will aid in her bone development resulting in strong and healthy bones.
Calcium also facilitates hormone secretion in the body while magnesium facilitates proper nerve functioning and muscle development in babies. Vitamins present in watermelons like b-vitamins will boost the formation of red blood cells and strengthening of the immune system.
Recent findings from the U.S Department of Agriculture showed that watermelons contained Lycopene, per serving, more than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is an anti-oxidant that also boosts the body’s immunity to diseases. It will thus help to boost your baby’s immune system. Beta-carotene, also found in melons, will facilitate healthy eye development.
Contributes to Maintaining Water Balance in The Body
It is important that your baby stays properly hydrated especially during hot days. Since watermelons are 90% water, I would recommend it for your baby rather than give your baby sugary juice that will only lead to cavities for those babies who have started teething.
Watermelons also contain compounds that are known as electrolytes that will protect your baby’s skin from heat strokes whenever you are out together in the sun.
As a rich source of dietary fibre, watermelons will ensure that your baby does not suffer from constipation, which is usually a common problem in babies.
Precautions you need to take before you let your baby have watermelons
- Avoid feeding your baby with pre-cut fruits as they can be contaminated. Buy fresh melons and cut them by yourself.
- Watermelon fruit is filled with many seeds which might choke a baby, ensure that you remove the seeds before you feed the fruit to your baby.
- Don’t give melons to babies who are below 6 months. They haven’t learnt how to chew on solid foods and stand high risks of choking on anything solid.
- Make sure that your baby is not allergic to watermelons. You can check for signs such as skin rashes, runny nose, vomiting or diarrhoea whenever you feed them watermelons.
On the whole, babies can have watermelons anytime as long as they can eat solid foods. You can let your baby have watermelons if and only if she can handle solid foods. Do not attempt to give watermelons or any other solid foods to babies before they are ready.
The recommended age to introduce your baby to solid foods is between 6 months to 8 months. Once they reach this age, they will now be ready, and you will be free to let them have watermelons and let them enjoy this refreshing fruit called watermelon.