How to prepare homemade baby food for your bundle of joy
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As your baby celebrates halfway through their birthday, it’s time to start thinking about introducing solid foods.
While many continue to breastfeed or formula feed for the first year or two, the iron stores that have developed in the womb begin to be depleted by the time an infant reaches six months. It’s a perfect time to start supplementing with iron-rich foods.
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Six months is also a time when your GI system has matured, you’re receptive to new tastes and textures, and you’re probably keeping an eye on the foods you eat.
This week, the FDA released a draft proposal that would lower legal limits for acceptable lead in processed foods for babies and children under the age of 2. We want you to know that homemade baby food is a lot easier to prepare than you think.
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Should I make my own homemade baby food?
I’m an atypical devotee of baby food manufacturing: I loved my epidural and Enfamil was my best friend during my son’s first year. The truth is, I found it a lot easier to make my own baby food than figuring out the baby food aisle. Plus it was a lot cheaper.
Homemade organic baby food is estimated to be 45% cheaper than store bought. Save even more with non-organic homemade baby food.
It really doesn’t require any special equipment, expertise or skill, and it requires less culinary skill than cooking for the adults in your life. Before you head out, here are a few things you should know.
How can I prepare homemade baby food?
You can pretty much make anything into a baby food puree for level 1 eaters, and once they start nibbling small bites it becomes even easier. However, there are some rules to follow.
Keep things super clean
Babies have weaker immune systems than older children and adults. Make sure to up your cleaning game before preparing baby food. Only prepare food on a very clean surface and with freshly cleaned equipment. Now it’s time to sing the Happy Birthday song twice while washing your hands.
Be wise when diluting
Since babies cannot drink cow’s milk until they are 1 year old, do not use it in your homemade baby formula. Breast milk, formula, or just filtered water are better choices for diluting purees. Remember that too much liquid will result in runny food, so only add a little at a time.
You can also add a few teaspoons of olive oil for a little flavor and to help with constipation. If you are tempted to use coconut oil, it is important to know that it should be added with caution as it could potentially reveal a sulfate allergy.
Keep allergies in mind
Before introducing your child to foods that contain common allergens, including dairy, eggs, and nuts, consult your child’s pediatrician.
hold the honey
Honey and maple syrup are off-limits for babies under 12 months. Not only can these ingredients cause problems with glucose levels, but small traces of botulism can also be present in any of these ingredients. Do not give them to your baby until they are 1 year old, but it is recommended that you wait until the age of 2 before giving any sweeteners.
While you’re at it, also cut back on the salt and only use mild spices like basil, oregano, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cumin, fennel, and dill in your baby’s diet.
When can I give my baby complementary food?
The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that by the age of 6 months, infants can be introduced to foods other than breast milk or formula. “Solids” refers to any food that is not breast milk or baby formula. The purees you buy or make at home are considered baby’s first solid food.
Is my baby ready for complementary feeding?
If your baby has good head and neck control, can sit up, and shows interest in eating by leaning forward and/or opening her mouth when food is nearby, she’s probably ready to eat solids gain weight. If you are not sure if you are really ready, you should check with your pediatrician.
Which foods should I introduce first?
While mashed bananas and avocados are typical first foods, the American Academy of Pediatrics says most children don’t need to be introduced to foods in any particular order, although there are some foods that are easier for small bellies to handle than others.
We recommend Solid Starts’ first food database. It breaks down every food, the earliest age you can introduce it to babies, common allergens, and methods for safe preparation.
Visit the Solid Starts database
What do I need to make homemade baby food?
You really don’t need much and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.
If you want to investigate a baby food maker, my family felt they made things more manageable, made cleanup easier, and made baby food a little bit more fun.
We had the Baby Nutribullet Baby and loved it. It was easy to use, easy to clean, and allowed me to quickly mix up small, unseasoned portions of meals I prepared for myself. I never had to worry about storage or spoilage and it took up very little space on my counter.
$66 at Babylist
Parents Editor Anna Lane had the Beaba Babycook and says she loved how it was steamed and mashed in one.
$160 at Babylist
If you don’t want to go the baby food route, you can definitely use household items you probably already have, including a blender that can puree tough, fibrous foods like broccoli, carrots, or beets.
Here is a list of what you will need:
How to store homemade baby food
First, make sure you only serve your baby a few tablespoons of puree at a time. Once a spoon has gotten into the food, it has essentially contaminated it, making it unsuitable for storing for later (this also applies to store-bought baby food).
Once prepared, homemade purees can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, or in the freezer for up to two months. Try pouring them into single-serving containers or freezing them in ice cube trays for small, easy-to-serve portions. We recommend covered ice cube trays (to ensure hygiene) which are made of silicone to make it easier to remove portions one at a time.
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Reheat leftovers by reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave, then allow to cool to room temperature. Never serve a baby hot food.
For microwave food, be sure to stir thoroughly and ensure there are no hot spots.
Here we go! Easier than getting dressed and taking a trip to the grocery store. And if that’s all too much, there’s always baby-led weaning!
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