I think my 16 month old with 8 teeth could do softer dried fruits, but I'm sticking to fresh. I've had several mamas tell me dried fruit isn't great for teeth. The sugar is really concentrated and at this stage I'm not able to brush his teeth all that well. I'll be saving that for special treats at an older age.
We live in MN and the fresh fruit here in the winter can be pretty tasteless (and he doesn't really like apples) so we started using a lot of craisins, raisins and chopped up dried apricots at about 15 months old (his second winter), might have done some raisins before 12 months. My son has always been a very coordinated eater so I have given him many foods earlier than I might with a kid who doesn't have as much awareness of the size they are trying to swallow. I also like them because the nutrition is very concentrated and he doesn't like to eat much quantity of any food.
DD is 15months and she's been eating prunes (cut in half) since she was about a year old. She loves them and they certainly keep her regular!
We haven't done raisins since they seem too tiny for her (or rather, too tiny for me to feel comfrotable with them!), but she has had other dried fruits now and then. I agree that dried fruit is more of a "treat"...not something she gets every day.
Before a year. Probably 8 months or so (and I'd bite them in half if they seemed to big.) Raisens were one of two things she'd eat at that age (the other being cheese.) She still loves her raisens but doesn't seem to like other dried fruit though.
Probably around a year. She loves dried fruit. She goes crazy if she sees raisens in the store, lol. Ani has always been good about chewing, though, has never seemed like she was choking on something or anything.
I have heard about tooth decay and dried fruit, but it has to be better than most junk food, right? right?
We're not big into dried fruit in our family, but do have it around on occassion when we're out of fresh produce or no produce at the co-op is looking any good. ds first had raisens at maybe 11 months (??). He's not a fan, so he has only tried them a couple times since then (he's now 15 months). But he handled them fine from the start.
My DD eats raisins sometimes. I guess the first time I gave them to her was around 20 months old, or maybe a little earlier-- when I judged her chewing skills were up to the job. She's never had any other dried fruit, mostly just because I eat other kinds myself. I think the raisins are helpful for keeping her bowels moving, and she regards them as a big treat. They are really bad as far as tooth decay, so you want to be sure and encourage frequent toothbrushing.
i think around 12-15 mos. he likes craisins and eats them maybe once or twice a month. they aren't frequent, but they make a nice treat when things get tough (long shopping trip for example).
i agree with pp that while they are nature's "candy", they would still be better than soda and sweets, so i wouldn't let their sugar level stop me from giving them. they do have nutritional value, so that makes the difference to me.
She probably started eating raisins around 10 months. She prefers to feed herself, and enjoyed picking them up at that stage.
She went through a dried fruit phase around 16 months, when it was winter and I had lots of it around. This included dried apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, apricots, cranberries, mango, and I'm sure there are more.
DH keeps prunes in his desk drawer at work, and DD has remembered to look for them when she is there. They make for some awful diapers!
DD is just 23 pounds at 2 years, so if she wants to eat anything remotely reasonable, she gets it.
PP asked about dried fruit and "junk food"...although the sugar in dried fruit is pretty high, you're right, it's better for everyone than junk food. The real tooth decay problem is that the dried fruit is sticky. It sticks to the teeth much longer than many "junk foods" and so it can have a big impact on the teeth. Brushing after eating a sticky sweet is always a good idea.