First Foods for Baby: Pureed Sweet Potato, Winter Squash and Peas

Pureed sweet potatoes, squash and peas – photo taken during the shoot with the talented Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmand for the book. Thank you Bea!

The first morsel of food for your baby constitutes a huge developmental step for your baby. Until now, your baby has been nourished by milk, whether breastmilk or formula. At 4-6 months, your baby is ready for solids, and for the caregiver, this can seem like a very daunting task.

The same questions plague everyone – what do I feed my baby? How much? How often? What are the best foods to begin with? How do I prepare the foods?

On this blog I will develop a first foods section that deals with feeding techniques, preparation, preserving the food, selection of ingredients, quantity and timing questions, allergy issues, as well as the kinds of foods that can be introduced monthly.  For all questions on when to start your baby on solids, which foods to begin with, and what your baby might be allergic to, please consult your pediatrician first.

For the first few months, Smart Bites for your baby is about providing the freshest organic, and preferably locally produced foods, cooked at home without any preservatives.

Yes, it is easier to get it straight from a jar.

Indeed, it requires a bit more effort than opening a jar and spooning out the contents.

But if you can make the extra effort, it means you will be providing your baby with fresh food, rather than pre-pureed foods that have been sitting on a shelf for weeks. It is no secret that freshly cooked and pureed food is tastier. And many times, it retains more nutrients.

And while it may seem overwhelming at first, it is a joyful routine that you will quickly get used to, and you can make large batches that you can keep in your freezer for quick use.

Today, I would like to share three simple purees for first foods – sweet potatoes, winter squash and peas. All of the purees can and should be thinned out, preferably by either breast milk or formula. The very first bites should be very liquid and runny like a soup.

Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes

A bit of formula or breast milk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.

2. Make small holes or slices in the potatoes with a knife or a long pick.

3. Roast for 45-60 minutes until very tender. Let cool.

4. Cut open the potatoes and with a spoon, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor until very smooth, making sure there are no chunks.

5. Put in a small bowl and in a small serving dish, take a tablespoon of the puree and add breast milk or formula little at a time to thin out the consistency. It should be soupy. Serve at room temperature.

Winter Squash

Ingredients:

½ cup cubed winter squash

A bit of formula or breast milk

1. Bring a pot of water to boil under a steamer basket.

2. Add the squash and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until very tender.

4. Puree in a food processor until very smooth, making sure there are no chunks.

5. Put in a small bowl and in a small serving dish, take a tablespoon of the puree and add breast milk or formula little at a time to thin out the consistency. It should be soupy. Serve at room temperature.

Peas

Ingredients:

1 cup of green peas, fresh or frozen

A bit of formula or breast milk

1. Bring a pot of water to boil under a steamer basket.

2. Add the peas and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until very tender.

4. Puree in a food processor until very smooth, making sure there are no chunks.

5. Put in a small bowl and in a small serving dish, take a tablespoon of the puree and add breast milk, formula or cooking liquid, little at a time to thin out the consistency. It should be soupy. Serve at room temperature.

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