Cooking for your baby isn't all that difficult. It just requires a little extra care and attention in the preparation of the ingredients for home-made baby food.
Here are a few advantages to making your own baby food:
Here's the basic procedure for making your own baby food:
- Home-made baby food is safe and healthy for your baby to eat. You know exactly what's in it and how it was prepared because you did it yourself!
- Home-made baby food is cheaper than store bought baby food. You can save a considerable amount of money by making your own.
- You can offer your baby a wider variety of baby food when you make it yourself. You already stock most of the ingredients anyway, so you can serve your baby whatever suits your fancy that day.
The two most important points to keep
in mind when making your own baby food are:
- Prepare yourself first. Always wash your hands thoroughly with hot
water and soap, then dry them with a clean towel before you begin cooking. Also, carefully wash your equipment (pots, blender, baby bottles,
etc.) before using them.
- Next, prepare the ingredients for the baby food. Always wash your fruits and vegetables. Then peel and dice them before cooking. If there are any stones or seeds, remove
If you'll be cooking meat, remove all the fat first.
Once the meat is cooked, cut it into very small pieces, being especially careful to remove any
bone or other hard pieces.
If you're cooking fish, remove the fat, bones, and other hard
pieces before cooking. Once the fish is cooked, crumble it up into small pieces
and remove any remaining traces of bone or skin.
- Next, cook the baby food ingredients. All fruits and vegetables except for avocados and bananas must be cooked before feeding them to
your baby until he/she is at least ten months old.
Most vegetables and fruits can be steamed, boiled, or
micro-waved. Some fruits, such as pears or apples, can also be
cooked in your oven. Your baby won't be able to tell the difference.
Steaming is the best cooking option because it retains the most nutrients in the baby food. If you don't have a steam-cooker, that's ok. Boiling and micro-waving is fine too.
Keep the water level to a minimum. Try to strike a good balance between not under-cooking (to make
digestion easier) and not over-cooking (to retain the
maximum amount of nutrients for your baby's good health).
Important: Carrots, turnips, beets, and spinach should always be boiled because they contain
potentially harmful nitrates which are removed during
the boiling process.
Fish and meats and can be cooked in any way you prefer.
Just be sure that
they're thoroughly cooked and that all fat and hard pieces are removed before serving. If you're frying or roasting meat or fish, you should avoid adding fat.
Never add any salt, sugar, or fat to your home-made baby food. These ingredients are unnecessary and should be avoided whenever possible.
- Use a blender or mashing fork to
mix the food to just the right texture for your baby.
If your baby is just starting out with solids foods, the food should
be completely "liquefied" and added in small quantities to the baby bottle. As your baby matures, you'll begin feeding
directly with a spoon.
Gradually make the food just a bit
thicker and chunkier, beginning with "chunks" no bigger
than a grain of salt. Give your baby adequate time to adjust at every
stage of the progression.
Remember that a baby's mouth is a lot more sensitive to heat
than an adult's. Baby food should be warm, not hot.
Everything else is just plain old cooking.
- Make sure that your baby is able to comfortably deal with the texture of the home-made baby food.
- Don't prepare baby foods that are inappropriate for your baby's age.
Nancy Miller is the author of "How to Make Your Own Healthy Baby Food" and a
full-time working mom.
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