Squash seems harmless enough, but is it OK to feed your baby? When picking fruits and vegetables to give your baby when he or she is ready for solid foods, we often tend to think of the most obvious—peas, apples, sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots.
If you want to give your child something they will thoroughly enjoy as well as something that is good for them, why not give them squash?
Whether butternut, acorn or winter, squash, also known as marrows, has a rich and sweet taste with a velvety texture. Its flavor is often compared to that of a sweet potato. There are four types of squash species, and well known types of squash include pumpkin and zucchini. Though squash is considered a vegetable when cooking, it is technically a fruit.
Most babies are introduced to solid foods between four and six months of age. Until then, formula and breast milk provide all of your child’s essential nutrients. Your baby will give you clear signs to let you know that he or she is ready for solid foods. Some of these signs include head control, sitting well with support, chewing motions, significant weight gain, growing appetite and showing curiosity about what you are eating.
Can I Give My Baby Squash? Answer: After 6 Months
For most infants, you can start with any pureed solid food. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician if they have a preference as to if your child starts with fruits or vegetables. Once your baby is ready to take on pureed fruits or vegetables, squash is a great alternative to the normal sweet potatoes, green beans and peas found in commercial jarred food.
Squash is not a common allergen and is rarely the cause of allergic reactions in babies. It is also very easy to digest, minimizing constipation. The rich orange color of squash lets you know it’s got plenty of beta-carotene, which will convert to Vitamin a in your baby’s body. It is also a great source of the B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, and magnesium.
Getting your child used to squash is good for them not just now, but also later on in life, as it’s been shown to lessen the risk of developing colon cancer. As a side bonus, the high amounts of Vitamin C, as well as the beta carotene, have been linked to reducing the symptoms associated with asthma.
Squash can be prepared in numerous ways for your baby. It can be baked, steamed, boiled or barbecued. Squash roasts up to delicious and flavorful blend and if you puree it, it will have a thin, creamy texture. There are a great number of homemade baby food recipes that involve squash. These can be found in cookbooks or on the Internet.
When steaming or boiling, cut into small cubes, cook and then mash. If you find the consistency is too thick for your child, add some breast milk or formula to thin it out.
You can also serve the soft small cubes in finger food form, just make sure the pieces are cut up very small to prevent any choking hazards. Squash can also be easily pureed for a child, making it a great addition to their solid food diet.
When making squash, it is up to you whether you leave the seeds in or take them out. When pureed, your child will not even know the seeds were left in. However, when mashed, your child may feel the seeds on his or her tongue. One whole squash will usually make more than one jar of baby food for your child, which will end up saving you money.
Introducing New Foods
Remember that all new foods should be introduced to babies a minimum of three days apart. If you plan on introducing squash to your baby paired with another food, make sure you pair it with one your child has already consumed. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, you will know that squash was the culprit. Allergy symptoms can appear in many forms may include wheezing or a rash, wheezing or a rash, vomiting, or diarrhea. If any of these symptoms occur after your child eats, call 911 immediately.
Since it is high in vitamins and nutrients and can easily be cooked, squash makes a great addition to every child’s diet. Its sweet taste and creamy texture are enjoyable to babies everywhere, and should be a regular staple in your child’s menu. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s consumption of squash, contact your child’s pediatrician and discuss.