My first attempt at home made baby food was a huge success, and this boosted my confidence even further to continue on with home made baby food for now. The first food she had was green beans, and I wanted to follow up with peas. But considering that we are in the fall harvest season there are no fresh peas to be found! My only option would be to use canned or frozen peas but for me that would defeat the purpose of making fresh homemade food for her. I strolled around the farmers market trying to decide what next to introduce her to and the one vegetable they had in abundance was squash. They had so many types of squash; acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, winter squash... I hesitated to try squash because I don't usually cook squash but it seemed pretty simple and straight forward. So I bought some butternut squash and took it home to give it a try.
Originally I was planning to peel it, cube it and then steam or boil it, but that seemed like so much work and all the baby recipe books say its easier to just bake it. So I washed and scrubbed the squash, cut both ends off, cut it in half and scooped the seeds out. Then I placed it flesh side down on a cookie sheet with a little bit of water and I put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. When the skin looked puckered and wrinkled I took it out of the oven and spooned the squash out of the skin and into the blender.
I really didn't need to put in the blender because it was already really soft but since I had already started spooning it in, I thought I might as well use the blender to evenly mix in some breast milk. Then just like with the green beans, I used a spatula to spoon the puree into my mumi & bubi ice tray and the left over I poured directly into the jelly jars. The good thing about butternut squash is how smooth and creamy the texture is straight out of the oven.
All was going so well up until this point. I left the squash puree to cool down and that's when I noticed that the fingers on my left hand especially my thumb were extremely dry and felt really tight. I thought maybe I hadn't washed my hands properly, so I went and washed my hands thoroughly and put some lotion on. Sure enough within a few minutes I had the dry, tight, cracking feeling on my fingers almost as though I had smeared super glue all over my hand and left it to dry. I washed my hands a few more times, but the dryness and cracking was only getting worse. The skin inside my palm was actually changing color to an eerie shade of orange. I went online to check if butternut squash was known to cause this type of reaction and sure enough, it is supposedly a common reaction that happens to many people and its called Irritant contact dermatitis. I also found this blog post that shows pictures of what the reaction looks like. I was so annoyed.I know it sounds a bit silly but there really should be some type of warning on the squash! What if I had touched my baby with the squash 'juice' on my hands, then she might have had to deal with that uncomfortable reaction too. It got worse and worse over several hours but by the next day it was gone. I could always wear gloves next time to avoid this reaction but I don't see myself cooking squash anytime soon.
My little one was okay with the squash but didn't love it as much as she liked the green beans. The very next day after we introduced squash she got a weepy gunky eye, that was constantly needing to be cleaned. I'm sure it was most likely a coincidence rather than a reaction to the squash. But I don't plan to give her squash again for some time, I fed it to her for 4 days consecutively and then I switched to something else.