Sweet Potato For Babies (6 months+): All you Need To Know
Introducing sweet potatoes to your baby at an early age is a great way to provide beneficial nutrients for development. Steamed, roasted, baked, boiled, pureed or mashed, sweet potatoes can be served as first solid baby food beginning with 6 months of age.
Whether you choose to serve sweet potatoes as baby led weaning or not, there is plenty of ways to turn sweet potatoes into baby food and finger food. In this post, we will discuss all you need to know about serving sweet potatoes for babies. We will cover topics such as the nutritional value of sweet potatoes, when to start feeding them, how much to serve and what’s the best way to prepare them.
Related: Potatoes For Baby: How To Prepare & Serve (BLW)
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Babies
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body and is important for vision and immunity. In different studies it has been shown to improve vitamin A status of infants and young children when consumed regularly.
They are also a good source of fiber, potassium, iron, coper, manganese, vitamins C and B-complex. These bioactive phytochemicals, either singly or collectively, exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, as well as bowel-regulation properties. Hence the sweet potatoes are beneficial for constipation by increasing the population of good bacteria, exerting a prebiotic-like activity.
All of these nutrients are important for babies as they help with growth and health, but their presence and assimilation depends on how the sweet potatoes are cooked.
How To Cook & Serve Sweet Potatoes To Babies
The sweet taste and eye‐pleasing orange color of sweet potatoes is very attractive to children in comparison with other veggies. Therefore serving sweet potatoes as a first baby food is a breeze, no matter how you cook it.
But here are the best ways to cook sweet potatoes for baby in order to preserve the most nutrients intact:
- Steaming is one of the best ways to prepare sweet potato for baby. This method of cooking preserves the most of it vitamins as there is less contact with water and has a short exposure to heat.
- How to: steam on medium-low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes (it depends on the size) or until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Use a steaming basket for best results.
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- Baking / Roasting sweet potato for babies is the second best option.
- How to: chop the sweet potatoes into desired size (strips or cubes). Brush with oil (healthier oil to use is olive oil or avocado oil). Spread on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and roast until soft, approximately 35-40 minutes.
Another way to bake a sweet potato is whole, with the skin on. Just wash, pierce it with a fork a few times and bake it for 45-55 minutes (depending on size) at 400F. Then just scoop the insides with a spoon or fork.
- Boiling sweet potatoes usually is the least preferred method, the most nutrients will leach into the boiling water that you will likely discard. This method is best when you make soups and purees as you would keep the water with all the leached nutrients.
- How To: Cut the sweet potatoes into small/medium cubes and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer (covered with a lid) until soft when pierced with a fork. Then you can mash them if you like.
How To Serve Sweet Potato To A 6 month Old Baby
- Pureed (cooked and mashed sweet potato blended with some liquid to thin it out). As liquid you can use water, breastmilk, stock or some milk (animal or plant based).
- Baby led weaning (as finger food), cut into strips and cooked. You can also prepare some sweet potato pancakes or fritters with grated sweet potato, for more experienced eaters.
The highest nutritional value is provided by the purple sweet potato. It has more antioxidants than other sweet potatoes. However the orange sweet potato is one of the best sources of β-carotene.
Sweet potatoes and yam are two different root veggies. Nutritionally they don’t differ much except that sweet potatoes are slightly higher in beta-carotene and vitamin C than yams. And yams tend to be starchier and drier than sweet potatoes. In U.S. grocery stores you will likely distinguish them in a different way:
Yam – with a copper skin and deep orange flesh.
Sweet potato – with a golden skin and lighter flesh.
Yes, you can give sweet potatoes every day to your baby as long as you mix it up with other fruits and vegetables so your baby gets a variety of nutrients.
There is no one-size-fits all answer, the amount you can serve depends on your baby’s age and appetite. A good rule of thumb is to start with one tablespoon of sweet potato puree (when starting at six months) or it’s equivalent if it’s roasted, and gradually increase the amount.
You can start sweet potatoes for your baby at around six months old. If your baby is younger than six months, you should consult your pediatrician before starting sweet potatoes or any other new food.
If your baby has a history of allergies, especially to orange veggies, you should consult your pediatrician before starting sweet potatoes. If your baby does not have a history of allergies, watch for signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or vomiting after eating sweet potatoes.
Every baby is different, it may be constipating for some and actually help others. Sweet potatoes can actually help with constipation because they are a good source of fiber and are a good source of pre-biotics that can benefit their gut microbiome. Usually babies that tend to have a low diversity of good bacteria in their stool are more likely to be constipated. So the culprit might be the health of their microbiome and not the sweet potato itself. And sometimes adding sweet potatoes to a diet that is already constipating can make matters worse.
I hope you found this sweet potato for babies post helpful! If you have any questions or want to share your experience, please leave a comment below!
And if you want more sweet potato recipes for your baby, check out these baby food ideas:
- Sweet Potato Apple Broccoli Puree For Baby Stage 2 (6 month +)
- Sweet Potato Fritters (Latkes) For Babies & Toddlers
- Sweet Potato Pancakes For Baby/Toddler/Kids
Sweet Potato For Babies (6 months+) and Toddlers
- 1 Sweet Potato
- Steam on medium-low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes (it depends on the size) or until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Use a steaming basket for best results.
- Chop the sweet potatoes into desired size (strips or cubes). Brush with oil (healthier oil to use is olive oil or avocado oil).
- Spread on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and roast until soft, approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Another way to bake a sweet potato is whole, with the skin on. Just wash, pierce it with a fork a few times and bake it for 45-55 minutes (depending on size) at 400F. Then just scoop the insides with a spoon or fork.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small/medium cubes and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer (covered with a lid) until soft when pierced with a fork. Then you can mash them if you like.
- To mash the sweet potato just use a fork, no liquid is needed.
- Pureed (cooked and mashed sweet potato blended with some liquid to thin it out).As liquid you can use water, breastmilk, stock or some milk (animal or plant based).
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