Introducing your baby to solid food for the first time can be an unforgettable experience.
According to BabyCenter.com, doctors recommend introducing solid foods once your baby can hold his head up, sits well in a highchair, makes chewing motions, shows interest in food and can move food from the front to the back of his mouth. For many infants, this occurs between the ages of 4 and 6 months, although it varies from baby to baby.
Making your own baby food is easy and cost-effective, and allows you to control exactly what goes into your child’s body. Always check with your baby’s pediatrician before introducing solid foods to ensure she is truly ready.
Choose the right equipment
While there are many blenders available that are designed specifically to make baby food, it is not necessary to purchase a separate piece of equipment as long as you have a decent quality blender or food processor. Other kitchen appliances and utensils suggested by BabyCenter.com include a hand-turned food mill, a fork or a hand blender.
Buy fresh or frozen
Try to stick to buying fresh produce only when it is in season. However, according to BabyCenter.com, buying frozen fruits and vegetables is a great option when fresh produce isn’t available. Look for vegetables like asparagus, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, winter squash and white potatoes. Good fruits to try include peaches, blueberries, mangoes, pears, apples, prunes and bananas.
Cook until well done
While some fruits and vegetables like bananas and avocados do not need to be cooked before being pureed for your baby, most will need some form of cooking to soften them and make them easier to blend. Clemson University suggests steaming or boiling vegetables as the best way to conserve nutrients. You can also microwave vegetables if you prefer. When cooking, do not add any salt, seasonings, butter, oil, sugar, syrups, gravy, sauces or fat drippings unless your baby is older than one-year-old, as advised by Clemson University.
Puree your baby’s food
Once the produce has been cooked, add it to your blender or food processor with a little liquid, such as water, formula or breast milk. WebMD.com suggests using a fork or potato masher in place of a blender if your baby is older and can handle more texture. For younger babies, the University of Maine recommends testing for smoothness by rubbing a small amount of pureed food between your thumb and forefinger. If it seems too thick for your baby, thin it out with some liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.
Homemade baby food will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days in an airtight container, according to BabyCenter.com. If you cook in bulk and want to freeze the leftovers for future use, the University of Maine suggests pouring cooled food into an ice cube tray and placing in the freezer until solid. Store frozen cubes of food in a freezer bag or box, clearly labeled with the type of food and the date frozen. Reheat frozen cubes of baby food in a pan of hot water, or simply allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
While many parents are put off by the idea of preparing homemade baby food, the reality is that making your own baby food is much easier than you’d think. Always check with your pediatrician for advice on when to start feeding your baby solid foods, and how to introduce new items to your baby’s diet.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.