Have you ever wondered how to make baby food? Many families choose to make homemade foods for various reasons but may find it daunting. Here are some tips to get you started. Regardless of baby’s age, ensure the following:
- Breastfeeding is recommended as baby’s main source of nutrition until their first birthday. If baby is not meeting 100% of their needs from breastmilk, provide an iron-fortified formula.
- Watch for signs of readiness to start solids or advance textures.
- Babies are typically ready to start solids around 6 months of age when they show interest in foods, can sit steady with good head control, can move food from a spoon to their throat, and have at least doubled their birth weight.
- Babies are typically ready for more lumpy-textured food around 9 months of age when they can bring objects to their mouth.
- When offering new foods, only add 1 new food to the diet at a time. This will help determine which foods may cause any allergic reactions. Talk to your doctor regarding recommendations for introducing common allergens.
- Offer the same or similar foods to the rest of the family, and in a similar meal pattern as baby gets older. This will make their transition to family foods easier.
- Watch baby’s cues for signs of hunger and fullness.
- Ensure food safety; wash your hands, all surfaces/equipment, and any produce. When preparing meat, ensure it is fully cooked to the appropriate temperature.
- Offer iron-rich options such as meat or iron-fortified cereals.
- Foods to avoid before first birthday: juice, sweetened beverages, or candies, honey, choking hazards, such as whole grapes, large globs of peanut butter, or hot dog rounds.
Watch for signs of readiness to start solids or advance textures.
Fruit and Vegetable Baby Foods
- Remove all seeds, pits, stems, peels, and skins
- Chop into even sized pieces so they will cook evenly. For babies just starting solids, only use one ingredient. If baby has tolerated each ingredient, you can mix them together.
- Cooking methods: simmer in water, steam, microwave, or bake. Depending on how tough the produce is and how big the pieces are, this can be anywhere from 2-10 minutes. Softer produce like bananas or avocado do not need to be cooked. Alternatively, using fruits or vegetables canned without added sugar, syrup, or salt will allow you to skip this step.
- Transfer pieces into a blender or food processor and let cool. You can add canned beans for iron and protein, or an iron-fortified cereal.
- Add either some of the liquid used to cook the produce, breastmilk, or formula. Do not add juice, syrup, or salt.
- Blend to desired texture.
- For older babies that tolerate some lumps, you can mash with a potato masher or fork instead.
- Only serve as much as baby will eat in one sitting; discard anything baby did not eat. Store untouched purees in the refrigerator for 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Freeze in small portions in a freezer bag labeled with ingredients and date made; using an ice cube tray is a great way to make 1 oz portions!
Think outside of the baby food jar! Try pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya, collard greens, brussel sprouts, asparagus.
Meat Baby Foods
- Chop meat into even-sized pieces. Remove any skin, bones, tendons, and excess fat.
- Boil in water or bake until it reaches the appropriate temperature.
- Transfer pieces into a blender or food processor and let cool.
- Add water, formula or breastmilk. You can also add already-introduced, cooked fruits or vegetables as desired, but do not add juice, sugar, or salt.
- Blend to desired texture.
Offer the same or similar foods as the rest of the family is eating, and in a similar meal pattern as baby gets older.
Have questions about feeding your baby? Check out our informative brochure located in the baby food aisle at your favorite Harmons location or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org