Newborn Babies

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

An Overview of Homemade Baby Food

When your baby is ready for solids—usually somewhere between 6 and 8 months old—you may want to consider making your own baby food. Homemade baby food can be a great choice to help you save money and make sure your baby is getting all the nutrition he or she needs. 

Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Food?

Although every baby will be ready for solids at different times, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends not introducing any food besides breast milk or formula before 4 months of age.

Formula-fed babies are at risk for the introduction of solid food too early in life (3 to 4 months old), and early solid food introduction places children at a higher risk of obesity later in life. The AAP has several reminders to keep in mind about introducing your baby to solid foods:

  • Evidence shows that you may need to introduce a food at least three times before your baby accepts it. It's natural for a baby to not like food when it is first introduced, but don't give up. It may take a few tries before they really learns to like the taste of those pureed peas.
  • There is no evidence that introducing fruit before vegetables will make your baby more likely to eat sweet foods. Babies, and adults for that matter, are designed to love the taste of sweet food, so it's not necessarily harmful to introduce them to fruit first. Instead of giving your baby only vegetables, try blending both fruit and vegetables to make them more appealing and focus on giving a wide array of tastes and textures.
  • If you can't make your own baby food, it's OK! There are plenty of healthy pre-made baby foods available at your local grocery store. Just be sure to avoid any excessively processed baby foods and focus on organic options that offer low sodium and no added sugar.
  • Your baby will probably eat a lot less than you think. A new eater may only eat as little as one to two tablespoons of a new food. Older babies will only need three to four tablespoons.
  • What's a good first food? While rice cereal used to be a typically accepted first food for babies, you don't have to limit your baby to only eating rice cereal as a first food. With this in mind, don't be afraid to introduce your baby to whatever food you normally eat at home. Some great first baby food options include soft fruits that can be easily blended, such as bananas and avocados, although you should take care to only introduce one food at a time in case your baby does have an allergic reaction.

What About Allergies?

Many parents may worry about introducing their baby to new foods that could have the potential for an allergic reaction. But in general, the AAP does not have any specific restrictions on introducing allergens to your baby. In fact, there is some evidence that early introduction of common allergens, such as peanut products, may actually have a protective effect on babies.

If you have a family history of allergies, you may want to talk to your pediatrician about a specific food introduction plan to minimize any risk and monitor for allergic reactions. If you are concerned about the risk of your baby being allergic to a food, be sure to watch out for any adverse reactions, such as a rash or hives. If your baby develops any trouble breathing, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

The Tools You'll Need

All you really need to make your own baby food is a blender and some containers to hold the food. But, if you want to make things easy, you can invest in a baby food maker. You can also consider using other homemade baby food tools, such as a hand-held blender, a vegetable steamer to cook vegetables, and freezable baby food cubes. Alternatively, you can freeze food in an ice cube tray, then thaw it in a microwave when you're ready to use it. When you're ready to get started, here's an easy, step-by-step guide to making your own baby food.

Recipes to Try

Making your own baby food doesn't have to be intimidating.

Try your hand at these simple homemade baby food recipes you can make right at home:

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). Infant food and feeding. Healthy Children.org. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/HALF-Implementation-Guide/Age-Specific-Content/pages/infant-food-and-feeding.aspx

Fleischer, D. M. (2013, January 28). Early introduction of allergenic foods may prevent food allergy in children. Pediatrics, 34(2). Retrieved from http://www.aappublications.org/content/34/2/13

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