Today’s parents grapple with many demands on their time. We all want the very best for our kids, but achieving the status of the “Perfect Parent” has never seemed more out of reach! When it comes time for your little one to start solids it can seem overwhelming. Should I make my own baby food? How do I make it? Where do I start? Keep it simple.
Remember that ultimately, the decision to make your own baby food rests with your lifestyle and what is feasible for you and your family. The main advantages include cost-savings, the ability to tailor a puree to match your child’s preferences and a higher nutritional value. Let’s get started.
By about six months of age, babies are developmentally ready for solid foods. This is the same time that their iron stores start to run lower and they need iron-rich foods to help them meet their needs. According to the Ontario Public Health Agency, your baby is ready for solids when they:
- Can hold up their head and sit in a high chair
- Displays an interest in food and opens their mouth when you bring a spoon close to it
- Keeps food in their mouth without pushing it back out
Step One, Start Making Baby Food With an Iron-Rich Food:
Begin with an iron-rich food like beans, lentils or tofu. Start with single ingredient purees like this one:
- 1 cup black beans (canned or dry), strained and drained
- ½ cup water (use more if needed)
Place ingredients in food processor or blender and puree until smooth. You can store purees in the fridge for three days or pour into ice cube trays in the freezer until frozen and store in freezer bags in convenient portions. Batch cooking like this is a time-saver!
Step Two, Introduce Combinations of Baby Food:
Gradually advance to mixed ingredient purees as you and your child get comfortable. Try this:
- 1 basket strawberries, trimmed and washed
- 1 tsp natural nut butter
Steam or bake strawberries until soft. Puree in blender until smooth. Mix a few tablespoons of strawberry puree with a teaspoon of nut butter. Add water if needed to thin out the puree based on your child’s age and ability. As time passes you can gradually increase thickness and texture as they learn to chew and swallow.
Step Three, Add Flavor to Your Baby Food:
Be adventurous! Babies enjoy flavor just like we do so don’t shy away from adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric and so on. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Chickpea and raspberry puree
- Sweet potato, carrot and thyme
- Avocado, banana and cinnamon
- Pumpkin, white bean and ginger
Your kitchen is your playground; there is no right or wrong recipe – just the ones that work for you and baby.
What are some flavourful recipes you’ve created in your own kitchen? Let us know in the comments below and happy experimenting!
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- Naylor, A.J., & Morrow, A.L. (2001). Developmental Readiness of Normal Full Term Infants To Progress from Exclusive Breastfeeding to the Introduction of Complementary Foods: Reviews of the Relevant Literature Concerning Infant Immunologic, Gastrointestinal, Oral Motor and Maternal Reproductive and Lactational Development. General Format. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED479275.
- Dewey, K.G., & Chaparro, C.M. (2007). Session 4: Mineral Metabolism and Body Composition Iron Status of Breast-fed Infants. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 66(3) 412-22. https://doi.org/10.1017/S002966510700568X.
- Ontario Public Health Agency, Best Start Resource Centre (2015). Feeding Your Baby From Six Months to One Year. Retrieved from https://www.beststart.org/resources/nutrition/pdf/BSRC_FeedingYourBaby_2015.pdf