Homemade Baby Food: How to Make Baby Food – The Basics

Last week we shared the advantages of homemade baby food.  Today we are going to help you get started making your own baby food.  Although you may feel as proud as if you’ve just made a gourmet meal for your kiddo, it’s really not that complicated.

What you’ll need

Besides the bowls, pots and pans you probably have on hand to cook fresh produce for your baby, you will need a few other items for homemade baby food.  Most importantly you’ll need something to grind up the food to make it soft and smooth for your baby to ingest.  Infants, especially brand new eaters, do not have enough teeth to chew food and are not familiar with the reflexes involved in swallowing larger chunks of food.  All beginner baby food should be pureed smoothly to about the texture of a thick soup broth or traditional applesauce.  There are several standard tools that parents use to create the perfect consistency for homemade baby food:

Small Food Processor or Blender – You may already have one of these at home, which is one less expense of making your own baby food.  Or you can purchase one designed especially for making baby food.  Either way, these machines do a great job cutting and crushing your baby food.

Homemade Baby Food:  How to Make Baby Food – The BasicsHand Blender – This gadget allows you to mix up food in whatever bowl it is already in.  You simply stick the electric blades in your bowl and start it up.  It may be more versatile and less cumbersome than traditional blenders.

All-in-One Baby Food Maker – Although more expensive, this modern machine can make homemade baby food even easier by steaming your food and then immediately grinding it up.  It creates less mess and is super efficient for busy parents.

Hand Turned Food Mill – As a non-electric tool, this is the most portable option if you travel often or need to make food away from home.  It has a crank and several blades that offer different textures to your food.  Food mills are a little more work but often fun for older kids who want to participate in making baby food.

Also, some baby foods won’t require a device at all but can be mashed by simply using a fork.  Sweet potatoes, avocado and bananas are examples of foods so easy to mush up, you don’t need anything but a fork.

How to make homemade baby food

It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Step One:  First, thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking them.  Remove pits, seeds and skin as necessary.  Trim the fat from meats.

Step Two:  Then steam, broil, bake or sauté produce, grains or meat until it is soft and tender to the touch.  Try not to add too much water as nutrients will be lost in the water.  (If you do have excess water, save it for the next step.)  Most fruits do not need to be steamed but harder ones like apples, pears and dried fruits should be.  Make sure meats are cooked all the way through.

Step Three:  Once the food is soft, pour it into your preferred food grinding device and blend until it is completely smooth.  You may want to add back some of the excess nutrient-rich water from cooking your foods, or add breast milk for a delightfully familiar taste.

Yum!  Your baby will enjoy your homemade baby food even more because it was made with love!

Food safety reminders

  • Always wash your hands before preparing or handling your baby’s food.
  • Follow your pediatrician’s recommendation of when to start solid foods and which ones to introduce first.  Most professionals suggest starting with wheat or rice cereals and then moving on to vegetables.  That can be followed by fruits, dairy and finally meats.  Introduce one new food at a time and wait three days before trying another one to gage your baby’s reaction.  Food allergies may take several days to present.
  • If you are serving your food immediately after preparing it, check the temperature to make sure it has cooled enough from cooking.  Food should be served at body temperature or lower.
  • When reheating food in the microwave, beware of hot spots as microwaves do not always heat foods evenly.
  • Only serve your baby what you think he will eat at one time.  Extra food should be discarded if the feeding spoon has touched it.  When saliva mixes with food, it can create bacteria that may be harmful to your baby.
  • Once your baby food is made, freeze fresh produce and meats that will not be eaten within 2 days.  Ice cube trays are the ideal size for freezing baby food.
  • Store food in airtight containers.