There are so many brands of baby foods these days, it's overwhelming. A mom's trip to the grocery store becomes more of a mental tennis match than a quick trip to the store. Why does food shopping need to be stressful? It can be tough to know which are the healthiest choices, even if a brand says that it's organic, non-GMO, and low-sugar. Many moms are trying their hand at making their own food for their little bundles of joy, which is a great way to make sure that ingredients are healthy and controlled. But there are definitely some things to become aware of before getting started.
Here are 10 things to know before making homemade baby food.
10 Make Fridge And Freezer Room
As any mom who has done some meal prep knows, it can be tough to find space in the freezer for containers frozen meals. This is something to keep in mind before you start making baby food.
According to WebMD, making your own baby food means that it needs to be put in the freezer and fridge because it could go bad faster than other types of food. Moms should remember this if they're meal prepping. This is in contrast to packaged baby food, which can be placed in the fridge once they're opened.
READ MORE: 10 Tried & Trusted Organic Baby Food Brands
9 No Fancy Stuff Needed
According to WebMD, there is no reason why you can't simply use a food processor when making homemade baby food. The website adds, "And if you don’t have one, just use a potato masher or blender, to make sure the food is soft and does not have chunks."
This is great news, especially since moms are often told about all the kitchen tools they'll need to buy for their baby. It can feel stressful — like there's too much to purchase and not enough storage space. Thankfully, you're good with a food processor, which you likely already have since it's so useful for soups and other uses.
8 Don't Forget About Texture
According to Mashed.com, some texture is a great thing to incorporate in homemade baby food. Don't be afraid to mix it up! The website notes that moms can give babies (who are self-feeding, that is) chopped-up food or grated food, and combine it with some liquid so it's a good texture for them. They say, "This preparation is perfect for babies who are working toward eating more grownup solids like soft pastas, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs." Giving your child textured foods is also fun for their palate, introducing them to different flavors and tastes.
7 Safety Is The Best Policy
Today's Parent wants moms to know that being super safe when making their own baby food is of super high importance.
The website suggests washing hands prior to any cooking and being careful about uneaten food. As they say, "Germs breed in the tepid range between cold and hot, so keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. It's also important to not leave baby food out at room temperature for more than two hours, and to throw out any food that has surpassed the limit." They also say that when your baby doesn't eat all the food that you created, you have to get rid of it because a baby's spoon being put back into the baby food will cause bacteria.
6 Don't Make It Bland
There is no reason why moms can't add some flavor into the baby food that they're making. It's easy to think that you shouldn't add some flair to your foods because baby food is often purees of fruit or vegetables, but fear not!
Take some inspiration from this mom over at Babyfoode.com and add some spices. As she says, "I pair each of my recipes with a spice that complements the flavors of the fruit or vegetable in the puree... I add spices to my purees from the very first bite. Yes, you heard me, from-the-very-first-bite!" She notes that this is a great idea because it helps babies learn to like different flavors and foods.
5 Not Every Veggie Is A Good Idea
When you're about to start making your own baby food, it's easy to assume that you could puree any fruit or vegetable. After all, this is what you would buy in a pouch or box from the grocery store, right?
According to The Spruce Eats, you want to avoid certain vegetables until your baby has their first birthday. "Don't make homemade baby foods with beets, spinach, collards or turnip greens for babies under one year of age due to high concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which can reduce the baby's hemoglobin," the site says.
4 Find The Right Consistency
Something else that moms should know about making their own baby food is that it should be somewhere between too thick and too thin. This is a fine balance, however, because you're making purees, but it's good to be aware of the right consistency.
As Simply Rebekah says, "Your baby won’t be able to handle thick textures at first, but that may quickly change. Only dilute the food as needed to get it through your blender. When you thaw the food you can further dilute it as necessary with water or breast milk. This is a better alternative to having food that is too runny."
3 Don't Use This Kitchen Appliance
Microwaves can be handy and convenient for heating up foods, like leftovers. They're these magical boxes that can get you the food you want in a matter of seconds without having to get the oven ready.
That being said, moms should know that they shouldn't use the microwave when heating up homemade baby food. According to The Spruce Eats, "even well-stirred foods could have dangerous hot spots." They do, however, suggest some tips if you must use the microwave (but they do advise against it): "If you do, use the defrost cycle, checking and stirring often. Always test the temperature by touching a spoonful to the outside of your upper lip. Be sure to wash the spoon before using."
READ MORE: 15 Baby Foods That Contain Toxins
2 You Can Include The Family Dinner, Too
Why not give your baby some of the food the rest of the family is having for dinner?
According to BabyCenter, you can definitely mash some of your foods into a baby meal. It can actually be a good alternative to storebought baby food: "If this all sounds like a lot of trouble, keep in mind that 'homemade baby food' can be the very same food you feed the rest of your family." The site continues saying, "Simply use your food mill or other tool to puree, blend, or mash some of the same food that your family is having for dinner." Moms can also give babies soups and stews since those are easy to sip on.
1 You Will Save Money
Perhaps the one thing that moms are wondering the most when it comes to making their own baby food is whether it will cost more or less than buying baby food.
It turns out that you can save money if making homemade baby food. As this mom blogging at Babyfoode.com says, "This might come as a surprise to you, but making your own baby food with all organic ingredients is more than 50 percent cheaper than buying their store-bought counterpart." This mom explains that making her baby's food wasn't just because of the nutrients, it was because it was more affordable. "It does help the budget if your little one is anything like mine and packing away upward of 25 ounces a day," she jokes.