Homemade First Foods for 6 and 7 Months Old Babies
by Lara Mannell
(USA and Lebanon)
Xaia’s First Squash
When Xaia turned 6 months she started on squash and peas. The peas didn’t agree with her at first, she got red bumps on the corner of her mouth. We tried giving them to her again 2 weeks later when we were in Miami, and the bumps were worse. So we stopped peas for a few weeks. About a month or so later I started blending the peas in with other foods and they passed. In my opinion (and this is strictly personal), people are way too afraid of allergies. A few bumps here and there on the face most of the time do not mean allergies. They could just be an indication that the baby’s system is adjusting to that type of food. Thank God Xaia has no allergies as of yet and we were able to experiment with all kinds of foods. From 6 to 8 months she had already eaten salmon, blueberries, meats, and others. Just make sure when you introduce a new food to watch for reactions that’s all.
We started with 1 teaspoon full a day. It’s better to give it to her in the morning so if there is any reaction you will notice it by the end of the day. So every morning for the first month she would have her morning feeding of breast milk, then about an hour later one teaspoon full of squash let’s say, which averages about 3 or 4 of her spoon size. And then go on the rest of the day on just milk.
About a month later, at the age of 7 months, Xaia started having 2 meals a day. We kept the same size but we would give her 1 on her second feeding like the month before, and another one around 4pm. Of course your baby’s pattern will be different. Keep in mind, every baby is different.
So for the first 2 months, she had peas, squash (acorn and butternut), green beans and a combination of these 3. I didn’t want to introduce her to fruits yet so she doesn’t get used to the sweet taste and refuse veggies. But on the hindsight, that theory is moot because once I started giving her fruits she preferred those and stopped liking pure vegetables. But that’s ok, because by that time she was ready for full meals, I will post some recipes of those and talk about them in my next few posts.
Below are 2 ways to prepare butternut or acorn squash:
Option 1- Cut the squash in half and empty out the seeds. Lay both halves face down in an oven tray. Then add about an inch or 2 of water and cook in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for about 40 minutes or until the shell puckers out. Scoop out the meat and blend them adding water if necessary. For older kids just mash them with a fork.
Option 2- Let the squash mature for about a week or a week and a half so you can cut it. Then dice the squash into cubes about 1 or 2 in cubes and store them in your freezer. When you are ready to cook, just take out the cubes and steam them in a baby food processor or boil them in the water for about 15 minutes or until they’re tender enough to mash them with a fork. In a blender add the steamed squash along with its juice and puree them. For older babies add the juice and just mash them with a fork.
Now I keep all kinds of veggies in the freezer.I always have diced squash, diced sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, and green beans ready in the freezer. I buy the peas and cut spinach and green beans already frozen from Whole Foods. When I’m ready to prepare a quick meal for her I just throw in the steamer a mix of veggies, puree them and in 10 minutes she has a ready-to-eat meal. Just be careful with the temperature, the food straight out of the steamer needs to cool down before babies can eat it.
I do recommend buying a baby food processor if you are going to be cooking for your baby all the time. It’s so much worth it. Plus, steaming the food is the healthiest way to cook the veggies and the fruits because it maintains all the nutrients.
If you are like me, adventurous and ready to give your 6 or 7 month old baby some salmon (which is great for brain development), stay tuned…