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Making your own baby food ensures that what your child is eating is fresh, nutritious and free of additives such as chemicals and food preservatives and you will have total control over what is put into your baby’s food.
In addition, making your own baby food will save you money. You will be able to feed your baby according to his or her needs because you will know what foods are best suited for your baby from experience.
Making your own baby food also ensures that your baby experiences a greater variety of tastes and textures, helping your baby make the transition to table foods and also help him/her develop healthy eating habits
1. Babies are susceptible to digestive upsets so always work with clean hands and use clean cooking utensils, preparation surfaces, pots and pans etc. when making home made baby food. Prepare foods immediately upon removing them from the refrigerator and freeze immediately after cooking any foods you want to store.
2. Steaming vegetables is the best method of preparation as this softens them, makes them easier to chew and preserves more of the vitamins and minerals than boiling. A steamer basket is cheap and by cooking fruits and vegetables in it you’ll be sure of keeping the nutrients in the food.
3. Puree the foods using 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 and a fork will be sufficient. A food mill strains most cooked foods to a very smooth consistency. All the tools you need to make baby food are probably already in your kitchen.
4. Prepare large amounts of foods at one time and freeze them. Take your prepared foods and freeze the food in plastic “pop out” ice cube trays. Small tupperware jars with lids serve the same purpose and stack easily. Label and date the packages and rotate them putting the most recently frozen foods behind the previously frozen ones. They can be stored for up to two months.
5. When you take frozen foods out of the freezer, warm the food in a cup placed in a saucepan of boiling water with a lid on or use a microwave to thaw and warm the baby food, being sure to stir the food well to avoid hot pockets.
6. Cereals are typically the first foods given to a baby because they contain lots of iron. You can prepare your own by running oatmeal through your blender. Fruits are generally given next. You will need to cook all fruits except bananas until they are soft.
7. Make your own apple sauce and pear sauce; peaches, plums and apricots can be peeled and boil or steam them, but don’t add any sugar as fruits are sweet enough on their own.
8. Preferably buy and use organic fruit and vegetables. Your baby deserves pesticide-free foods.
9. Yogurt, creamed cottage cheese, creamed pumpkin, baked potato, avocado and tofu / soy bean curd are all popular with babies. A suggestion is to blend together cottage cheese, banana and fresh orange juice – your baby will love it.
10. Meats should be added slowly to their diet. Meat 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 well.
11. 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. Introducing solids prepares the baby for the transition to adult food and offers further vitamins and minerals as the baby grows. Always be patient with your baby and allow at least a few days between newly added foods to make sure the baby doesn’t suffer any reactions.