No idea how to make your own baby food?
Do you know how to make your own baby food?
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Most people today run to the baby food section of their grocery store when it’s time to start feeding solid food to the baby. There is nothing wrong with this! In fact, this is precisely what we did with our first two children because we didn’t realize that homemade baby food was an option much less how to start making those awesome little baby purees ourselves.
Over the years, we’ve really started paying more attention to the types of foods we eat and how foods that we buy from the store are made. There are lots of good products out there, made by good companies, but if you really want to know what is going in your little one’s mouth then you are going to need to make them yourself!
Now that we are comfortable with the process, we love making healthy homemade baby food!
When will the baby be ready for homemade baby food?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most parents should start offering solid foods to their babies at around the six-month mark. They are technically able to start eating at the 3-4 month range, but studies have shown that introducing solid foods too early can encourage excess fat gain. It should also be pointed out that babies should be drinking only breast milk or formula at this point, as well, and other drinks like fruit juice should wait until after the one year mark because of the same fat gain issues.
Which foods should I try first?
In the beginning, simple is best.
According to the Mayo Clinic, parents should start out with single-ingredient purees and wait at least a few days before introducing new food into the mix to make sure that the baby doesn’t have any allergic reactions like rash, vomiting, or diarrhea. If they start showing symptoms, it’s easier to isolate the culprit!
Here are a few good things to start with:
- Single-grain baby cereals (rice, oatmeal, barley) mixed with breast milk or formula
- Vegetables like peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans
- Fruits like bananas, pears, and apples
Eventually, you can add in well-cooked meats that respond well to pureeing!
What tools will you need when making your own baby food?
The good news is that you don’t have to have a lot of specialized tools to get started making your own baby food. For some foods, like bananas, you could even get by with just a fork!
In our case, we got by with a basic magic bullet blender (check latest reviews and buy on Amazon) that we’ve had for years. It has nice little containers and cups with lids that make storage and transportation pretty easy.
Here are the basics that I would recommend:
- A blender or food processor with a puree function (smaller the better!)
- Small pans to boil or otherwise cook the food that needs extra prep before being pureed
- Small containers to store excess food (you will likely want to make at least a few servings at a time)
Of course, you can make things extra fancy with a specialized baby food maker that is designed to make things as quick and easy as possible. These range from simple baby-themed versions of small blenders all the way up to all-in-one solutions that will both steam and puree your food. It’s all about what fits your needs and budget.
Preparing homemade baby food
Once you’ve got the basic equipment together along with your single ingredients you are ready to start preparing your homemade, wholesome baby food!
Depending on your chosen ingredient, you might need to do a little extra prep before pureeing it. Here’s a quick rundown:
Most baby cereals are prepared so that you just need to add liquid to them. In our case, you can just add breast milk or formula until it’s the right consistency for your baby (runny at first and then progressively less liquidy). In other cases, cook or boil the cereal as directed and then add the breast milk or formula to get it to the right consistency.
Vegetables and Fruits
Wash your vegetables and then boil, bake, or steam them depending on what makes the most sense and what you have time to do. It doesn’t much matter how you cook them as long as there is a little water involved to keep the veggies moist and allow them to soften. Some fruits, like bananas, can skip this treatment while others, like apples, will need to be boiled beforehand to soften.
You don’t have to cook these all day! And don’t – they will turn into soup!
Once soft, puree them up in whatever you are using.
Be sure to check the temperature before serving to your little one!
Meat, fish, and poultry
Be sure to cook your meats well to ensure that there is no risk of food poisoning and so that they will be tender and easy to prepare. Be sure that you choose trimmed and skinned cuts of meat to avoid excess fat that could upset your babies tummy.
When you are pureeing meats, you might need to add a little water to get them to blend properly!
I don’t think I would recommend starting with meats first because they can have a weird consistency by themselves and might still be a little hard for little babies to eat. Once they have a few vegetables under their belt, however, you can mix a little meat in with a vegetable to make it more familiar to the baby and create a little meal all in one bite!
Should I add spices or other seasonings?
As adults, we are constantly adding spices and other seasonings to our food because we understand how they complement each other and have the ability to enhance and change the flavor of food.
Babies, on the other hand, have literally never tasted the food that they are being exposed to and there is no reason to start mucking around with extra flavors – they will be amazed at anything that doesn’t taste like breast milk already!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can never add seasonings. Most doctors recommend that you avoid adding salt and sugar to children’s food, especially infants, but there are a lot of other options that you can use to mix things up as your baby grows. Great examples are:
- Bananas and apples with cinnamon
- Pumpkins with ginger
- Green beans and garlic powder
- Beef with garlic powder
Just remember to introduce these things slowly to make sure your baby doesn’t have a negative reaction to something new. Their little stomachs haven’t been exposed to this stuff before, after all!
How to store homemade baby food
Just like any other food, you should try to use up all of your homemade baby food as quickly as possible to keep it fresh and tasty. We like to make up batches of at least a few servings at a time just to make things a little more efficient so we always have some left over after a feeding. Plus, your little one probably won’t need more than a few tablespoons of whatever you are feeding them in the beginning, anyway!
If it’s properly covered, you should be able to keep purees in the fridge for up to four days or up to three months in the freezer!
When in doubt, heat up the food on the stove or the microwave to at least 165 degrees and let it cool back to room temp before feeding!
How to make your own baby food safely and healthy
Just like when preparing adult food, be sure to wash your hands before preparing your baby’s food. Then, wash them again before you feed them, and after the meal is over.
If you are handling meats, make doubly sure that you aren’t cross contaminating the plates, bowls, or utensils that your baby will use to eat.
We’re working on some extra tips and information about handling and storing the homemade baby food that you can check out soon!
When to move on to multi-ingredient recipes?
After a month or two of single-ingredient food tasting, you will have likely figured out if your baby has any allergies and what kinds of food they prefer eating. At the 7-to-9 month mark, you can start mixing ingredients together to make fun little recipes for your little one.
We’re working on a fun recipe list that you can check out soon!
Now you know how to make your own baby food!
Now that you see how easy it is, get in the kitchen and start whipping up some delicious, organic baby puree that your baby will love!
If you want a few extra ideas on where to start, check head over to my stage 1 baby food recipes post!
Do you do something different? Any tips that we forgot? Chime in with a comment to help us learn together!