Fruits are often the second or third solid foods added to the diet, a few weeks after cereal and perhaps vegetables. Apples, peaches, pears, apricots, and prunes are usually good first fruits. For the first six or eight months of a baby’s life, the fruit is stewed, except for raw, ripe banana.
You can buy jars of ready-made baby food, but it’s easy and much cheaper to make your own. Just stew the fruit in a pot until it’s soft, then mash it up (or use a blender.) Make sure it’s smooth, with no lumps to choke on. Bananas that are very ripe don’t need cooking; just mash and serve.
If you buy baby food, look at the label to make sure it is all fruit. (Fruits packed in syrup can be useful if your baby’s bowel movements are hard, however.)
You can give fruit at any one of the feedings, even twice a day, depending on your baby’s appetite and digestion. Increase each fruit gradually as your baby learns to like it. Most babies are satisfied with half a baby jar. You can give the other half the next day. Fruit can be kept three days if it is well refrigerated. But don’t feed your baby out of the jar unless you plan to use it up at one meal. Saliva introduced into the container can spoil food rapidly.
Fruit has the general reputation of being laxative. But most babies don’t show any definite looseness or cramps from fruits except for prunes. Prunes, prune juice, and sometimes apricots are mildly laxative for almost all babies. This makes them doubly valuable if your baby tends to have hard stools. You can give pureed prunes or prune juice at one feeding and some other fruit at another feeding each day.
If your baby’s bowels become loose, you will probably want to omit prunes and apricots for a couple of months and give other fruits only once a day.
After age six months or so, you can begin adding or substituting other raw fruits besides bananas: avocado, or scraped and mushed-up apples or pears. To prevent choking, it’s safest to wait with berries and seedless grapes until your baby is two, and even then cut them up or mash them until your child is past age three.