With the current U.S. baby formula shortage, we thought it would make sense to remind people who have infants some important tips when it comes to nourishing their babies.
Once your baby is able to try solid foods, we recommend that you make your own baby foods. While there are high quality ready-made baby foods available, there are a lot of not-so-good choices that contain too much sugar and salt, and many parents like being able to feed their babies the same foods they are serving for their family’s meals. Here’s some tips for making your own baby food.
Making baby food is not overly difficult since all recipes involve the same basic steps: cook raw ingredients till soft and then purée or blend the ingredients further so the texture is appropriate for the baby’s swallowing capabilities.
Use high quality fresh or frozen ingredients. Buy organic if your budget allows. Your baby is growing and developing and their bodies are more sensitive than an adult’s or older child’s to pesticides, additives and artificial ingredients.
Sanitation is important. Make sure your hands, equipment and work area are very clean when handling both the raw ingredients and the finished product.
- Feed baby from a dish, not from the food container, so you don’t spread germs to the remaining portions of food.
- Refrigerate or freeze foods promptly to prevent spoilage.
- Focus on textures and ingredients your baby is ready for:
– Initially, baby foods should be made from one ingredient with a very smooth texture.
– As baby becomes more adept at eating solids, combine several ingredients that have different textures, flavors and colors.
Use equipment that makes the job easier. Baby food for the youngest eaters needs to have a very smooth texture. Use a blender or food processor if you own one; another option is a hand-cranked baby food mill, which costs $20-$40.
Most baby food recipes require that you cook the ingredients till very soft, then purée, blend or mash with a fork. Do the initial cooking using a method that is easy for you:
– Steaming vegetables on the stovetop is easiest for most people, but you can also use a skillet coated with a little cooking oil, steam them in a microwave oven, or roast them in a conventional oven. Use methods that are easy and familiar for you.
– Batch cooking simplifies the process. When you cook for adults, cook extra vegetables, chicken (as they get older), etc. and freeze them unseasoned in recipe quantities so they are available when you are ready to make baby food. Simply defrost and blend or puree the pre-cooked ingredients. This saves time when baby is hungry and ready to eat.
Cook in quantities you can use or freeze. Make baby food in small batches that you can use before it spoils. Baby food keeps in the refrigerator for 2 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze baby food in small portions, using containers such as ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags, label and date. Most babies eat less than a tablespoon when they start eating solids so one recipe will last for multiple meals.
Planning Makes It Simple!
As you can see, learning to make baby food is not difficult and it won’t be long before your baby will be eating the same food as the rest of the family, just in smaller pieces. Starting them out on baby foods that expose them to a variety of colors, flavors and textures will make them more eager to try new foods as they grow and expand their mealtime skills. If you know anyone who is expecting, please share this article. We also have a nutritional wellness program to help soon-to-be moms, and new moms, and their baby’s and toddlers to share, thank you!