Is it time for your baby to have a taste of solid foods? Starting on solid foods is an exciting time for both you and your baby. It's the season for him to have a taste of new and exciting flavors. On the other hand, it is the season for you to discover the foods he likes.
But there's more to the taste when it comes to feeding your baby solids. Above all, you must make sure that the food you will give him is packed with the nutrients he needs to grow bigger and healthier.
This is the reason why a lot of moms decide to go for homemade baby food. This option is not only considered to be healthier but more affordable as well.
But how to make food for baby? What should you feed your baby? Where should you start? In this guide, we will discover the steps you need to take along with some expert tips on how to make homemade baby food.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Baby Food
Is this your first time making baby food, and you don't know where to start? We created this step by step guide just for you! If you're ready, let's get started!
Step 1. Research what types of food you can feed your baby.
The first and most important thing that you need to do is find out which are the best type of solid foods is safe for your baby to consume based on his age. According to Care.com, there is a general rule of thumb, and that majority of the foods are okay to give to your baby during his first year as long as they are properly prepared. (1)
There is one exception, though—honey. This food item is not recommended to be consumed by babies until 12 months because of the risk of infantile botulism.
This means that you can try giving your baby different types of fruit and vegetable, but you must be mindful of how these are prepared. To have a greater understanding of this, you must familiarize yourself with the best texture for the different feeding stages of your baby. These are as follows:
Let's dig in deeper to what this means
Stage 1: 4 to 6 months.Before, the rule of thumb is to start your baby on solids at 6 months. However, some babies show signs of readiness for solid foods as early as 4 months. You should pay attention to these signs so you can give your baby the nutrition he needs.(2) For this stage, the best texture is thicker than the consistency of breast-milk and must contain only one ingredient. This means that the fruit or vegetable must be turned into a smooth puree without any chunks.
Stage 2: 6 to 9 months.For this stage, the baby food should be thicker than purees and may have a few mash-able soft chunks in them. Aside from the difference in texture, you can start using multiple ingredients when making stage 2 baby foods. You can also begin adding spices to your recipes.
Stage 3: 9 to 12 monthsFor this stage, the meal will start to have bigger and more chew-able chunks. Some great examples are ripe fruit, shredded or grounded meat, scrambled meat, rice, soft pasta, and many more. This is to prepare your baby for table food when he hits the age of 12 months.
Step 2. Choose the right equipment to make baby food.
After determining what is the right consistency of your baby's food according to his age, we should proceed with choosing the right equipment to make baby food, depending on the stage that he is in and the consistency and texture of the food that he needs.
You can prepare your baby's food manually with the use of a fork, but let's be honest, that would consume time that you don't have. Lucky for you, there is plenty of equipment that you can choose from when it comes to grinding, blending, or chopping ingredients. Some of these are:
For this category, you can choose from two types—one-step food processor (steams and blends) or 4-in-1 food processor(defrosts, steams, blends, and reheats).
With the vast array of baby food maker choices, you can find in the market, finding the best option can be a bit difficult. Lucky for you, we have created the ultimate baby food maker buying guide which can help you choose which one best suits your needs.
Step 3. Get your food making accessories ready.
As mentioned, making homemade baby food can get quite tedious. To make the process as convenient as possible, you would also need a few kitchen accessories. These include:
These would come handy not just for prepping the food but storing them as well.
Step 4. Prepare the homemade baby food ingredients.
Now that you have everything ready, it's time we prepare the ingredients for cooking. There are different types of ingredients that you can use for your babies food, and each type has different preparation requirements.
To help you out, we have categorized the ingredients and provided a few tips on how to prepare them below:
Produce (Fruits and vegetables)
Livestock (Meat and poultry)
Step 5. Add flavor.
If your preparing stage 1 baby foods, you must skip this step for now. If your baby falls under stage 2 and 3 baby foods, proceed with this step.
Before you process the ingredients, don't forget to add some flavor into it so that it will be more palatable for your little one. This is most especially true with sweet potatoes and potatoes as they tend to taste bland.
For now, hold off with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Instead, use spices like cinnamon, basil, nutmeg, anise, lemon zest, oregano, ginger, dill, and many more.
The 4-day wait rule applies to spices as well.
Step 6. Process the ingredients.
Now that the ingredients are properly steamed and prepared, and it's time to process it! You can do this manually with a fork or mechanically using the types of processors that we have mentioned in step 2.
Step 7. Serve the baby food.
If you're still not happy with the consistency of your baby food, you can use a sieve or strainer to thin it out a bit more before serving it. Adding water is no longer needed at this stage. This is recommended for foods with tough skin such as peas and beans.
Once the puree has cooled down a bit, serve it right away. Warm foods must be served warm and cold foods must be served cold. Avoid keeping the prepared food at room temp for more than an hour.On the other hand, untouched food can last for 48 to 72 hours in the refrigerator. When frozen, it can last for up to 3 months.
Step 8. Store the dishes.
If you decided to make large batches of food, you would be happy to know that you can store it. Just make sure to store it within 2 hours after cooking it as bacteria may grow in it after 2 hours.
For leftovers, you can place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Please keep in mind that you can no longer re-freeze leftovers after reheating them.
How to Store Baby Food
Here are some tips on how to store homemade baby food:
Step 9. Reheat it.
When you decide to use the frozen baby food, the first thing that you need to do is to thaw it by placing it in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it.
Once it is properly defrosted, you can reheat the food in various ways—water bath, using the microwave or stove, and many more.
Get Started on Your Food Making Journey!
Preparing food for babies is a sensitive process. There are a lot of things that can do wrong, which may put your baby at risk. However, the benefits of feeding your child homemade baby food outweigh such risks.
The good thing is you can easily manage these risks. You just need to follow all the steps and tips in this simple guide that we have provided you.