Milestone Alert! Your baby is four months old and is now showing signs of readiness to have his/her first solid food. While there is ready-made baby food in the store, it is still best to feed your baby homemade baby food.
Why should you make baby food yourself?
Many parents prefer making their baby's food at home because of the following advantages:
- You know what goes into the food.
- You know the baby food does not have added salt, sugar, or any form of preservatives.
- You get to choose the freshest produce for your baby's food.
- You can be assured of the cleanliness of the environment the food was prepared in
- You can save more, especially if you grow your produce.
We are sure these are enough reasons to convince you to make your baby food. Don't get intimidated; it is easy. We are here to break the steps down for you.
How to Prepare Baby Food At Home
Before we discuss how to make baby food at home, there are a few things you need to decide on. Let us go over the list of things you need to prepare.
1. Decide which approach you will use for feeding your child.
You may choose to either start with traditional weaning or opt for baby-led weaning.
Traditional weaning involves introducing your baby to a new taste and texture gradually. There are three stages of baby food according to your baby's age.
· Stage 1 – For babies four to six months, breastmilk or formula is still the primary nutrition source. The food should be served in puree form to help the baby get accustomed to solid food. The baby food's texture should be thin and smooth. You can achieve this by using a blender and adding breastmilk, formula, or water to the puree.
· Stage 2 – For babies six to nine months, you can already offer pureed or mashed food with a thicker consistency. You can also combine different fruits or vegetables.
· Stage 3 – At this stage, most babies will be feeding themselves already. You may offer your baby food with little chunks mixed in to prepare them to table food at this stage. At this age, they may also pick up small pieces of finger food with their little fingers.
On the other hand, the Baby-led weaning (BLW) approach involves giving your baby finger food that he/she can grab and put into their mouth. If you choose this approach, wait a little longer before starting to feed your baby. BLW is started when the babies are six months and older. According to the advocates, BLW encourages the babies to get familiar with texture and flavors, reduces the risks of obesity, and promotes fine motor skills development.
2. Prepare the things you'll need before your baby starts with solids.
If you are going with the traditional approach, you'll need the following in the kitchen:
· Chopping Board
· Breastmilk, water, or formula milk to thin the consistency of baby food
· Ice Tray or jars for storage or baby food containers
On the other hand, if you will go for the BLW approach, you will need:
· Chopping Board
For your baby, you need to shop for the following items:
· High Chair
· Bibs – pocket bibs are useful for catching fallen food
· Plate or bowl
3. Shop for fresh produce, grains, and proteins.
4. Prepare the food
Before you start, food safety and hygiene are critical. You can read our blog post to discover the tips on ensuring your kitchen is clean and safe for baby food preparation.
Now that you have the ingredients and tools you need for traditional weaning, let us get started in the kitchen.
1. If you will be starting with pureed vegetables, peel, cut into smaller pieces and boil the vegetable of choice. The time you need to cook your vegetables depend on the consistency you need it to be. Refer to the different food stages above.
2. Drain the water.
3. Put the food in the blender and blend until you reach the right consistency.
4. Add breastmilk or formula to make the consistency thinner.
5. Transfer to a container.
Note: If you will be feeding your child fruits, peel, chop them into smaller pieces, and then blend the food.
If you have chosen the BLW approach, follow these instructions instead:
1. Peel the vegetable and cut it into small pieces. It should be small enough for your baby's little hand to grab.
2. Boil the vegetable until it is soft and can be smushed by fingers.
3. For fruits, choose those which are soft such as banana, avocado, or mango, and cut into smaller pieces.
5. Store your food correctly.
Your baby will only eat as little as one tablespoon, so it is important to have an air-tight storage container to keep the leftover. Usually, baby food in an air-tight container lasts up to three days in the refrigerator.
You may also opt to prepare a bigger batch of pureed baby food ahead of time and freezing them in a small box or ice cube trays. Here are the steps in storing baby food in the freezer.
1. Place the baby food into each of the ice tray's compartment.
2. Cover the ice tray with a lid.
3. Leave in the freezer for four to six hours or until the cubes have hardened.
4. Pop-out the frozen baby food cubes and transfer them to a storage container or freezer storage bags.
5. Label the container with the name and the date.
6. Store the food cubes in the freezer for up to three months.
You can also flash freeze fruits in season, vegetables, or even chicken meat. Here are the steps:
1. For food that clumps together like berries, lay them on a tray.
2. Place in the freezer for at least an hour.
3. Once frozen, transfer to a container or freezer storage.
6. Serve the food.
You can serve newly prepared food to your baby in a bowl but make sure to check its taste and temperature if you will be using your frozen baby food, thaw, and reheat as necessary.
There you have it! We hope that this article has provided you the knowledge and the confidence to make your own baby food at home.
If you are unsure if your baby should start eating solids, you can check out the list of readiness signs from our article, 4 Steps to Introduce Solid Food for Your Baby.
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