top of page

SWEET POTATO | 6 mos+ |🥇🔥🌈

Updated: Feb 9


prevent choking, starting solids, feeding baby, feeding toddlers, gagging, how to feed baby, first foods, choking hazard, baby-led weaning, blw, baby-led feeding, gagging vs. choking, sweet potato for babies, sweet potato recipes, finger foods, baby food

Sweet potatoes rank as one of the healthiest vegetables. They are filled with different macro and micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates. Most babies really enjoy this multifunctional vegetable, just like most adults do.


DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.

Contents


When can I give sweet potato to my baby?

Babies can eat sweet potatoes as soon as they are ready to start eating solid foods, which is usually when they are around 6 months of age and have met all the readiness signs for solids, unless otherwise advised by your baby's healthcare provider. This delicious, creamy, and sweet vegetable is an incredible choice for your baby’s finger food. However, sweet potatoes contain a type of sugar called mannitol that can cause gassiness in some babies. So if your baby has had any digestive issues, it would be best not to offer sweet potatoes as their very first food.


Preparing to eat with your baby; parenting workshop; baby led weaning workshop; baby led weaning; starting solids; first foods; blw; baby led feeding; workshop

​You can give your baby a safe start to solid foods! This on-demand workshop will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to wean well.



Is sweet potato a healthy food for babies?

Sweet potatoes rank as one of the healthiest vegetables. They are filled with different macro and micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates. Most babies really enjoy this multifunctional vegetable, just like most adults do.

The orange-fleshed varieties are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for a baby’s growth and vision. It also stores other vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin C, which aid in the development of a strong immune system. Babies are sensitive to infections. A strong immune system helps to protect your baby from different kinds of infection.

The dietary fiber in the sweet potato helps with better digestion for your baby, prevents constipation, and eases the bowel movement.

Your baby needs the energy to move their little tiny hands and feet. And sweet potatoes are packed with complex carbs, which the body uses for energy. Carbohydrates not only give energy to the body, but also helps in various other important functions.

Additionally, this yummy potato helps in the development of strong bones and glowing skin. It also offers antioxidants, which are three times more concentrated in the skin than the flesh.

Fun Fact: Despite their common name, sweet potatoes are not simply potatoes that are sweet. In fact, they are not even botanically related to the standard potato, which is a stem tuber, while sweet potatoes are the edible enlarged roots of a flowering vine.


Is sweet potato a safe food for babies?

Sweet potatoes are not known for containing common food safety hazards. They may contain pesticide residue on their surface layer, however, they have fewer pesticides than any other vegetable. You may buy organic or remove the peel of the sweet potato to help reduce exposure to pesticides, but bear in mind that there are a lot of valuable nutrients present in their skin as well.



Is sweet potato a choking hazard for babies?

Sweet potatoes are not listed on CDC's list of most common choking hazards for babies. However, they need to be cooked to a soft consistency (you can easily mash it between your fingers) in order to be offered to your baby safely. See section “How to prepare and offer” for more information on how to safely offer sweet potatoes to your baby.

choking prevention at mealtimes; preventing choking; choking hazards; starting solids; first foods; baby led weaning; blw; baby led feeding; choking; gagging; parenting workshop

This workshop covers everything you need to know for dealing with gagging, reducing the risk of choking during mealtimes, and offering safe food sizes and shapes to your child.



Note: Keep in mind that any food can present a risk for choking if not prepared correctly. You are responsible for following age and food modification guidelines provided in order to reduce your baby’s risk for choking.

Is sweet potato a top food allergen for babies?

Allergies to this vegetable are not very common. However, each person's body responds differently to foods consumed. Whenever you give your baby a food for the first time, offer it in small quantities and watch for any signs of a reaction. If your baby seems to tolerate the food well and you see no adverse reaction, then continue to gradually increase portion sizes when you offer the food again to your baby. If your baby shows any symptoms like diarrhea, skin hives, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling of mouth, weakness, or dizziness, after the consumption of sweet potatoes, consult the pediatrician. These symptoms can be a sign of sweet potato allergy or intolerance.


Note: Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding introducing solid foods to your baby, and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.

How to buy sweet potatoes for babies

Select potatoes that have smooth and bright skin with little blemishes. Choose the ones with even-colored skins. Never buy a sweet potato with brown or soft spots. Avoid purchasing a vegetable that has deep holes or cuts on them, as it may be contaminated. If you find discoloration or any kind of liquid oozing from the sweet potato, avoid buying it. Also, buy these vegetables from a trustworthy market to avoid excess pesticides or contamination.


When are sweet potatoes in season?


Sweet potatoes are available year-round. They grow well in the presence of sunlight and hot temperature. And their peak season is from late August to early December.


In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. They also tend to cost less compared to out-of-season produce. Seasonal produce in your area will vary by growing conditions and weather.


How to store sweet potatoes


The best way is to store them in a cool, dry, and dark place (such as a cellar). It’s best to consume them within a week, but they can be stored for a month. There is no need to refrigerate the sweet potatoes.

To maximize the shelf life of cooked sweet potatoes for safety and quality, refrigerate the potatoes in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Properly stored, cooked potatoes will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. You may also freeze them for up to 3 months.

Store leftovers safely

Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder within 2 hours of cooking, or 1 hour if exposed to temperatures above 90°F (like a hot car or picnic). This will help prevent food poisoning.

Keep fresh baby food made with turkey in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. To freeze baby food made with turkey, place it in a regular ice cube tray to freeze, a silicone ice cube tray with a lid, or a small freezer bag with the contents pressed flat. Store frozen baby food in a freezer storage bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw the baby food, simply remove a cube (or as many as you need) and place into airtight containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge.


How to prepare and offer sweet potato to babies


prevent choking, starting solids, feeding baby, feeding toddlers, gagging, how to feed baby, first foods, choking hazard, baby-led weaning, blw, baby-led feeding, gagging vs. choking, sweet potato for babies, sweet potato recipes, finger foods, baby food

To safely offer a sweet potato to your baby, first wash it under cool running water, then cut it into sizes and shapes appropriate to baby’s age, development stage, and feeding skills (see suggestions below). Make sure it is cooked to a soft consistency that passes the “squish test” (you can easily mash it between your fingers).

There are a variety of methods for cooking sweet potatoes for your baby. You can bake, roast, boil, steam, or grill it. Try steaming vegetables rather than boiling, since it will cause less loss of nutrients. If boiling sweet potatoes, you can save the water to use in other preparations like soups or stews. Let the sweet potato cool down before serving it to your baby.

Purees: once cooked, mash the sweet potatoes with the help of a blender, spoon, fork, or potato masher. If needed, add some of the leftover boiled water, breast milk, or formula to get to the desired consistency. Offer to baby via spoon feeding or by preloading a baby spoon and placing it on their tray or hand so they can self-feed.


6+ months: mashed or puree on a baby spoon
prevent choking, starting solids, feeding baby, feeding toddlers, gagging, how to feed baby, first foods, choking hazard, baby-led weaning, blw, baby-led feeding, gagging vs. choking, sweet potato for babies, sweet potato recipes, finger foods, baby food

Baby M, 6 months old, eating mashed sweet potato


Don't get stuck on purees! It's completely ok to start with only pureed foods, if that feels more comfortable to you. However, keep in mind that purees are just a transitional phase into finger foods. It shouldn't last for more than a few days or a couple of weeks. Aim to start exposing your baby to lumpy and finger foods no later than 8 months, unless otherwise advised by your baby's health care provider.


Finger food 6 to 9 months old: At this age babies are only able to grab food with their whole palm, so the best way to offer sweet potatoes to baby is in the form of cooked sticks. Cut potato lengthwise into sticks that are about the length and width of an adult pinky. You may also offer round or half moon slices, just make sure they are at least as big as baby's fist and about the thickness of an adult finger. These shapes reduce the risk for choking while allowing your baby to easily grab the potato and eat it independently.

6+ months: cooked sweet potato cut into circular slices, into half-moon slices, or into strips/sticks about the size and shape of an adult finger

Baby L, 6 months old, eating roasted sweet potato strips

You can also offer mashed sweet potatoes in a suction bowl so your baby can scoop it with their hands. Try adding some butter or olive oil to make the scooping easier.


Another option is to preload a baby spoon with some mashed sweet potatoes or potato puree and place it on baby’s tray or hands to encourage self-feeding.


prevent choking, starting solids, feeding baby, feeding toddlers, gagging, how to feed baby, first foods, choking hazard, baby-led weaning, blw, baby-led feeding, gagging vs. choking, sweet potato for babies, sweet potato recipes, finger foods, baby food

Baby Z, 6 months old, eating sweet potato for the first time

Finger food 9 to 12 months old: you can continue to offer cooked potato sticks or fries. However, at this stage babies begin to use their pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up small pieces of food, and some babies might not be as interested in stick shapes anymore, so you can move into bite sizes of food about the size of a garbanzo bean.

Cut the sweet potato into small cubes before or after cooking it. Then place bite-sized pieces on your baby’s tray, or preload a baby fork with one of the potato cubes and give it to baby so they can bring it to their mouth independently.


9+ months: cooked sweet potato diced into bite size pieces about the size of a garbanzo bean

This is also a great stage to start mixing sweet potatoes with other foods and making preparations, since your baby should have already been exposed to a few different foods, and you probably already ruled out some of the possible food allergies or intolerance. You may add any of the following to your baby’s sweet potatoes: butter or extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped parsley, cilantro, mint or sage, ground spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg.



Finger food 12+ months old: continue to serve bite-sized pieces of sweet potato to your baby or other forms suggested above. Serve this vegetable with different dips, because toddlers love to dip stuff. And continue to use sweet potatoes in different preparations (see recipes below).


As your little one gets more skilled with the spoon, try offering a sweet potato “boat” (half of a baked sweet potato) that they can scoop independently by using a small spoon. Make sure to let the sweet potato cool down before serving it to your baby.


12+ months: sweet potato “boat” (half of a baked sweet potato) or whole baked potato
prevent choking, starting solids, feeding baby, feeding toddlers, gagging, how to feed baby, first foods, choking hazard, baby-led weaning, blw, baby-led feeding, gagging vs. choking, sweet potato for babies, sweet potato recipes, finger foods, baby food

Note: Finger foods are small pieces of food that your baby can pick up and eat easily. Introducing finger foods early, as soon as starting solids, helps your baby get used to different food textures, improves coordination and encourages self-feeding. These are important feeding skills. Babies can enjoy soft finger foods before they have teeth. They can mash foods into smaller pieces using their gums.


⚠️Avoid putting finger foods or whole foods in your baby's mouth for them. Your baby must do this at their own pace and under their own control.⚠️


Sweet potato meal ideas for babies:

  • Serve baked sweet potato strips with plain yogurt for dipping.

  • Add mashed sweet potatoes to baby cereal, porridge, yogurt or applesauce.

  • Mix mashed potato with beans and shape like balls, patties or sausages for self-feeding.

Recipes



 

As always, discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. This post and this site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. The materials and services provided by this site are for informational purposes only.

 

Library Symbol Legend

Here in our Food Library we use some symbols or emojis to make it easier for you to find what you need. Listed below are the symbols we use and what they mean.


🔥 - this is a high-calorie food. You should include a high-calorie food at each meal.

💪 - this is an iron-rich food. You should include an iron-rich food at each meal.

🌈 - this is a colorful food. You should include a fruit and/or a vegetable at each meal.

🥇 - this food is a great choice for baby's first food.

🌱 - this food is a great choice for plant-based babies.

💩 - this is a food that helps prevent or treat constipation.

🥜 - this food contains peanuts, a common food allergen.

🍳 - this food contains egg, a common food allergen.

🐄 - this food contains cow's milk, a common food allergen.

🌾 - this food contains wheat, a common food allergen.

✳️ - this food contains soy, a common food allergen.

💮 - this food contains sesame seed, a common food allergen.

🌰 - this food contains tree nuts, a common food allergen.

🐠 - this food contains fish, a common food allergen.

🍤 - this food contains shellfish, a common food allergen.

⚠️ - this food is a common choking hazard. Make sure to follow age and preparation guidelines.

- tips, tricks, and hacks.


References



Recommended Guides and Classes
HELLO THERE!
I'M PRISCILA, DIETITIAN AND MOTHER OF THREE

My passion is to help you feed your child with confidence from the very first bite!

Starting solids with your baby and helping your child learn to like healthy foods can be simple and stress-free. I can’t wait to share with you how!

>>More about Priscila

>>Work with Priscila

pri jan 2017-1997.jpg
THE QUICK-START GUIDE TO SOLIDS! (1).png
sit chop chew watch cover (Instagram Post).png
bottom of page