Making your own baby food will ensure that what your child is
eating is fresh, nutritious and free of additives. By making
your own baby foods, you'll be saving money, up to 50%. And to
top it off, it's easy; making baby food at home is probably a
lot less time-consuming than you may have thought.
In order to make your own baby foods, you'll need something to
cook in. A steamer basket is cheap and by cooking fruits and
vegetables in it, you'll be sure of keeping the nutrients in the
food, instead of in the cooking water.
To puree your foods, you can use a fork, a food mill or blender.
A blender quickly purees almost anything into the finest
consistency. When your baby first starts on solids, you'll be
pureeing things to a very fine consistency and, as baby gets a
little older, you will make foods a little coarser.
You may wish to buy a food mill which comes in large and small
sizes. It is very handy and inexpensive. The food mill strains
most cooked foods to a very smooth consistency, although meats
can be a problem as they will have a coarser texture.
As babies are susceptible to digestive upsets, you'll want to
take note of the following tips concerning the handling of foods:
- always work with clean hands.
- always use clean utensils.
- prepare foods immediately upon removing them from the
- freeze immediately after cooking any foods you want to store.
You can prepare large amounts of foods at once and freeze them.
Take your prepared foods and plop by spoonfuls onto a baking
sheet. Freeze the plops right away and then take them off the
sheet when they are frozen and put them into plastic bags.
Label and date. You can also freeze the food in plastic "pop
out" ice cube trays. Small Tupperware jars with lids serve the
same purpose and stack easily. Frozen baby foods can be stored
for up to two months.
When you take frozen foods out for baby, warm the food in a cup
placed in a saucepan of boiling water with a lid on.
Cereals are typically the first foods given to a baby because
they contain lots of iron. You can buy the commercial baby
cereals, or prepare your own, by running oatmeal through your
blender, for instance.
Fruits are generally given next. Except for raw, mashed banana,
you will need to cook all other fruits till they are soft.
Try making your own applesauce and pearsauce; don't add any
sugar, as these fruits are sweet enough on their own. You can
also peel peaches, plums and apricots and boil or steam them.
Use fresh vegetables whenever possible in order to provide the
best nutrition and flavor for your baby. Frozen vegetables are
better to use than canned. Steaming vegetables is the best
method of preparation. Carrots and sweet potato are two popular
choices to begin with.
Yogurt, mashed cottage cheese, mashed pumpkin, baked potato,
avocado and tofu (oriental soy bean curd) are all popular with
babies. One good idea is to blend together cottage cheese,
banana and fresh orange juice - delicious!
Meats should be added slowly. They can be boiled or broiled,
then put in the blender with a little milk and perhaps banana or
cream of rice to get the right consistency. Chicken is
generally the first meat baby is introduced to and usually goes
down fairly well.
There is no rush to start your baby on solid foods. Milk is his
most important food. Your doctor's recommendations and your own
intuition will help you to know when to begin introducing solids
to your baby's diet. Always remember to be patient with your
baby and allow at least a few days between newly added foods to
make sure baby doesn't suffer any reactions.