There is really is nothing to making your own homemade baby food. Combine these easy steps with the resources below and soon you’ll be a baby chef!
Step 1: Get the Food
Whether you buy food from a grocery store or farmer’s market, consider buying organic baby food. While no one knows the long-term effects of pesticides on babies, pound for pound, they ingest more than adults do. And because their bodies are rapidly growing and developing, some health experts believe that it’s better to play it safe and stick with organic.
You don’t have to buy everything organic though – most of the pesticides and chemicals are found in fruits and vegetables. In fact, the Environmental Working Group tested produce and found the following fruits and veggies to contain the highest levels of pesticides residues: peaches, red bell peppers, apples, celery, strawberries, cherries, nectarines, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The least contaminated where bananas, avocado, sweet corn, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, broccoli and papaya.
Step 2: Cook and Blend
Depending on the texture your baby needs, you can either use a blender, food processor, grinder or simply mash it up yourself. Easy foods like avocado and bananas can be mixed with breast milk or formula and mashed with a fork until you reach the desired consistency. And after 6 months, some soft, ripe fruits are fine for baby when mashed up (see Infant Feeding Chart).
Steam the desired vegetable or cook the fruit/legumes and add formula or breast milk – blend until desired consistency. Store in ice cube trays, freeze overnight and place in a labeled freezer bag the next day. Each cube contains about 2 tablespoons (TBS) which can be defrosted either in a refrigerator or microwave prior to mealtime. Keep the food processor/blender around during meals and puree what’s for dinner if it’s appropriate.
Step 3: Be Safe About It
One thing to be careful about when making homemade baby food is that certain vegetables (carrots, spinach, beets, turnips and collard greens) may contain high levels of nitrates which can cause a rare type of anemia in babies. Baby food companies can test for nitrates but mom can’t. According to the AAP, after 3 months babies should be okay with high nitrate foods. To play it safe introduce these foods a little later like 7 or 8 months.
Books: Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron, Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Rachel Anne Hill, First Meals and Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel
For References see the 10 to 12 month page.