The Modern Mama’s Guide: Homemade Baby Food
So, your somewhere around that 6-month hump and are thinking about starting solids. Although it’s recommended that breastmilk/formula remain your baby’s main source of nutrition through the first year, this is a great time to start slowly introducing your baby to the wonderful world of food!
The big question is, how do you get started?
First, we always recommend you get the “green light” from your pediatrician before taking the puree plunge and officially introducing solids to your babe.
The, we also strongly encourage you to follow the rule of thumb of introducing a new food every 4-5 days. This is done so that if your baby has a reaction to any food in particular you can pinpoint it and proceed accordingly rather than not knowing which new food is the culprit. Something to note, there’s been more discussion as of recent regarding starting babies on certain foods before they may be ready possibly resulting in food allergies later in life. This is another reason most Pediatricians do not recommend introducing solids until after 6 months of age.
HOMEMADE BABY FOOD 101
One of the biggest misconceptions about making your own baby food is that it’s a TON of work. The truth is, it couldn’t be any easier! Chances are you probably have most of what you need as far as tools goes already, and if you can boil water…. you can make baby food! We promise.
What you need to get started includes…
- A pot
- A cutting board
- A good knife
- An Immersion Blender or Food Processor (we love the immersion blender because it’s less messy, and does a better job)
- A baking pan if you are roasting vegetables
- Ice cube trays or similar silicone tray made for baby food storage
- Freezer baggies
- A sharpie marker
The next step is deciding what foods you would like to use. When selecting foods for your baby you’re not only helping them build their palette, but also creating a foundation for their future food preferences. No pressure! Think of it as a blank slate, and this is your opportunity to make balanced choices, and then diversify them as you go. Some of the best fruits + veggies for beginners include…
- Sweet Potato
- Winter Squashes
Once you’re ready to rock and roll, the only thing left to do is to determine the consistency of your puree. When first starting solids the consistency needs to be thin and quit smooth. Really, the smoother the better. One of the biggest mistakes parents make early on is that they don’t add enough water. To make your food smooth and thin you will need to add water until the consistency is where it needs to be. Think about it, your little one has had only liquid up until this point, therefor they will need to be eased into the transition of getting used to texture. Some babes do better with this than other in the beginning, but the trick is sticking with it. The, as your little one gets older you can make it a bit thicker and with more texture. This is beneficial again to build on their tastes.
NOTE – If you choose to start feeding your baby before the age of 6mos old you will need to steam all fruits. After the age of 6 months you do not need to good fruits unless it’s a harder fruit such as apples. Also depending on the fruit and how much natural liquid the fruit has in it you may not need to add water. For instance pears have a TON of natural juices so you may not need to add any water.
- In a pot, fill it about 1/3 of the way up and place a steamer inside
- Then, add your desired fruit and bring the water to a gentle boil
- Once it starts to boil, turn down your burner to low and let it simmer until the fruit is fork tender
- Next, remove your pot from the heat, remove the steamer from the pot placing your fruit in a glass bowl
- Once cool then with your immersion blender blend until you get the consistently that is right for your baby. Again, you may need to add water to make it smooth enough.
The only other material that you would need when doing vegetables is a baking pan. I like to roast many of my vegetables such as sweet potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash or any type of winter squash. You can get those instructions HERE.
- When steaming you would take the same steps as you did with the fruit. When blending, this is when you will add water. I suggest using the steam water and then add in additional water if necessary.
- Once your fruits and vegetables are made into puree’s, you can spoon the mixture into a BPA free ice cube tray or baby food tray and place them in the freezer for around 24 hrs.
- After 24 hours, retrieve the trays, place them on the counter and let them defrost just enough to the point where you can easily remove the “cube”. Once all the cubes are out, place them into a labeled freezer baggie and put back into the freezer.
- Homemade baby food can last in the freezer for up to 6 months. When serving remember that each ice cube is 1 ounce. Follow the guides as to how much your baby should be eating at their age. If you are not sure, get in touch with your pediatrician.
Lastly, our personal favorite resource for all things homemade baby food for beginners is the Super Baby Food Book. It’s easy to understand, goes step by step and month by month with the best foods for your baby. As your baby get older and is starting to eat more solids it gives you tons of tips and recipes up until 24 months.
For more baby food recipes and tips head over to O’Boy! Organic.
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