Mashed potatoes are pretty much a staple of the American cuisine. They go with just about everything, are relatively easy to make, and are a pretty cheap side dish. But is this something that a baby can be given, and if so, at what age?
While there is still a lot of debate about when the best time to start your baby on solid foods, or foods that the rest of the family is eating, it’s generally accepted that you can start introducing solid foods at the 6 month mark. This does not mean you suddenly stop breastfeeding and switch right over to baby food or finger foods. It means that as your baby develops, and as their teeth come in, it’s naturally time for them to start using those teeth, and giving them new foods to experience.
Continue to breastfeed for as long as you can and as long as your baby will take it. This is the healthiest thing for them. But giving them new foods in addition to this is part of the growth and development phase that is crucial for a healthy baby, toddler, and eventual adult.
Can I Give My Baby Mashed Potatoes? Yes, As a Solid
You can introduce mashed potatoes at the same time you begin to introduce solid foods to your baby, at around the 6 month mark as a supplement to breast milk, and one at a time so you can see how they react to the different foods. Although potato allergies are rare, you want to be careful and make sure that they don’t have a bad reaction to them. Also, don’t give them a big serving the first time around, because as we all know mashed potatoes are real “stick to your ribs” kind of food, and a little goes a long way with this starchy carbohydrate.
Are Mashed Potatoes Considered a Solid Food?
You should consider mashed potatoes a solid food, even though they’re all mashed up. The body still processes them the same way it would a solid food, and if you’ve prepared them at home, as you should, it might even have a few lumps in it. Also, if you’re making them at home, make sure you’ve fully peeled them, as some recipes say you can leave the peel on for more flavor and nutrients, it can present a choking hazard as it requires some extra chewing than the potato-ey part.
Is Butter OK?
Many people put butter in their mashed potatoes as part of the recipe and to make them taste good. You should be careful not to put too much butter in the portion that your baby receives, as you want to limit their fat intake, or at least monitor it so you know how much they’re getting. You also wanted to use unsalted butter when you give it to them.
Is Milk OK?
A lot of mashed potato recipes call for milk to be added to soften them up and make them creamier. If you haven’t introduced cow’s milk to your baby you should avoid putting into their serving of potatoes. If you’re still lactating, you can use breast milk for your baby’s portion, as this will give them added nutrients and avoid having to give them cow’s milk. If not, you can soften the mashed potatoes with a little water until they reach the desired consistency.
What About Instant Mashed Potatoes?
Many people make instant mashed potatoes because the process of washing, peeling, cutting, boiling, and mashing real potatoes is pretty involved, and can heat up the kitchen during the summer months. Instant mashed potatoes usually just involve adding water and popping it in the microwave. You should try to limit your baby’s intake of microwaved foods, and avoiding them altogether is the best way. You should also avoid giving them heavily processed foods, and instant mashed potatoes are extremely processed. If you insist on giving them instant, just be sure to follow the stove top directions and not the microwave ones.
Just be sure to give them mashed potatoes at a time when they haven’t had any other new foods for about 4 days. This will allow you to narrow it down to this food in the case of any adverse reaction.