We received a message this morning from Deborah in Oxford, England, asking if cucumber is safe for babies to eat.
My mother-in-law was making salad and gave my son Reece a wedge to chew on which (I must admit) he loved! But he’s never had cucumber before – is it safe for babies to eat it? He’s 8 months old and has been eating finger foods for a month.
The good news, Deborah, is that cucumber isn’t considered to be a highly allergenic food and offering your baby a taste after 6 months of age shouldn’t cause any problems (although you should always check with your doctor before introducing new foods to your baby).
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to be on the look-out for reactions to any new food – because, of course, it is possible for your baby to react to a certain food, even if that food isn’t well known for causing reactions!
Related to squash and muskmelon, cucumbers are mild in flavour, with a VERY high water content. Whilst they offer some nutrition – primarily in the form of vitamin C – they are not a particularly nutrient-dense food and don’t add a huge amount of value to your baby’s diet.
However, they ARE great for the very purpose that Deborah’s mother-in-law used them for… and that’s providing something cool and soothing for baby to chew on whilst he’s teething!
If you decide to offer your little one a piece of cucumber, check the seeds it contains – whilst some are so tender that they’re barely noticeable, in other varieties they can be quite firm and could pose a choking hazard. If the seeds seem tough, just cut them out.
The skin, too, can be a bit on the tough side, although our babies have always managed to chew on cucumber slices WITH skin without any difficulties, from around 8 or 9 months of age.
The skin contains lots of fibre – but it’s preferable to remove it if you are concerned that your baby may have difficulty in chewing it, or if the cucumber has been waxed (more information here).
And one last thing to consider…
Cucumbers are notorious for causing gassiness and burping – a variety called the ‘burpless cucumber’ (which apparently contains less of the burp-provoking compound) has even been developed to avoid this problem!
So you may notice that your baby experiences an increase in gas as a result of eating cucumber – and if this causes him any discomfort, then it would be a good idea to hold off on the cucumber until he’s a little older!