So after 6 months of being exclusively breastfed, I was beyond excited to start purees with Layla. I couldn’t wait to see her face as she experienced new flavors and textures, figure out what she liked and disliked and made a huge mess of herself. As soon as she turned 6 months, out came the butternut squash from my garden that I baked, pureed and froze months earlier (only the best for my little girl!!). I thawed it out, got her settled in her high chair, opened one of the (many) packages of spoons I have and gave her a bite. Her first bite of food! I was sure her eyes would light up, realizing just how tasty food was…but BOY was I wrong. Layla screamed bloody murder when I tried to feed her. So the next night I tried rice cereal. Then avocado puree. Then I tried carrots and green peas. Nothing worked. For a month, we battled at dinner time while she screamed the entire time, closed her mouth as tight as possible, spit out whatever I managed to get in, etc. You get the picture. So one day, I had had enough. I dumped the puree on her high chair and let her play around with it and she actually smiled. She attempted to put it in her mouth, and may have even swallowed some. Dinnertime was fun again! So I realized something. My daughter wasn’t opposed to food…she just didn’t like purees! Whether it’s a texture thing, or she’s just Miss. Independent and wanted to do it all herself, I”ll never know. But the point is, she wanted to eat! Check out her face on the left (oh helllll no Mama get that spoon away from me) and on the right (this whole food thing is fun Mom – why didn’t we start this awhile ago?!).
At this point, I realized I couldn’t continue to throw purees on the high chair and *hope* that she ingested some. I began reading a little bit about baby led weaning, and realized that’s what we needed to do. Almost immediately, I reached for sweet potatoes. The first time I tried, I failed. I made them too skinny and the outsides got a bit too hard for her. Next time around I made wedges and those worked perfectly. So last weekend, I went on a hunt for organic sweet potatoes and could only find them by the bag. There was no way I could use that many before they would go bad, so I decided to make them all and freeze them. This was so easy and my girl will have sweet potato fries for weeks now. First things first, scrub the potatoes. You might think you can skip this step since you’re peeling the potatoes, but then the peeler will transfer all the dirt and grime to the potato – yuck! Just take a few minutes and scrub them until they are nice and clean.
Next step, cut them into wedges. Make them bigger then your typical sweet potato fry. You want something baby can grab onto and hold. Then you boil some water. Once the water is boiling, you want to throw the fries in for 6-7 minutes. The point here is to parboil them, just enough so that you can freeze them. You don’t want them fully cooked at this point. When they’re done, run them under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Last but certainly not least. Take the wedges and line them on a baking sheet. Make sure they’re not touching. Stick the pan in the freezer for at least an hour. Then simply put all of the now frozen wedges into a ziploc bag (don’t forget to label them!!). Now you can take out as many as you want, when you need them. When you’re ready to eat them, bake them for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. This totally depends on how big yours are, but that’s how long mine took. It’s not rocket science – they just need to be cooked through! So check them a few times to see how they’re doing. You’ll know when they’re done. I sprayed the pan with a little bit of cooking spray, then I brushed a tiny bit of olive oil on the fries too. These were super easy and Layla loves them – I send them to daycare and she gobbles them up! I’m so happy to be feeding her real food that I am making – I love knowing that she’s not eating anything that I can’t pronounce!
This girl loves to eat anything that she can hold in her hand – here’s a picture of her enjoying a picnic lunch (her lunch was french fries – an alternative to sweet potato fries!).