Your baby is now between 4 and six months, and it seems to be the perfect time to start a solid food introduction. But instead of excitement, you suddenly feel overwhelmed.
What foods do you start with first? How much do you feed your baby? Are the baby foods that are available healthy?
After much thought and research, you decide that making food for your baby yourself is the best route. This ultimate guide to homemade baby food will help you along the way.
Where to Begin
The most common question that arises when we start to talk about making homemade baby food is where to begin? It’s easy to think that making your baby food homemade is a much healthier alternative, but the truth lies in the selection of produce.
The great thing about making everything homemade is that you have the freedom to choose the quality of the fruits or vegetables you select. By creating your own baby food and choosing more organic foods, you will reduce the number of ingredients used to preserve the baby foods on store shelves.
Although you may be trading in a little more time for preparation, you can rest easy knowing each ingredient in the foods you’re serving your little one.
Organic vs. Non-organic
It’s important to know which foods you can buy organic versus non-organic. Some foods are grown with fewer exposures to pesticides, similarly to organic produce. Fruits like berries and apples are known to have a high level of pesticides.
If you have the option, it would be a good idea to purchase this produce from the organic food section of the store. Other foods like bananas and sweet potatoes are grown with fewer pesticides, so save some money by visiting your closest grocery store produce section and grabbing a few there.
Preparing Baby Food
Another thing to consider when you are wanting to start making homemade baby food is how to prepare it. There are plenty of ways to prepare food for small mouths. The easiest way is to steam them, but if you can’t seem to get your hands on a steamer, you can bake fruits and veggies, then mash them yourself.
I prefer to leave soft chunks of foods if you’re going to go the more “pureed” route. This way, your child will be exposed to textures are can begin to practice the chewing motion.
If you make homemade baby food, it’s essential to note the date you prepared each item. This helps ensure the food you give your little one is fresh, and not expired. Once the food is made, you’ll need a safe and foolproof way to store it.
One clever method I love is to grab a couple of ice cube trays and freeze your leftovers. Once the food is frozen, you can store in a freezer-safe container and date. Baby food made at home can last up to two months in the freezer and 2-3 days in the fridge.
Keep it Fresh
Because your little one’s digestive system is so young, you’ll want to start with easily digestible foods. Foods like apples, sweet potatoes, and soft meats are a great way to kick start your baby’s solid food journey.
Once you are confident in the foundation foods, you can then graduate to foods like green beans, squash, and more fun flavors. Adding essential vitamins to your baby’s diet is a simple task. Fruits like bananas are full of carbohydrates that help baby keep energy throughout the day.
Eggs are another great food to add to their diet early on. The whites contain protein, and the yolks contain vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and B12. Egg yolks also contain choline, which is crucial for brain health and development.
Benefits of Homemade Food
Another benefit to making your baby’s food at home is the comfort of knowing what is inside the food. Outside of the preservatives already mentioned, some baby food manufacturers use additives for flavor and color.
These additives are used to replace the nutrients lost during the preparation process. The best way to avoid this is to create your own food blends filled with natural nutrients and vitamins to help your little seedling grow.
When you have the luxury of creating food blends for your baby, you have the control to make the best food available.
Make it Your Own
Now that you know what foods to start with, how to choose them, and how to prepare them, the fun and creative part begins!
By having the freedom to make food at home for your baby, you have the opportunity to create delicious food combinations that are not only tasty but are also very beneficial to your baby.
Creating flavor combinations like white peach and banana, and green bean, potato, with kale can be found with a quick google search.
When and How Much?
Finding the right food is one thing, creating and storing the food is another, but how will you know when your baby is full and how often should feed them? Understanding when and how much to feed your little one is imperative to creating a schedule for your baby.
Be patient; it’s going to take some time for your baby to become comfortable with the new textures they experience. It may take up to 20 exposures of a certain food until they actually give it a try. Hang in there!
Remember, portion sizes change as your baby grows.
At 4-6 months, babies will eat about two meals a day, each being about 2-4 tablespoons.
At 7-12 months they may want to eat three meals, each being the size of their fist. Always remember to watch the patterns of your baby.
They will let you know when they are hungry, full, and ready to eat again; but these guidelines are great to keep in mind.
Time to Practice This Yourself!
Although the initial idea of starting to make food for your baby at home can seem daunting, with these ideas and a little guidance, you’ll be a baby chef in no time.
Don’t forget to give yourself time to learn and grow. Just as this is new for your baby, it’s new for you too. Taking your time to research is a wonderful first step. Good job, Mom and Dad!
If you are still a little nervous visit a video streaming site that can help with step-by-step actions on how to create great food for your little one. Happy cooking!