Oranges For Babies: Right Time To Introduce, Benefits, And Recipes

check_icon Research-backed

Mother’s milk is the prime source of nutrition for an infant in the initial six months. If you are planning for your baby’s weaning diet, you may be keen on including vitamin-rich fruits like oranges for babies. However, as you continue to breastfeed, you may have to begin solid diets for your baby at this time. This way, you can have your baby explore new tastes and various food textures. However, before adding fruits like oranges to your baby’s diet, you might want to understand the safety aspects of it. Read on as we discuss the possible reactions, health benefits, age-appropriate ways to include oranges in your baby’s diet, and some interesting yet easy recipes with oranges.

In This Article

When Can Babies Eat Oranges?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) observes that foods need not be delayed because they are typically allergenic, especially to babies who have no known risks of allergy or sensitivity (1).

So, if you want to introduce citrus foods earlier than 12 months, you may do so but do watch for any reactions. Start with moderate amounts and wait for three to five days between introducing any two new foods. This will help in identifying the cause of allergies if any.

However, if your baby has previously shown sensitivity to other acidic foods, wait for them to complete one year before you give oranges.

Reaction To Acidic Foods

If your baby is sensitive to acidic foods, orange might provoke rashes in babies younger than 12 months of age. The high acidic levels could result in diaper rashes and rashes around the mouth and lips.

Other possible outcomes of an allergic reaction could be hives, vomiting, wheezing, swelling, breathing troubles, watery eyes, diarrhea, or nausea. These symptoms may show up within two hours after eating the fruit. If you see any, seek medical attention. It is advisable to consult a pediatrician before offering any new food to the baby.

Sensitivity to citric acid: Babies are usually not sensitive to citric acid after they cross 12 months. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, and you will seldom find anyone with an allergy or severe sensitivity to vitamin C.

Health Benefits Of Oranges For Babies

Oranges are not just rich in vitamin C but also contain other vitamins and minerals. One orange contains approximately 12% of the RDA for fiber.

Value per 100 grams

Water86.7 g
Energy52 kcal
Protein0.91 g
Total lipid (fat)0.15g
Carbohydrate, by difference11.8g
Fiber, total dietary2g
Sugars, total8.50g
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid59.1mg
Vitamin B-60.079mg
Folate, DFE25µg

Source: USDA (2)

By evaluating the nutritive composition of the orange, we can deduce the following:

  1. Indigestion or dyspepsia is common among babies. Oranges can help in strengthening the digestive system of your baby.
  2. Feeding pulpy fruits such as oranges can help reduce the chances of constipation as it is high in fiber. Fresh orange juice, diluted with water, is believed to help in dealing with diarrhea.
  3. The vitamin C in oranges could help provide relief from cold and cough. The fruit could also protect your baby against secondary infections as it helps in building immunity.
Health fact
Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C which helps the body to absorb more iron from the food (3).

How To Serve Oranges To Babies?

You may serve the fruit in small slices instead of making a puree. Peel, section the orange, cut into pieces and de-seed. Peel off the membranes that cover the pulp bulbs and serve the bulbs to the baby. Cut them into bite-size pieces so that they don’t slip into the little one’s throat and choke them.

Feed fresh and sweet oranges. Check the condition of the fruit and avoid it if you find some soft spots.

Packaged orange juice or pulp might contain preservatives and added sugar. Also, the process of packaging reduces the nutrition in the juice. Therefore, make the juice at home and offer them fresh to your little one. Try to feed the juice as soon as it is prepared to avoid its oxidation. Give it in the baby’s favorite sipper to make it more interesting.

You may also mix the orange pulp with other fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, avocado, cranberries, peaches, sweet potato, yogurt, and chicken. We’ll tell you how, in the next section.

Simple Orange Recipes For Babies

1. Orange Yogurt Pops

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 orange (peeled, de-seeded)
  • 1 cup yogurt

How to:

  1. Puree the orange, add the yogurt and mix well.
  2. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
    Note: The popsicles are for toddlers and may not be suitable for babies.

2. Orange Juicy Carrots

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1/2 pound carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water

How to:

  1. Add water and orange juice to carrots in a saucepan.
  2. Steam carrots until tender.
  3. Mash if needed.

3. Orange Baby Sherbet

Image: IStock

Preparation time: 90 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 orange (peeled, de-seeded, cut)
  • 1 cup apple juice

How to:

  1. Blend orange, add apple juice, and blend further.
  2. Pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze for an hour.
  3. Blend once again. Transfer back to a container. Freeze until firm.

4. Orange Banana Mash

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 banana (sliced)
  • 4tbsp orange juice
  • 2tsp apple juice (unsweetened)
  • 1tbsp olive oil

How to:

  1. Add olive oil to a pan and keep it on medium heat.
  2. Add banana slices and sauté. Add orange juice and apple juice, and sauté for some more time.

5. Baby Orange Julius

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 5 minutes

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apple juice (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup breast milk or baby formula
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • A pinch of cinnamon

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients. Blend to get a runny consistency.

6. Orange Dahl

Image: IStock

Preparation time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon

How to:

  1. Pour water in a pan and add lentils to it. Cover it with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in orange juice and cinnamon. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the contents into a blender and blend well.

7. Yogurt With Mandarin Oranges For Babies

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 5 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges (sliced)
  • 1tbsp honey (optional)

How to:

  1. To a cup of yogurt, add crushed mandarin oranges. Add honey if desired.

Note: Mandarin is a small citrus tree with fruit resembling oranges.

8. Cranberry-Orange Smoothie

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 7 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup cranberry juice (with pulp)
  • 1 cup orange juice (with pulp)
  • A cup of milk

How to:

  1. Transfer the juices to a blender and blend until thick and smooth.
Quick tip
Replace milk with a cup of yogurt and add frozen banana to make the smoothie creamier and more nutritious.

9. Carrot Orange Puree Baby Food

Image: IStock

Preparation time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  • 1tbsp orange juice
  • ½ cup carrots (peeled, chopped)
  • Cinnamon

How to:

  1. Cook carrots until soft. Add in orange juice and cinnamon powder. Blend well.

Give oranges as fruit or churn out a yummy recipe from them. Either way, your baby is most likely to like the fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can babies have orange juice?

You may give orange or any other juice to your baby once they are on solids, as long as they do not show any reactions to acidic fruits. However, dilute one part juice with ten parts water. Offer not more than 120ml juice a day. Offer any fruit or vegetable juice in a cup or a beaker, not in a bottle and not before bedtime.

It is better to give your baby whole oranges than juice as the latter affects the enamel of the milk teeth. Also, as the pulp is lost from the fruit, several nutrients are lost.

2. Can babies eat mandarin oranges?

Yes, babies can eat mandarin oranges as they get close to 12 months if they do not show any allergic reactions to citrus fruits.

3. Is orange squash good for babies?

It’s not a good idea to offer fruit squashes and cordials to your baby. The high sugar and/or sweetener content in those drinks can cause tooth decay, besides encouraging your baby to have a sweet tooth. Moreover, they have little to no nutritional value.

4. What are the alternatives for citrus fruits?

Many foods other than citrus fruits can fulfill the daily vitamin C requirement of your baby, as they need only 35mg of it. The requirement can also be met through guava (richest source of vitamin-C), melons, ripe papayas, baked potatoes and spinach. These foods have a low incidence of food allergies and sensitivity reactions.

5. Can I use citrus acid to preserve homemade baby food?

Using a drop or two of lemon juice as a preservative in a fruit purée should be okay. The drops are spread throughout the purée, and it is less likely for the infant to consume it at one go. But, avoid it if your baby has a clear sensitivity to citrus foods.

When feeding oranges to babies for the first time, start with minimal amounts. Since it is a citrus fruit, your baby’s stomach may be sensitive to ascorbic acid. Introduce the fruit to them only after the recommended age. Start with smaller pieces, and later, give oranges to your baby in the form of juice or the delicious recipes listed above. Follow the three-day rule and make a note of any allergic reactions. If they show any signs of allergy, discontinue feeding your baby oranges and report to your pediatrician.

Infographic: Ways To Include Oranges In Baby’s Diet

Rich in vitamin C, oranges are juicy, pulpy citrus fruits that can be a delicious and healthy addition to your baby’s weaning diet. However, when feeding oranges to your little one, follow the tips in the infographic below. Take a printout of it and stick it to your kitchen wall!

how to feed oranges to your baby (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction Breastfeeding Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods and Hydrolyzed Formulas.
  2. Oranges raw navels.
  3. Health Benefits Of Orange.
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.