When can babies eat delicata squash?
Delicata squash that’s been peeled, deseeded, and cooked to a soft consistency may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old. Delicata is a great first squash because it can be easily cut into rings, which are easy for little hands to pick up and hold.
Is delicata squash healthy for babies?
Yes! Delicata squash is full of vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to thrive. Rich in B-vitamins, which convert nutrients into fuel for cell and tissue growth, delicata squash also has a good amount of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and copper, which aids iron absorption. Delicata squash also contains beta-carotene, which helps with eyesight and acts as an antioxidant to protect a baby’s body from toxins and irritants.
★Tip: Save your seeds! Just like whole seeds and nuts, delicata squash seeds are a choking hazards for babies and children under the age of five, but they’re a safe and healthy choice for you. All you need to do is toss them with oil and salt and bake them until they’re dried and toasted.
Is delicata squash a common choking hazard for babies?
Delicata squash should not pose a choking risk as long as it’s been peeled, deseeded, and cooked to a soft consistency. That said, any food can be a choking hazard in theory, so be sure to watch closely as your baby eats.
When serving delicata squash to your baby, take care with the rind: it is edible but it may present a choking hazard for young eaters. After your baby becomes a more experienced eater (or around 18 to 24 months old), you can try leaving some of the rind on after cooking.
Is delicata squash a common allergen?
No. Allergies to delicata squash are rare, though there have been reports of people getting an itchy rash on their hands after handling winter squashes.1 To minimize any reaction, wash your baby’s hands and face and your own hands after handling winter squashes and pumpkins.
How do you prepare delicata squash for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Peel the cooked squash and cut into thick 2 inch rings, removing the seeds as you go. Alternatively, you can serve mashed delicata squash on a pre-loaded spoon. Try offering the spoon in the air so the baby can easily take it from you or rest it on the edge of a bowl for them to pick up independently.
9 to 12 months old: For babies who are 9 months and older, you can either continue with the cooked rings as described above or try serving smaller, bite-sized pieces of peeled, cooked squash to encourage development of baby’s pincer grasp (where the pointer finger meets the thumb).
12 to 24 months old: Continue to serve peeled, cooked, bite-sized pieces of delicata squash. You can offer these on their own, as finger food, or with a fork for utensil practice. Encourage the child to self-feed by scooping with their hands, and if you’d like to encourage utensil use, pre-load an age-appropriate utensil and rest it next to the food for the child to pick up. Try not to apply too much pressure—consistent and accurate utensil use will come in due time—probably between 18 and 24 months of age.
How often should you offer solids? See our sample feeding schedules for babies of every age.
Recipe: Delicata Squash Rings
- Delicata squash
- Avocado, coconut, or olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Rinse the squash after peeling and pat it dry.
- Slice off each end of the squash, then cut crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and set them aside for yourself. Finish preparing the squash by cutting it into rings that are about ½-inch thick.
- Coat the squash rings with the oil of your choice. Arrange the rings in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are soft.
- Potter, T.S. & Hashimoto, K. (1994) Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) dermatitis. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1994.tb00588.x. (website) Retrieved Friday, January 3, 2020.