Try Making Homemade Baby Food
At about ages four or six months, your baby is ready to start eating solid food. Up until now, they have likely been consuming only breast milk and formula. While you should still continue to breastfeed, you can also begin to introduce solid foods. While you can buy baby food in a grocery store, we think a fun option would be trying to make homemade baby food.
Many doctors and experts recommend only introducing one new food per week. This helps determine if your baby has an allergic reaction to it. So, the good news is that you can take it slow, which also means it is a great time to try out homemade baby food. The best part about making your own homemade baby food is that you know exactly what goes in it. There is nothing added and it is also more cost-effective. Let’s take a look at how to make homemade baby food.
Ways to Make Your Own Baby Food
Making homemade baby food is simpler than you may think. Follow the steps below to learn how to make pureed fruits and vegetables.
Step 1: Shop for Fruits of Veggies
Select in-season veggies or fruits. Consider ones that the whole family will enjoy. You can use some for your baby’s meals and some for the rest of the family. Also, make sure to only use very ripe veggies or fruits. For example, a ripe banana is easy to mash and make into quick baby food for your little one.
Step 2: Wash and Prepare
Wash the vegetable or fruit thoroughly. Be very vigilant at this phase as unwashed vegetables or fruits can lead to food poisoning. Make sure to peel fruits and veggies when applicable. Make sure you remove any seeds or pits as well.
Step 3: Start Cooking
Cook the fruit or vegetable of your choice until it is very tender. This can be done on the stove through steaming or even in the microwave. You may also choose to bake or roast the food items but know that the most nutrients are lost these ways. If you choose to make use of your microwave, add a little bit of water to ensure maximal nutrient retention.
Take note that if you mash up a very ripe banana, pear, or avocado, you can skip the cooking step altogether. Also, when you are making food for your whole family, you can put bland food, such as mashed potatoes without milk or butter, aside for your baby before adding milk or spices. It might make the whole process smoother and easier.
Step 4: Puree or Mash
When mashing fruit from a can, consider adding a bit of the juice as well to help make the mashing process that much easier. Avoid adding honey since this may contain bacteria making babies under a year old very sick. Puree by blending or using a food processor.
Step 5: Double Check the Food for Texture
Ensure there are no clumps that could act as choking hazards. If you chose to puree, add water, breast milk, or juice to smooth it out. If you are mashing it, make sure it is smooth with no lumps.
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Step 6: Storing and Consuming
Store the food in the freezer for future use. Many parents find ice cube trays work as the perfect size for baby food storage. When warming the food back up for eating, make sure you leave time for it to cool so that it is not too hot for your baby. Most baby food lasts about two months in the freezer. In the fridge, it often only lasts a couple of days.
The Pros and Cons of Homemade Baby Food
As with anything, homemade baby food comes with a list of pros and cons.
Advantages of making homemade baby food include:
- You know what your baby is eating.
- It’s more cost-effective.
- It’s more environmentally friendly since you are not buying pre-packaged items and can use reusable packaging at home.
- You can add a ton of variety to your baby’s taste buds and will not be limited by what is at the supermarket. For instance, avocado is not something you usually find down the baby food aisle.
- Your baby can enjoy similar foods that the entire family eats and will get used to the flavor of them.
Disadvantages of making homemade baby food include:
- It may take more time; which parents may feel they do not have.
- It does not come ready to serve (unless you put the extra effort in and pack it away in smaller containers).
- It takes up room in your fridge or freezer.
Why Should You Choose Homemade Over Store-Bought Baby Food?
In truth, it comes down to what you find more convenient and doable in your life. Store-bought foods are also very nutritious options for your baby.
Keep in mind, the time that your child eats pureed or mashed foods is very short. You will not be neglecting your child by opting for store-bought food options. It is entirely up to you. You can always ask your pediatrician or doctor what they recommend and what foods they feel are best to start with. Weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately, find what works best for you and your family’s lifestyle.