With so much information available to expectant moms, it’s sometimes hard to tell what you really need to know. That is, until the moment when the question pops up because it’s suddenly really relevant, and you can’t for the life of you remember what it was so-and-so said about such-and-such. In addition to the information overload, there are a hundred and one popular trends that claim to be the “right” way to handle your baby’s eating/sleeping/dressing/playing/learning and oh my gosh you do it that way, you’re such a terrible person!
Luckily, we’re not here to tell you the “right” way to feed your baby, just give you some pointers on where to start if making your own baby food sounds like a good idea to you. If you want more information and a little more guidance on things like feeding, sleeping, and playing, we highly recommend enrolling in our available courses and visiting our resource site for reliable information for you and your growing family!
When to Start
One of the biggest questions to address is when to start your baby on solid foods. Most say between 4 and 6 months old, and it’s important to remember that every baby is different. If your baby rejects solid food at first, that’s okay (it’s even pretty normal).
Some things that might help you determine if your baby is ready for solid food:
- Can he hold his head up on his own?
- Can he sit with assistance?
- Is he mouthing his hands or toys?
- Is he interested in your food?
If the answers to the above questions are “yes,” then chances are good that your baby is ready for solid foods in addition to his milk or formula.
Homemade: Better Quality, or Just More Work?
There are several reasons moms give for making their own baby food. Some enjoy cooking, so why not? Others like to know everything that goes into their baby’s meals. In addition, homemade baby food has greater flexibility, so you can adjust the ingredients or texture to suit your baby’s preferences.
There are also moms who simply don’t have the time to make fresh baby food every day – sometimes they don’t even have time to make fresh food for themselves. Others might be intimidated by the concept of being the authority that chooses what her baby should eat.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this, as it varies from mom to mom and from baby to baby. What we can say is this: It’s not bad or evil to feed your baby store-bought baby food. You’re not a terrible mom, your baby will do just fine, and it’s okay. Deep breaths. We’re here for you.
For you who think making your own baby food might be fun or just a good idea, here are some basics.
- Wash, peel, and removed pits or seeds from all fruits and vegetables.
- Cook food until cooked through and very tender. (Firm fruits, veggies, and meats especially.) Steaming or microwaving with a small amount of water can keep many nutrients and minerals intact.
- For soft fruits, mash or puree the fruit alone or the fruit canned in its own juice. Do not add honey, corn syrup, or other sweeteners.
- Start out with single-ingredient foods, for ease of digestion and smooth acclimation.
- If you’re cooking the same thing for the rest of the family, remove the baby’s portion before adding seasonings or salt.
- Most baby food can be stored in the freezer: Divide into a clean ice cube tray or freeze in meal-sized portions on a cookie sheet, then remove to a freezer bag for storage.
For your convenience, we’ve included a simple recipe below for babies just starting to explore solid foods.
- 1/2 Banana
- Small splash formula or milk
Mash the banana thoroughly in a clean bowl, then add the liquid in slowly. Mix until you’ve reached the desired texture (semi-liquid is a good place to start), then feed with a small spoon a couple times a day until your baby is comfortable with this new process.
This mixture will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days.
For more recipes and baby food cooking tips, check out the Newborn Course Foodie Pinterest. Feel free to let us know about recipes that have worked for you and your baby. We’re always interested in seeing what new ideas new moms come up with.