At first thought, making homemade baby food can seem like a daunting task, but once you do it for the first you will be hooked! Not only is it super easy, but cost-effective and most importantly, it’s the healthiest choice for your baby.
Benefits of making homemade baby food:
- You know exactly what you’re feeding your baby…no fillers, no preservatives
- You know that the food you make is fresh and healthy
- It’s cost effective. You pay a fraction of the cost if you make your own versus buying the jars or pouches
- You can customize your baby’s favorite meals and control the consistency and with different fruit/veggie combinations
Equipment You’ll Need:
- Baby food maker
- Ice cube trays with lids are ideal for storing your homemade baby food and create perfect portions for your little one. You can also purchase containers made specifically for storing baby food.
- Baby food squeeze pouches for an easy way to take your baby food when you’re on the go and so baby’s can easily feed themselves (Infantino Squeeze Pouches are great).
It’s not essential to have a baby food maker to make your own food, but let me tell you why it makes the process of making homemade baby food a whole lot easier. I personally use the Beaba Baby Cook and I love it because it steams and purees the food. This baby food processor also allows you to make larger batches so you can freeze it so you can have the food readily available when needed. The best part is that it’s easy to clean and you can put most parts in the dishwasher. This is a great item to add to your baby shower registry!
There is a split decision among pediatricians on when it is the proper time to introduce solids to your baby. Some doctors recommend 6 months (which is also what the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommends), and some doctors insist to start introducing your baby to solids as early as 4 months.
Please keep in mind that every baby is different and therefore has different needs. I started my son on rice cereal at 4 months because he nursed constantly and never seemed satisfied. However, my daughter (who is 3 ½ months) seems satisfied with just breast milk and has been gaining weight consistently, so I’m probably going to wait until the six-month mark with her.
Here are a few benefits of waiting to introduce solids that I want to share…
- Your baby has received a full six-month supply of milk. Breast milk or formula are both nutritionally complete for the first six month of life.
- The amount of milk your baby consumes may be affected by starting solids, and for breastfeeding mothers, your milk supply can be jeopardized, which can lead to early weaning.
- Your baby’s digestive system is more mature which can avoid constipation or gassy discomfort.
- The risk of having an allergic reaction is lower when you wait until six months.
- You baby is more developmentally advanced and no longer has the tongue thrust reflex and therefore can swallow solids easier.
How to get started:
- Buy your produce (I typically buy organic to avoid pesticides and GMOs). I just buy a little extra of what we are eating that week and make my homemade baby food when I prepare our dinner (yay for multitasking :)).
- Prep your fruits/vegetables. Wash, peel (if necessary) and cut (typically 1- inch pieces).
- Cook (steam/bake/boil). I prefer to steam the veggies in my Beaba Baby Cook because I can steam them and puree them…easiest and quickest option for me :).
- While still hot, puree food for desired consistency. Very runny at first and as your baby gets older and can use their gums to chew you can make their food more course).
- There are a few things you don’t have to cook/puree (ex. Avocado, bananas…however either of these DO NOT freeze well). You can easily mash these with a fork (make sure they are very ripe so they are soft). I would recommend cooking and pureeing everything else as it’s easiest on your baby’s little belly.
- Let your food cool, transfer it to your ice cube trays and pop in the freezer (I always put a little aside to put in the refridgerator).
- When needed, pop an ice cube or two sized portion and let out to defrost or defrost in the microwave.
Important things to remember when introducing solids:
- Breast milk/formula is still a baby’s main source of nourishment (especially from 6-12 months).
- When introducing new foods pay attention to how your baby reacts and call your doctor immediately with any signs of a food allergy.
- I’d recommend starting with vegetables so your baby won’t get used to sweet fruit and then avoid vegetables when you introduce them. Philip’s first food was carrots and then butternut squash.
I’m looking forward to making Daniela homemade baby food and watching her try foods for the first time! These pictures of Philip crack me up. I will keep you all updated with pictures of her as well :).