It’s always a fun day feeding homemade baby food to your little one!
I experienced the same joy with my two little ones.
As a parent, it’s fun to introduce new flavors to your little one’s diet and watch them giggle in happiness or make faces if they don’t like it !!
Next, comes the obvious question: How do I get started?
I was in the same boat like you. With time and effort, I learned a few techniques, which I am going to share with you today.
Preparing a healthy recipe requires the right tools, make sure you have them.
Unlike formula feeding or breastfeeding, you need a little extra preparation to come up with healthy homemade baby food. To begin with, all you need is a fork and a banana to make one.
Before investing in an expensive $400 food processor, use your regular kitchen items.
Once you have decided to go ahead with homemade baby food, buy some complementary kitchen items to help you make it faster.
At the starting stage, use what you have and get the hang of it.
Why make homemade baby food?
You need not be a master chef to make homemade baby food.
Commercially available baby foods may have lower vitamins and nutrients in its core ingredients along with its “missing yumminess.”
Trying DIY baby food recipes at home will bring back that taste which your baby will certainly relish.
Moreover, everyday the little one will get new foods and combinations with tastier flavors.
Is your baby ready for homemade baby food?
As published by the American Academy of Paediatrics in 2012, every mommy should ideally wait for 6 months before adding solids in your baby’s diet.
Some mommies even start solid food as early as 4 months due to the fast developments of their babies.
A 2013 WHO study revealed that babies who get introduced to solids by 6 months age develop better immunity and reduced risk of asthma and allergies.
You just need to ensure that your baby can hold their head up and sit straight.
They should also be visibly interested in eating solid foods.
Finally, before adding solids in your baby’s diet, check with the pediatrician.
She needs to approve this change before you implement it.
Important Factors to Consider While Preparing Homemade Baby Food
Offer Solid Baby Food After Milk
Even if your baby meets the solid food requirement, her primary source of nutrition should still be breastmilk or formula milk until she turns 1 year.
You should start your baby’s feeding session with milk before giving solid foods.
In this way, you ensure that your baby receives vital nutrients.
You can habituate her with a familiar taste before trying something different.
Always Be Present
Make a habit of eating meals together with your family members.
It will give you enough scope to talk to your kids and understand them better.
Teach your kids to start this tradition at a tender age so that it becomes an integral part of their life when they grow up.
When the little ones eat, sit by their sides to ensure complete safety.
Keep a close watch on your baby while they eat that will help you take immediate action if there is any choking hazard or allergic reaction.
Try Spoon-Feeding Baby First
Start with spoon-feeding.
It will help you achieve the exciting milestone by slowly moving towards finger foods.
Try by spoon-feeding your babies single-grain baby cereals.
These are the best baby food to start your journey.
You should mix around 4 to 5 teaspoons of formula or breast milk with 1tsp of cereal to ensure a balanced diet.
Once your baby get used to the taste of cereals, you can make tasty blends of baby soup, pureed produce, and different baby food recipes.
Test out Finger Foods
Carefully observe your baby while he eats.
When he starts playing around with his food and can get it into his mouth, the first milestone is achieved.
When the little one slowly moves from purees and single-grain cereal to this milestone, its time to experiment more.
Mommies, brace yourself to explore more textures and ingredients and teach your cutie pie how to finger-feed herself.
Confused about what should you introduce to your baby’s diet?
Stick to single ingredient-based finger foods, like small and soft pieces of vegetables and fruits.
You can also try to add mashed eggs and potatoes to bring in different nutritious elements and flavors.
Always Introduce One Solid Baby Food at a Time
Your cuties food must be delicious and not make her a picky eater.
I understand that it’s a common dilemma amongst mommies!
It always makes sense to make your babies try different flavors and items to make them familiar.
Make sure and never compromise on the nutritional aspect of your baby’s’ food.
Feed them with nutrient-rich food items to speed up their development stages.
Go slow before introducing solids in their daily diet.
Give them solids for a week and monitor for the next week for any allergic reaction, stomach upset, or any other symptoms.
If your little one has no sign or symptom, it’s time to feed her with solids.
Avoid High-Risk Foods
You should keep your baby away from any choking hazard.
Avoid food items such as nuts, whole grapes (can be mashed and given), and popcorn.
Avoid adding honey in your little one’s diet, although it’s immensely beneficial for small kids and adults.
It may cause botulism in infants causing serious illnesses triggered by toxin sometimes traced in honey.
Cow’s milk should be avoided entirely until your baby is a year old, as it may have some harmful bacteria.
Be Mindful of Allergy Triggers
Watch out for any allergy symptoms. Food allergies are pretty common in small kids, infants, and toddlers.
My mommy friends, you should always be mindful of any chronic food allergies running in the family.
Never make those items a part of your baby’s diet while giving solids.
Always be on the lookout for any allergic reaction in your babies during the trial period with solids.
For example, you may have to wait a little longer to feed your baby with delicious peanut butter.
Thoroughly wash the fresh produce by scrubbing it properly, clean your hands with DIY handwashes, scrub and clean cutting boards, countertops, and other kitchen utensils.
Remember, make sure your home is a haven of pure air and healthy habits.
Read More: 8 ways to Disinfect your Home Fast
Clean Produce Properly
Remove any seeds from the produce.
Wash fresh produce thoroughly and peel the pits off. Take precaution before using vegetables and fruits those are grown close to or underneath the earth.
They may have spores of toxic Clostridium botulinum or other harmful bacteria that may trigger food poisoning or other allergies.
Ensure 100% Cooking
Keep cooking your food until it becomes extremely tender. Add little water on the food items and either steam or microwave them.
It’s a good way of retaining minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients in veggies and fruits.
Before cooking fish or meats, make sure to remove all bones, skin, and gristle to make it suitable for your baby to swallow and digest.
You need to cook poultry items, eggs, and meats well until its succulent.
Undercooked non-vegetarian food items are harmful to your little one’s digestive tract and immune system.
Undercook animal proteins can cause food poisoning in them.
Mommies, you need to cook fishes and meats in the recommended temperatures.
145°F is ideal for whole cuts of pork and beef and fishes, 160°F is recommended for egg and ground beef dishes, and 165°F should be maintained for every type of poultry, chicken or leftovers.
Mash fresh fruit or make a puree of it or keep the fruits canned in its juice instead of using honey in your baby’s food.
Never use honey in drinks or foods for babies under 1 year, as it may consist of highly toxic Clostridium Botulinum spores.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners like corn syrup as they are filled with calories but no nutrients.
Pick Appropriate Food Textures
Always make sure the baby food ingredients have an appropriate texture. They should also be kept at the right temperature.
Foods such as nuts, raisins, whole grapes, or hot dog pieces are not recommended for infants or toddlers as these ingredients have high choking risk.
The texture of pureed food can be thick, which can be thinned by adding water, formula, or breast milk.
Check Food temperature
Avoid giving cow milk and its alternatives to your baby as it may contain harmful bacteria.
Make sure to warm solid foods at the right temperature and mix properly. Thaw them back to the room temperature before feeding your little ones.
Batch Cook & Freeze portions
Once you make your preferred homemade baby food, portion them properly for using it in the next few days.
Refrigerate the small portions in a clean ice cube tray to avoid any contamination.
Once completely frozen, put them back into airtight, freezer-safe, and clean food containers for single-serving portions.
You can also use the “plop and freeze” method effective for storage.
First, put a spoonful of meal-sized pureed food onto a cookie sheet. Keep it in the freezer.
Once the baby food is completely frozen, transfer it to multiple freezer-safe, clean containers, and put them back in the freezer.
Portion Out Baby Food
You can give the same food to your little one while cooking for the remaining family members.
Remember to take out the baby’s serving before adding salt, spices, and seasonings.
The taste buds and digestive system of a baby can be sensitive and susceptible to infection.
As she grows up and gets habituated to table food, you can sprinkle some seasonings except salt.
Experiment if Baby Responds Well
If the idea of preparing baby food everyday sounds intimidating, start small, and slowly build up interest.
Buy fresh banana or avocado and mash them to begin your DIY journey. See how your little one responds to her mommy’s homemade recipe.
If your experiment is successful, then try out more such exciting recipes and enjoy the baby’s smile.
Prepare nutrient-rich foods that you won’t commonly find in baby food isles, such as broccoli, turnips, beetroots, spinach, asparagus, kale, mango, papaya, and blueberries.
Never forget to puree or mash the foods and give your baby one new ingredient at a time.
Mix and match the items to feed your little one with fresh flavor and taste every single day.
Use seasonal produce and food items to prepare food for your little one.
These items are high on nutrients and help strengthen your baby’s immune system.
Remember not to add salt, seasonings, spices, or sugar in your baby’s portion.
Cooking the same meals for all family members make them enjoy the nutritious foods and saves you a lot of effort and time.
Follow the 5 Day Rule
Always keep a time gap of at least 5 days between two new food items.
If your baby had mango puree on Monday, give him avocado puree on Saturday, not before that.
5 days is enough to let your baby respond positively to new food items and adjust to the unique tastes.
The 5-day formula will introduce many fresh and new foods to your little one and which he will relish.
Keeping Baby Safe
My dear mommies, you all have to be extra careful while preparing homemade baby foods.
You have to properly portion the food, refrigerate in freezer-safe containers to retain the vital nutrients.
After preparing the food item, you either serve fresh or refrigerate it for later use.
Always use a covered and tightly sealed container to store it in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days.
Alternatively, you may choose to freeze up for a month or two for future use. Label each container with the food item name, ingredient list, and date of preparation.
Feed your babies small portions every time in separate dishes. If any leftover remains, that should be immediately thrown out. Bacteria are capable of germinating and thriving inside the mouth.
If you feed your baby with a spoon and keep touching the food with it, the same food should never be saved for future use.
Let me know your views on how to make homemade baby food in the comments section below!
Happy Baby Meal Planning!