Before you start making your own baby food at home, consult your pediatrician and the AAP’s most current guidelines on introducing solid food. Look for signs of readiness like sitting unsupported and losing the tongue thrust reflex. Follow the four-day rule for introducing new foods; introduce single-ingredient foods and wait four days to rule out any adverse effects.
Choose Your Fruits, Veggies, Meats, Or Grains
Fruits & vegetables make excellent first food choices. Popular options include: bananas, berries, avocado, carrots, pears, peas, green beans, apples, sweet potato, butternut squash, rice, barley, oatmeal, and plain yogurt.
Handy Tools To Make Baby Food
Thankfully, making baby food is much easier today than it was for our parents’ generation! Nifty gadgets like the Baby Bullet blender make pureeing baby food a breeze. The BEABA Babycook is an all-in-one device; it steams and purees food in the same machine! Some foods are soft enough to mash with a fork by hand. If you’d rather not invest in a baby-food specific tool, you can use a blender or food processor you already own.
Prep Your Food For Cooking
Clean your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparing the food. Many peel their apples, carrots, and more; some choose to leave the skin on. Regardless, make sure your food is clean and evenly sliced/cut/or chunked. This step will help everything cook more evenly.
Steam, Bake, Or Boil
There’s no big secret to cooking baby food! The goal is to make the food as soft as possible. If the food is mashable in its raw form (like bananas, berries, or avocado), you might be able to skip this cooking step. Keep in mind that cooking food makes it easier for a baby’s young stomach to digest. Many choose to steam the food - it’s a great way to retain most of the nutritive value. Some parents prefer to boil the fruits or veggies instead, taking care not to add too much extra water. Baking can bring out extra sweetness in food like carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Avoid adding seasonings like salt.
RELATED: 15 Foods To Never Feed Baby
Puree & Strain Cooked Fruits & Veggies
Toss the cooked food into a blender or food processor (or specialty baby food maker). The goal is to create a puree. Add more liquid (water, breastmilk, or formula) for younger babies; older babies can handle food that’s a bit more solid or chunky. Consider straining the food to remove lumps or inedible parts like the skin of an apple.
Store In Individual Portions
It’s easiest to pre-portion baby food into individual serving sizes. Ice cube trays make this super easy - each ice cube is only one ounce. Silicone ice cube trays make it easy to freeze food and release it when it’s solid. Alternately, recycled baby food jars, small storage containers, and even sandwich or breastmilk bags work to store baby food.
Freeze Or Refrigerate
Homemade baby food can be stored in the refrigerator for about four days. In the freezer, baby food lasts about three months. Consider that some foods - especially fruits - are delicious when served frozen! Cold food can feel wonderful on sore teething baby gums.
Thaw Overnight In The Refrigerator
For those foods that are better at room temperature, thawing overnight in the refrigerator is the safest option. Microwaving baby food also works, but doing so can create pockets of extra-hot food. Mix well and test the temperature before serving.
Making baby food at home isn’t rocket science! Breaking it down into easy steps makes it plain to see: do-it-yourself baby food is almost as easy as 1-2-3!