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Homemade Baby Food Basics

Make homemade baby food to help your baby grow up big and strong.

Proper nutrition is critical for your baby’s development. Deciding what to feed your baby is one of the most important choices you will make. It’s important that you provide your baby with all the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow strong and healthy. There are healthy pre-made options available on the market. However, making homemade baby food is the only way to ensure the food your baby is eating is fresh and healthy. Homemade baby food can also save you money and lay the groundwork for a lifelong healthy diet.

Homemade Baby Food
Give your baby the proper nutrition she needs by learning to make your own homemade baby food.

Familiarize yourself with a general feeding chart

0-6 months: Formula or breast milk.
4-6 months: As they outgrow the tongue thrust reflex, work in pureed cereal, fruits and vegetables with formula or breast milk.
6-8 months: Formula or breast milk, cereal, pureed meats, fruits and vegetables.
8-10 months: As the pincher grasp develops, introduce small portions of soft foods like cheese, mashed potatoes and banana pieces.
10 months: They now can swallow more easily so you can try things like eggs, macaroni and cheese, Cheerios and other small bits of food with your formula or breast milk.

Watch for solid food readiness

You don’t want to rob your baby of vital nutrients during rapid growth periods, so watch for signs that your baby is ready to start eating solid foods. The first signs will be better head control and being able to sit up with little to no help from you. Other signs may include an interest in what you’re eating, opening their mouth while watching you eat or suddenly waking in the night after a sleeping pattern has been developed. You also want to make sure your baby can self-regulate how much food they are getting by letting you know they’re full. They might turn their head away or just stop eating.

Choose fresh and healthy fruits, vegetables and meats

The best part about making homemade baby food is knowing exactly what you’re feeding your baby. Make sure you introduce one food at a time and give your baby about three days before trying another food. This allows you to see if your baby has allergies to certain foods. Most importantly, be patient. If your baby pushes the food back out or doesn’t seem interested, try again in a day or two.

Choose the method of cooking that will be easiest for you

Whether you make a little at a time or you dedicate a day to cooking, there are many ways you can prepare your homemade baby food. Steaming food is the most popular way because it preserves the most nutrients. Other cooking methods may include roasting, baking and boiling. Don’t forget to wash your hands and all of the food thoroughly.

Puree your homemade baby food

After the food is cooked and soft, blend it until it’s a creamy consistency. For younger babies, it’s a good idea to mix food with a bit of water, formula or breast milk until you see how well your baby can it. Make sure to prepare meat well done. Also, remove the skin and fat from the meat before blending.

Store your homemade baby food

Once you are finished making your homemade baby food, keep it refrigerated or frozen. Fresh homemade baby food is good for a few days when stored in an airtight container. Anything left over you will want to freeze for a later date. On average, frozen fruits and vegetables last eight months. Meat typically lasts two months. An easy way to freeze food is to portion it into ice cube trays. When frozen, pop out each serving and store them in date-labeled freezer bags.

Try different recipes

There are so many books and websites dedicated to delicious baby food recipes. Have fun experimenting and see what your little one likes. Try introducing your baby to spices to awaken their taste buds. Get your baby used to eating the same foods and flavors as your family eats.

Feed your baby with confidence

You should be proud of the achievements you’ve accomplished. You know that your baby is getting nutritious, healthy and fresh meals. He or she is grateful too. Most processed baby food is cooked at extremely high temperatures so that you can store them longer. However, the high temperatures deplete the food of vitamins and flavor. The key ingredient to your food is love. It’s a wonderfully messy start: the first spoonful of baby food.

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