When can babies have butternut squash?
Butternut squash may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Is butternut squash healthy
Yes. Butternut squash is an excellent source of fiber and offers plenty of vitamin A for eyesight, B vitamins for healthy blood, vitamin C for resilient skin, and vitamin E for brain development. Squash seeds contain even more vitamin E than the flesh! While all of these vitamins support your baby’s immune system, vitamin C has a special superpower: it helps your baby absorb iron from plant-based foods that are packed with the essential nutrient. If making for your baby at home, serve butternut squash with iron-rich foods like beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds can pack an extra nutritional punch. What’s more, butternut squash is high in carotenoids— a fancy word for plant compounds, some of which our bodies convert to vitamin A. In fact, the longer that butternut squash is allowed to cure after harvest, the more carotenoids it produces.1 Studies indicate that carotenoids may reduce the risk of cancer and help regulate free radicals that our bodies naturally produce.
How to prepare butternut squash for your baby!
6 to 9 months old: Roast and Puree your squash or let your baby munch on well-cooked crescent-shaped or half-moon pieces. You can also mash butternut squash for baby to eat with their hands or from a pre-loaded spoon. If a too-big piece of food from the crescent-shaped pieces breaks off while eating, stay calm and give your child a chance to work the food forward independently.
9 to 12 months old: Serve bite-size pieces of well-cooked butternut squash if your baby has developed their pincer grasp and consider continuing to offer large pieces of well-cooked butternut squash for biting and tearing practice. Mashed butternut squash is a great food for spoon practice at this age as well because it grips the spoon, increasing baby’s chances for scooping success and allowing baby plenty of time to get the loaded spoon to their mouth before all the food falls off the utensil!
12 to 24 months old: Offer bite-sized pieces of well-cooked butternut squash along with a fork to encourage utensil practice. Help show how it is used by pre-loading the fork for your baby to pick up independently. If your child is not interested in using their fork or spoon, keep in mind that using utensils can be exhausting for new eaters, and many toddlers toggle back and forth between feeding themselves with their fingers and practicing with utensils. Try not to apply too much pressure—consistent and accurate utensil use will come in due time, and probably between 18 and 24 months of age