Baby Meets Butternut (and alternatives to rice cereal)

There’s a new baby in the house!

OK, so she’s not my baby.  But we are related.

Mia is my grand-niece.  7 months old and full of personality.  Just like her mother, Alex. They drove up today to pay me a visit.

Time to make baby food.

Admittedly my “baby” is now 13.  It’s been a while since I had to feed an actual baby. Today was my lucky day.

And with all the hoopla over baby rice cereal, it’s good to know that there are other stand-in grains that make good first cereals.  They’re easy to make at home.

All you need is a blender.

Pearl barley ground to a fine powder.

Pearl barley ground to a fine powder.

We adapted a couple of recipes from The Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira.

We made grain cereal from pearl barley which is similar to a plump rice and packed with fiber.  I had some millet on hand as well.  It’s easily digested and loaded with B vitamins, amino acids and minerals.

Simply mix the cereal (created from blending a 1/4 cup of grain to a fine powder) into a saucepan with a cup of boiling water.  Reduce heat and whisk until smooth and water absorbed, about 5 minutes or so.

These cereals are wholesome first foods, but the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that partially breastfed babies–who get more than half of their food from breast milk–receive an iron supplement of 1mg/kg per day if they aren’t eating other iron fortified foods.

We also whipped out a butternut squash puree.  Making baby food is so ridiculously easy and requires so little work that it’s hard to see how Gerbers has stayed in business as long as it has.

So here’s a perfectly roasted organic butternut squash.  It was so large that I had to cut it in quarters to get my knife through it.  It was as easy as scraping the flesh out of the shell (after it cools!) and running it through the blender.  It was a perfect consistency although it could be thinned if necessary with water, breast milk or formula.

It’s a great first food for babies–full of lots of vitamins and beta-carotene.  Keep it stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in ice-cube trays and store in plastic freezer bags for up to 3 months.

They're done!Mia is known for her discerning palate and is quick to send food back to the kitchen if it is not prepared to her liking.  We waited anxiously while she examined it for texture and color.

First encounter with butternut squash.

First encounter with butternut squash.

OK so far...

OK so far…

She loves it!

She loves it!

Meet the new poster baby for butternut squash everywhere!

What first foods did your baby(ies) love?

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4 thoughts on “Baby Meets Butternut (and alternatives to rice cereal)

  1. Could there be a more convincing face? Butternut squash all around! When my girls were first eating solid food, I didn’t have a blender, vitamix or anything fancy, but a simple food mill worked well too. I put just about anything I cooked for myself through the food mill. We all the same thing, and I have never needed to make a separate “kids meal”.

    One of my kids did not appreciate being fed. Independent from day one, she fed herself, small cubes of tofu, cooked beans, peas, corn, cooked and cubed sweet potatoes, squashes, carrots, rutabaga, apples, pears and raw cubed avocado and bananas.

    Enjoy your visitors!

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