Your young one is finally at the precipice of eating people food; they’re about to begin that tricky weaning stage. While buying baby food from the store is convenient and involves fewer dishes, it doesn’t do you any favors in the financial department. Making baby food in the comfort of your home is not only cheap, but a good way to introduce your baby to the family’s eating culture.
Furthermore, most commercial baby food is likely to have lower vitamin and nutrient content because of all that processing. These foods also lack the natural flavors associated with home food, which will reduce your baby’s enthusiasm for trying out new foods and food combinations.
It’s not as hard as you think
Fancy tools and utensils have their appeal and could come in handy when making your young one’s food; however, they are not necessarily a must-have. Here are a few basic utensils that, if you do have, you can make an array of baby foods:
- A spoon, fork, or potato masher – you can use these to mash and soften squishy foods like avocados and bananas
- A strainer or sieve – you can easily transform soft vegetables and fruits into a thin consistency by pressing them through the mesh
- A blender – blending veggies and fruits into purées has never been easier
- Food grinder – while food grinders have been used to grind up cooked vegetables and fruits into a soft mass, they can also be used for this same purpose using soft meats as an ingredient
However, is your baby ready for solid foods?
According to a 2012 publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents/guardians ought to wait until the baby is 6 months old before they add solid foods to their diet. However, some people insist on introducing their kids to these foods as early as 4 months because of certain development milestones achieved by the baby.
It’s best to consult with your young one’s pediatrician to see if your baby is ready for solids. Signs that your child is ready for the solid-food experience include:
- The capability of moving food to the back of their throat.
A cute and messy sign that your baby isn’t yet ready for solid foods is seeing them pushing food back out with the tongue.
- Seeing a budding interest in eating.
When you see the baby opening their mouth when she sees you eating or shows a lot of interest to try out what you’re eating, then they might be ready
- Decent head control.
Babies capable of keeping their heads up while seated on the high chair are most likely ready to begin ingesting solids.
A few pro-tips
To have a successful weaning experience for both you and the child, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep the portions small as new eaters only need around 1-2 tablespoons of a particular food.
- When feeding your child food that has common allergens, keep a keen eye to spot any allergic reactions. Some common allergens include wheat, fish, shellfish, soy, eggs, and peanut.
- It’s been discovered that delaying these foods past the 6-month mark or introducing them in a particular order has no significance or benefit to the child
- Go organic as the following foods may have high pesticide residues: apples, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, celery, grapes, spinach, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes.
Homemade baby food recipes
Like you, I, and everyone else did, your baby will start out slow with solids. This means that when making purées, you have to give it a very thin consistency. Alternatively, you could mix their soft foods with formula or breast milk.
Here are a few recipes taken at certain specific developmental stages.
Homemade baby food purée recipe for a 6-month old
Purées are a great way of ushering your child to the flavorful world of solid foods. It is best to introduce a single food item every three to five days as you monitor your baby’s reaction to new foods.
It is one of the most popular foods to start your baby out with on their journey to consuming solid foods. While this colorful veggie meal has the visual appeal to attract your toddler’s interest and the nutritional profile to have them grow strong and healthy, introducing a spice such as thyme will make them even more interested in eating.
The ingredients include:
- Breast milk or formula
The cooking instructions:
- Slice and dice the carrots and put them in a slow cooker; prepare them until they’re tender
- Set a portion aside for the adult table
- Purée what’s left until it’s as smooth as can be. To make it even smoother to take, use formula or breast milk to thin it out
- Lastly, add thyme for flavor
Homemade baby food recipe for a 7-to-9-month old
At this age, your young one has made some strides in maneuvering food in their mouth. You will still need to give them all the practice they can get by serving them mashable, soft foods. This way, they will learn how to feed themselves while gradually taking in food with a chunkier disposition.
Increased protein in their diet is advisable as you continually wean them from formula and breast milk.
Baby beef stew
Your little angel will be delighted with this new turn in their diet. This stew involves a lot of ingredients that are otherwise an integral part of the adult version of this meal.
The ingredients include:
- Basically, ingredients you use in your favorite beef stew. Just make sure they’ve been introduced to these ingredients before separately
The cooking instructions:
- Prepare your favorite beef stew
- Before adding those adult spices and peppers, leave a portion aside to purée
- Then blend the stew
- If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of broth of water
It’s always a big deal when the baby transition from one stage to another, from breast milk or formula to solid food in this case. Not only will they turn out healthier, but you will also bond more as you watch your little darling grow like a weed right before your eyes.