Sweet potatoes are known as one of the healthiest vegetables, making them a natural choice for babies. They're packed with nutrients such as vitamins A and C and beta carotene, and when cooked, they're soft enough to be mashed into various consistencies for baby's beginning eating stages. Give a younger baby, from 6 to 9 months, a sweet potato puree. A baby between 9 and 12 months can begin using his fingers to eat small chunks of the naturally tasty and mild sweet potato.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash the outer skin of the sweet potato well. Sweet potatoes are typically large, so one makes enough puree or chunks for several meals. Pureed sweet potato freezes well, so it's you can bake several sweet potatoes in advance for future meals.
Peel the rough skin from the sweet potato, revealing the orange-colored flesh. Rinse well, then cut the sweet potato into uniform chunks. If you plan on pureeing the baked sweet potato, create one- to two-inch chunks. If you're giving the chunks as finger food, cut them small enough for your baby to handle easily and so they're not a choking hazard -- about the size of a banana slice.
Arrange the sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with 1 teaspoon of olive oil for each potato you've sliced. Place in the preheated oven. Baking time will depend on the thickness of your chunks, so plan for 20 to 40 minutes, checking frequently. Press a fork over a chunk, and remove the pan from the oven when several chunks smash easily.
Puree the sweet potatoes with formula, breast milk, other pureed fruits and vegetables, or yogurt for younger babies. A food processor makes quick work of mashing the mild vegetable into a smooth puree for babies 6 to 9 months of age. Freeze unused portions in ice cube trays, then store the cubed baby food for up to six months in the freezer.
Serve small chunks of sweet potato if your baby is old enough to feed himself. Because sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, you needn't season the vegetable. Baked sweet potato chunks are excellent for both meals and snacks -- store them in the refrigerator for three to five days and heat as needed.
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