When I say making baby food is easy I mean it! (My 3 year old shows just how easy it is!) You don't even need a recipe. When first introducing baby food to your little one it is a single ingredient dish, i.e. pureed sweet potatoes or pureed pears that's it! with just a little water or breast milk/ formula to puree it. Please refer below on some tips on making your own baby food.
When Is Baby Ready?
Please refer to the "Introducing Baby Food" article,the "Baby Food" article, and "Baby Cereal" article for more information. Generally, for the first 6 months babies should be entirely breastfed or formula fed. Even once babies start eating solid food, “[t]hey still obtain the vast majority of their calories and nutrition from breast or formula feedings” (Greene, “Introducing”). When the baby is no longer satisfied after drinking a lot of breast milk or formula, usually between 4 to 6 months, a lot of parents start giving the baby cereal or other baby food.
What are some signs the baby is ready to start solids? According to Dr. Greene,
Baby still hungry after drinking (8-10 breast feedings or 32 ounces of formula in a day)
Baby can lift and support her own head
Baby weighs at least 13 pounds and has doubled her birth weight
Baby has overcome the strong tongue-thrust reflex they are born with (“When”)
Why Make Own Food?
Why would you make your own food when you can easily buy it? The main reason I decided to make my own baby food was it truly was so easy and I felt if I didn't want to eat the food that came out of a jar why feed it to my baby.
In addition, it is generally more cost effective to buy and make anything rather than buying it already prepared. You also may have less wasted baby food if you make your own because you can prepare the baby food in smaller serving sizes. Preparing your own baby food may allow you to serve your baby food with more nutrients since "[j]arred foods are prepared using very high heat, and this heat processing actually destroys certain vitamins in the food" (Happy Baby 170). That said, with my first baby he only ate jarred baby food because at the time I was intimidated about making my own baby food. Then when I started making him finger foods I realized I could have easily made his baby food, it is the same process all I needed to do was puree the food.
If you are buying all of your baby food, you may want to try the frozen baby food and buy organic. Although, it is nice to have some jarred baby food on hand for outings as it does provide easy alternatives when you are traveling as you don’t have to worry about keeping the food cold and/or warming it up. Even if you plan to make all of the food, buying some baby food or at least browsing the baby food aisle can give you inspiration of combinations of food to try to keep your baby interested. (To Top)
Even if you do not cook a lot. If you cook one meal a week then it should be easy for you to incorporate making at least some of your baby's food. You don't even need a cookbook.
For example, both of my kids really liked sweet potatoes. All you need to do is
Peel the skin off of the sweet potato.
Cook the sweet potato (I like to steam it).
Puree the sweet potato using the water you used when cooking the potato until you get a good consistency. Some people like to use a blender if they don't have a food processor.
Put pureed food in an ice cube tray.
Once frozen pop out the cubes and store in a container in the freezer.
Microwave a cube for approximately 30 seconds when ready to serve. (Make sure you stir well to eliminate all of the hot spots.)
Food to Avoid
Please discuss with your child's doctor before introducing food to your baby. Some food you want to be aware of are as follows:
NO honey UNTIL baby is at least over one year old. "Honey may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, the organisms that causes botulism." Infants are "susceptible to a life-threatening reaction to the toxins the spores produce. These spores are even heat resistant and may survive in baked goods" (Happy Baby 170).
Chokable Foods - make sure food is pureed
If baby is less than 6 months old - do not make food such as carrots, squash, spinach, collard greens, beets, turnips, or green beans since they may have a higher level of nitrates and cause blue baby syndrome.
Please also refer to the "Introducing Baby Food" article, the "Baby Food" article for more information. Remember that most research recommends to offer only one new food at a time and wait between 3 days to a week before offering another new food. I generally waited at least a few days when introducing each food as if you do offer multiple foods at once and your baby does have a reaction then you won't know what food caused the reaction.
I hope you decide to try to make at least one type of baby food because it truly is easy but if you don't want to or simply don't have the time there is a lot of good commercial baby food to choose. With my first baby he primarily only had jarred baby food (I was intimidated about making my own food and I didn't know about the frozen baby food at the time) and with my second baby she primarily only had homemade baby food. The only baby food I didn't make for her was the baby cereal as I liked to give her the HappyBellies organic baby cereal with DHA+probiotic immunity support and the Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt as I just didn't get into making my own yogurt.
After reading this article and the other baby food articles you still want some more guidance you may want to use the following books which seem to be popular choices for baby food recipes:
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron - This book was recommended to me to use to make my own baby food. I ended up not needing to use a book to make baby food as it was so simple but if you want some tips, this may be a good reference.
Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel - I read most of this book prior to making my own baby food and what it taught me was it was so simple to make baby food that I didn't really need a book. It was very informative and helpful if you want some guidance.
Also refer to Feeding Baby Green by Alan Greene, M.D. - a "spokesperson for the green baby movement" and HappyBaby: The Organic Guide to Baby's First 24 Months by Founders of HAPPYBABY, Robert W. Sears, MD, FAAP, and Amy Marlow, MPH, RD, CDN for a few recipes.
I felt fairly comfortable making my own baby food since I had read a lot of general baby books and since the majority of baby food is initially single ingredient food you don't really need a recipe. Please always confirm with your baby's doctor if you have any questions about what foods to make or introduce to your baby. Good luck and enjoy making some baby food! (To Top)
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