Good nutrition is very important in the early stages of a baby’s development. Most adults plan their meals carefully to ensure that each meal contains nutritious items from the main food groups. The same principle applies when introducing your baby to solid food. The question is whether to go with homemade or store-bought baby food.
A lot of factors go into making this decision such as the cost, benefits, time, etc. and each option has its pros and cons. Above all, the aim remains the same – to provide essential nutrients for the baby.
I made a choice to go with homemade baby food with both my sons, now 4 years old and 9 months old.
Anything can be puréed into a meal
Provided the food is appropriate for the age. This also gives you a chance to be creative with food, exploring different tastes and colors, and watching how your little one responds.
I’ve learned that thought and creativity make introducing solids so fun (mostly for me). Even the normal family meals that we have, for example, spaghetti and mince, can be puréed for a baby. This way, the whole family can get to enjoy the same meal for dinner.
You get to choose what you want to feed your baby. Including what portion of each food item you want, bearing in mind to include items from the main food groups of protein, starch, and vegetables.
You may also want to give your baby certain foods that aren’t available as ready-to-eat packaged foods, for example, avocado.
Freshly made foods and without preservatives taste so much better. The baby will get to experience the real taste of food.
This may even make the transition to table food so much easier because the taste will be familiar.
Store-bought items may contain undesired perseveratives to increase their shelf life. This is completely eliminated in homemade food.
As you may want to cook a batch to last a few days, baby food can last a couple of days in the fridge and longer in the freezer. I normally make a week’s worth of food and store some in single-serving freezer pots. To thaw, I simply keep in the fridge overnight to defrost, then warm in a water bath.
The only “specialized” equipment you need is a stick blender. Everything else can be the ingredients that we normally have in our homes. These can range from fruits and vegetables to the various meats in our freezers to the rice or pasta we have in containers and even some frozen peas. All that’s needed is to steam (or boil), then puree and store…easy peasy.
There’s a sense of gratification that comes with each batch of meals that you make, knowing that YOU made your baby’s food.
Save the environment
Finally, homemade baby food is environmentally friendly in that there is no waste from disposable packaging.
- Don’t stress. Have fun!
- Simple is best: start with single fruit or vegetable, then move on to blends
- Serve the same food for a few days to observe allergies.
- Hold off on adding sugar, salt, and spices
- Steam rather than boil. Use extra liquid to mash if needed. This can be water or milk (both formula and breastmilk)
- Be prepared for the mess as you and your little one explore different foods, textures, and colors. Of course, there are gears you can use to minimize this mess but don’t be afraid to explore with foods like beetroot
- Be sure to use age-appropriate foods
- Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetable
- You can serve what the entire family is having for a meal, just blend it. Remember to omit spices
- To freeze, spoon into ice cube trays then cover and freeze until firm. When frozen, throw the cubes into a freezer container or resealable plastic bag.
Simple Baby Solid Food Recipes To Try :
(A stick/regular blender is enough for these recipes No need to buy expensive baby food maker, unless you want to.)
Single fruits or vegetable purées
For example apple, carrot, butternut, frozen peas. These are great for first foods.
Directions: Thoroughly wash and chop, steam until soft then blend. Add extra liquid if necessary.
Note: some fruits don’t need cooking, just mash and serve. For example avocado, banana, mango, or use apples to make this apple sauce.
A blend of 2 or more ingredients
For example: Mango and banana puree: Chop the 2, pulse in a blender and serve. You can even just mash with a fork.
- Apple and broccoli: Thoroughly wash and chop, steam until soft then blend. Add extra liquid if necessary.
- Chicken and sweet potato: boil the 2 separately. Blend the chicken and mash the sweet potato with a fork then mix together. You can use the cooking liquid to thin out the mixture if it’s too thick.
- Pasta, minced beef and tomato: Fry mince and tomato in oil, add pasta and stock then cook until pasta is soft. Blend and serve.
- Fish, carrot and potato: Thoroughly wash and chop vegetables, fry in a little oil then add the fish and a little liquid and cook until soft. Blend, adding extra liquid if necessary.
- Cereal and fruit: Use simple cereal like oats, mabele or brown rice: Ground into powder using a blender then cook to a soft porridge consistency in boiling water. Serve with pureed fruit for a little sweetness or even plain yoghurt. You can also add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Note: Protein is important in babies as it is for adults. So include proteins in your blends as the baby grows. These can be as simple as fish, minced beef, lentils, beans, chicken, plain yoghurt.
Remember, Mama, the biggest tip with this is to have fun as you explore what solid food your baby likes and how to be creative in meeting their dietary needs. There really is no right or wrong, just another learning experience in parenthood. Have fun, and leave us a comment to let us know your experience.