Choices, choices, choices! Life is full of choices. And so is mom’s kitchen!
And about the age of six to eight-months-old, your baby becomes aware of the ‘room of choices’ (aka mom’s kitchen). Your little ‘taste tester’ has been a bit busy of late. The new textures, colors, and flavors keep him or her with a ‘full plate’ of work. And you are enjoying the whole food tasting experience as well.
But today is a bit different. Today is a melon day. And your first melon on the exam table is the beloved cantaloupe. One of your favorites. You ask yourself as you begin slicing said melon, “I wonder if my baby loves cantaloupe as much as I do?”
Then your simple question starts to break itself down into sub-questions. Will it hurt my baby? Is his stomach ready for it? Is there too much natural sugar for his or her tiny system? Ah, the parent brain at work.
Hopefully, we can answer those questions, and possibly others. But right now, your baby is fixated on the perfectly good ‘ball’ you are destroying! And what is the delicious sweet smell I just got a whiff of?
Is My Baby Ready to Try Cantaloupe?
No one knows your baby better than you. Therefore you already have the answer to the question.
As a general rule, most babies are ready for ‘melon consumption’ around eight-months-old. Your baby could be progressing better, so if you want to try it at six-months-old, go ahead.
And should you be concerned about allergies to melons, ease them into it? Start by making sure the baby has had nothing you are about to try, in their previous meal. Then allow them to sample a few small pieces and be observant as to their reaction. If the baby shows no sign of allergic reaction or stomach discomfort, put it on the list. The list of “hey I like (fill in the blank).”
Chances are they will soon be the next cantaloupe fan in the family! You can also use the above ‘sampling method’ as you introduce any questionable foods to them.
What About the Natural Sugars in Cantaloupe?
Yes, cantaloupe is loaded with natural sugars. Anything tasting as sweet as cantaloupe has to be. So you better not let the baby declare all-out war on consuming as much of the melon as possible.
Limit their intake by controlling the amount you give to them. Easy to say, hard to do. It’s hard to say ‘no more’ when they seem to be enjoying it so much. Who doesn’t like cantaloupe, right?
One of the acts you will perfect over time is the balancing act. Learning how to balance their diet properly will ensure they don’t consume too much natural sugar. And yes, cantaloupe has a lot of natural sugar.
Perhaps now is another one of those opportunities to do a bit of research. You can stay on top of their sugar intake by knowing the amount each of their foods has. And most fruits do.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is another one of those ‘superfoods.’ Cantaloupes are loaded with vitamins A, C, and those all-important antioxidants. The perfect fuel for your little moving machine.
It is also ideal for one of their first finger-foods. Dicing up a few small pieces for them, you can help them in the beginning stages of hand-eye coordination. Cantaloupe and other fruits as well are a great tool for teaching them how to self-feed. The art of self-feeding is one of the first signs of them being independent.
A great way to use cantaloupe in their diet is by using it to build different textures into their meals. Try dicing up some cantaloupe and putting it into some brown rice for a side dish. Or place some dices into some yogurt for a healthy dessert.
Cantaloupe Hacks for Your Baby
About the age your baby starts to enjoy different tastes in his or her diet, there are other issues. It’s also about the time their teeth start coming in. And sometimes the baby just doesn’t feel up to new food experiences. Inflamed gums and new foods to try do not go well together.
Cantaloupe can be used to help the teething child. Cut some cantaloupe, or other fruits up into bite-sized pieces or small strips they can handle. Place them in the refrigerator to chill. Offering these chilled finger foods will soothe those little gums. And it will give them a new taste treat at the same time!
There are also many new foods you can try them on and mix a bit of cantaloupe in with them. Try using small cubes of cantaloupe with these foods:
All of these foods go well with the cantaloupe mixed in with them.
Cantaloupe and Other Melon Fruits
Chances are by now you have a cantaloupe lover on your hands. Once the love for cantaloupe is established, move on to other melons. Try some watermelon and honeydew. Both are on the most favorite lists of most babies. But be mindful of how much and at what time you give them melon fruits. Time?
Yes, giving a baby some watermelon or other melon just before bedtime is a bad idea. Melons, in general, require a large amount of digestion to keep from causing cramps, diarrhea, and upset stomach. Giving them at bedtime when the digestive system starts slowing down, may make for a long night.
Also, be aware of the honeydew. It contains almost twice the natural sugar as any other melon. Do some of your awesome parenting, and all will be well!
Your baby will most likely love his or her cantaloupe introduction. And for the most part, the melon family should pose no threat or difficulties in your baby’s diet.
As always, soak them in lots of love and affection. The baby, not the cantaloupe!