Babies love carrots, they are naturally sweet and full of flavor. Carrots are also easy to use as a baby lead weaning food, plus they’re packed with vitamins and fiber.
Making carrots a part of your baby’s diet is important for their health and for expanding / forming his/hers flavor palate. Carrots can actually be introduced between 6 and 8 months of age making a great stage 1 food for babies (as they can easily be pureed) or served whole (sticks) as finger food – for baby led weaning.
Carrots For Baby Led Weaning
Preparing carrots for babies with baby-led weaning method allows them to use their hand and fingers to pick up and feed themselves. Similar to breastfeeding it gives babies more control over how much they put in their mouths, based on hunger levels.
How To Prepare The Carrots For Baby Led Weaning?
If you’re asking how soft should carrots be for baby led weaning – they should be soft enough for you to smash with your fingers, but still able to hold it’s shape. So that your baby could easily be able to gum or chew it even without teeth.
- For 6-month-olds babies, offer the carrots (steamed and soft) sliced into thick strips or sticks so your baby can hold them in the fist and chew from the top down.
- For a 9 month old baby you can start cutting the carrots up into tiny bite-sized pieces or shreds (again: steamed and sot) that he/she can easily pick up. That’s usually when the child has developed her pincer grasp.
- At 12-18 months the carrots should still be cooked to a soft consistency and should either be served in thin slices, shreds, or diced into small pieces.
Raw Carrots For Baby Led Weaning
Some babies can start eating raw carrots at 14 months, it depends on the number of teeth and your child’s eating/chewing skills. If you observe that your child is quite skillful with chewing and biting, then there shouldn’t be a problem.
To serve, cut the carrot in half (if it’s large) or quarter the carrot lengthwise to make sticks. You can also offer a smaller full sized carrot to gnaw on the larger end, they’re less likely to splinter apart like a carrot stick would. And always watch because some pieces can break off and become a choking hazard.
How To Cook Carrots For Baby Led Weaning
When preparing carrots you have several options:
Steaming is the best method for cooking and preparing carrots when starting baby led weaning. Steaming is a gentler way to cook because they don’t come in contact with the boiling water. Through boiling carrots are losing more than 50% of their antioxidants. So steam the carrots for 5 minutes or so (for 1/4 inch thick pieces) this allows them to retain some of the structure and texture. This short cooking time also protects most of the carrots‘ vitamin C content, which can be lost during cooking.
Roasting makes the flavor of carrots just so much better, the caramelization of natural sugars in carrots will add another layer of flavor. Place the carrots (cut into fourths lengthwise) in a bowl, toss with a touch of olive oil (and salt – if baby is 12 months and older). Spread in an even layer in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F.
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Freezing is another great way for making carrots soft enough to chew and mash, while still maintaining their shape. First you need to wash, peel and cut the carrots into long, thin sticks (dry well). Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper in a single layer and freeze. Then you can transfer all together in a single container. This is a convenient way to take out small amount whenever you need and they become soft enough once thawed.
Can You Use Baby Carrots For Baby?
Baby carrots are very convenient due to their readiness to be eaten. BUT serving baby carrots or preparing food with baby carrots for babies might not be the healthiest option.
Baby carrots are basically regular carrots, peeled and cut up into smaller pieces. Then they are washed in a chlorine solution (as antimicrobial treatment similar to the chlorination of drinking water).
They say it’s a weak chlorine solution so we shouldn’t be worried about it, but according to scientists, even small amounts can alter the gut microbiota composition by reducing the populations of beneficial bacteria  and lead to gut dysbiosis. Which has now been linked to most of chronic non-communicable diseases in our days.
Younger babies are even more susceptible because their gut microbiota is still forming until about age three , and a disturbance in this process may cause immune diseases such as food allergies, atopic dermatitis, and asthma.
So to be safe it’s best to choose fully grown organic carrots. Peel and cut whenever ready to eat.
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