Has the time come to consider weaning your baby and introducing some solid foods? If you’re like many parents out there, you’ll want to try pureed baby food. You may even consider learning how to puree your own baby food.
If you’ve been on the fence about giving it a try, you’ll want to read this article. We’ll go through what you need and how to do it. Before too long, you may be giving up on store-bought baby food altogether.
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Why Puree Your Own Baby Food?
There are so many great reasons you may want to make your own pureed baby food. Here are some of the most frequently mentioned:
- You know exactly what your baby is eating: You don’t need to worry about preservatives you can’t pronounce or where your produce is sourced. You may choose to grow your own produce or to buy from a source you’re comfortable with. Either way, you know exactly what your child is getting.
- Making your own baby food can be cost-effective: The cost of baby food can really add up. Like most things, there’s a price tag attached to the convenience that comes with store-bought foods. You can choose to buy in bulk and can customize the serving size that’s best for your child, which ensures less waste.
- You’re in control of the menu: Making your own pureed baby food means you aren’t limited to what your local store sells or what’s currently in stock. You can choose your child’s favorite foods and experiment with fun flavor combinations.
- Food sensitivities and allergies can be easily accommodated: Does your child have special dietary needs? Making your own pureed baby food helps ensure they’re only getting what they should have.
How Should Food Be Prepared Prior To Pureeing?
There are a few approaches you can take to cooking your baby’s food. One popular option is to steam fruits and vegetables. You may also consider boiling down produce if it’s especially hard—this is a great choice for items like sweet potatoes.
Baking can be another excellent option and is quite popular for produce like squash. Your ultimate goal is to cook your food to the point where it can be easily mashed, blended, or processed into a puree your baby can easily manage.
What Kind Of Equipment Is Needed To Puree Your Own Baby Food?
There are a number of choices when it comes to equipment for making your own pureed baby food. Here are some of the popular options:
- Pots and pans you already own: Baking, steaming, and boiling your baby’s food can all take place with the same equipment you use to make your own food. This may be a great option for you if you’re looking to stay within a budget or if you plan on making food in bulk.
- Specialty baby food makers: Specialty baby food makers usually have multiple functions and chambers. You can cook and then puree your food in the same piece of equipment, which will cut down on time and mess. Often, though, you can only prepare a small quantity at a time.
- Food processors: Food processors can be a great piece of equipment to have in your kitchen if you plan on pureeing a lot of fibrous foods. They are generally designed to give a very fine chop or puree and can help keep the texture manageable for your little one. They’re especially beneficial if you’re beginning to introduce meats, as these can be difficult to puree.
- Blenders: Blenders are a great alternative to a food processor, especially if you’re primarily sticking with softer fruits and vegetables.
How To Puree Your Baby’s Food
Once you have your equipment lined up, you’ll be ready to get to the actual cooking. Here are the steps you’ll want to follow when making your pureed baby food:
- Prepare your cooking space: Your child’s immune and digestive systems are still developing, so you’ll want to take special care when it comes to cleaning your cooking area. Pay special attention to your cutting board and don’t forget to wash your own hands before getting started.
- Get your fruits and vegetables ready: After a good washing, you’ll likely want to peel any fruits and vegetables you’re preparing. Established eaters may be interested in the texture that comes with keeping the skin. This can be a great choice, as many fruits (like apples and pears) have skins with significant nutritional value.
- Cook the food using your preferred method: Roasting, baking, boiling, and steaming can all be viable ways to cook your baby’s food. You’ll want to cook it as completely as necessary, but don’t overcook as this can diminish both nutrients and flavor. Steaming is generally considered the best way to preserve the most nutrients in your produce.
- Puree your food: For this step, you can use the blender, food processor, or puree by hand. The younger and more inexperienced your baby is, the more liquid you’ll want in your puree. Remember, prior to weaning, your baby has been consuming only liquid—it will take time for them to get the mechanics down for eating pureed baby food.
- Store your pureed baby food: Once your food is cooked, divide it into single servings for your little one, and store it for future use. You may choose to store these prepared meals in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
- Reheat for your little one: Bring your baby’s food up to room temperature before serving.
Tips For Making Your Own Baby Food
- Add breastmilk to your pureed baby food: Adding breastmilk or formula to your pureed meals can serve two purposes. First, it introduces a flavor your child is familiar with from nursing or bottle feeding. Adding breastmilk or formula can also thin down the meal, which makes it easier to eat, and add additional nutrition.
- Introduce one food at a time: Once your baby begins to eat, you may be tempted to try several different foods and see what’s preferred. However, you also want to avoid tummy upset and be on the lookout for any food-related reactions that could indicate an allergy or intolerance.
- Expect a mess: There’s no way to avoid the mess that comes with learning to eat. Make the experience less stressful for you by preparing for the mess ahead of time. Using bibs and easy-to-clean placemats can cut down on cleanup time.
- Try again: Don’t be disappointed if your child doesn’t seem to take to a particular food—or any food at all. It’s not unusual for children to reject foods for the first few times they experience them.
- Canned, frozen, and fresh produce are all great: You’ll probably discover you have a preference for what kind of produce you want to use with your pureed baby food. Whatever you decide to use, know that all offer tremendous nutritional value.
- Skip sugar and salt: You probably use a few condiments in your food prep. You’re used to the additions, but rest assured there is plenty of delicious flavor in natural foods. Go ahead and let your little one enjoy these flavors, instead of introducing salt and sugar early on.
- Add cereal: Just like you can add breastmilk or formula to thin down your baby’s meals, baby cereal can be added to thicken it up. This can be a great choice for an older baby who’s ready for something more substantial.
Making Your Own Pureed Baby Food
Venturing into making your own pureed baby food can be exciting and fun. Watching your child learn to enjoy food that you’ve prepared yourself will give you a great sense of satisfaction. Follow these simple steps and tips and you and your little one will be enjoying your homemade baby food in no time at all.