Making homemade baby food is simple & nutritious! It also means you know exactly what is going into your little one’s body. Give these homemade baby foods a try!
Healthy baby food is essential! Pound per pound, they take in three to four times more calories per pound than adults. Their metabolic pathways are immature which means they are more sensitive to toxins than adults are. Although convenience foods in stores may be easy, they are not necessarily nutritious or quality ingredients. Our local grocery store, Heinen’s, makes it possible to buy fresh, organic ingredients you’ll rejoice in giving your little one!
Breastfeeding is the most perfect food for baby, but at some point it will be time to start solids. Get prepared for HUGE messes for basically the next couple of years. Actually who am I kidding? More than that! Starting your baby on solids usually happens around 6 months when baby can sit up well, show interest in food, and doesn’t reject food when you try feeding him. We used a method called “Baby Led Weaning” with our last baby and it just made so much sense! I so wished I knew this with our first 3 babies! Baby-led weaning is an approach to introducing solid food where baby is allowed and encouraged to self-feed solid finger foods (cut up very small) instead of receiving purees via spoon. We did a combination of both with our last baby. With baby-led weaning, babies get a lot of hand - eye and fine motor practice by learning to grasp food and move it around in their mouth.
Start with these solid foods first
Organic meats. This seems counter -intuititve as a first food, but meat is a complete source of protein & contains amino acids. It’s a natural source of iron, which babies naturally need. (I’d also add that letting your babies umbilical cord pulse and wait to clamp for at least 3 minutes after birth helps tremendously with their iron stores since the baby gets 1/3 of his blood supply back!) Meat doesn’t require amylase to be digested. Make sure you buy pastured grass-fed high quality meats. HOW TO MAKE FOR BABY: Cook grass-fed meat and let cool. Blend n a blender with organic broth until you reach a smooth consistency.
Broths (and even bone broth)
Peel & cut out the seeds from 2 apples. Cut apples into small chunks. Toss in boiling water or steam until tender. Steaming provides leaves the apples with more nutrition. Place soft apples in high-powered blender and add remaining water from steaming the apples to the blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency for baby. You can pour the applesauce in an ice-cube tray. Freeze. Pull out a cube to defrost, hours before you are ready to feed baby.
Bake 3-4 organic sweet potatoes at 375^ for about 45 minutes. When you can insert your fork easily they are done. Let them cool. Place them in a high-powered blender or baby food processor with about 1/4 cup of filtered water. Add water until you get a thin, smooth consistency. Serve immediately, or pour in an ice-cube tray. Freeze. Pull out a cube to defrost (hours before) your baby is ready to eat! (Remember to not use a microwave with baby food. It loses nutrition plus there could be pockets of higher heat that you don’t realize),
Steam a bag of frozen organic peas. This only takes a couple minutes until the peas are tender. Place in a high-powered blender with some of the remaining watere used to steam them. Pour into an ice-cube tray & freeze. Pull out a cube to defrost, hours before you are ready for baby to eat!
Avocados + Banana
Smashed up avocados with your fork is a great first food!! Avocados contain many healthy fats, and lots of vitamins and minerals. It’s a nutritious powerhouse for your baby! Add banana to smashed up avocado & baby will gobble it up!
Broccoli + Potatoes
Steam broccoli and peeled potatoes until soft and tender. Smash together with a fork. Add a little bit of broth if you want it to be smoother.
Carrots + Peas
Steam carrots & peas separately. Peas cook up much faster than carrots! Use a fork to smash it up for baby.
We always need some go-to baby foods for when we are in a rush! It’s not complicated to throw some steams carrots, peas, apples, or any baby food you made in a container to go. Here are some of my other choices from Heinen’s we love.
Nature’sall freeze-dried organic strawberries
Organic fruit & veggie pouches
Individual guacamole packages (don’t forget a spoon!)
Don’t limit your child’s fat intake. Fats are a necessary for optimal development. Don’t add honey to homemade baby foods for children under the age of 1 due to potential contraction of infant botulism. Don’t add salt or sugar. Don’t use canned vegetables in homemade baby foods as they are high in sodium and additives. Usually frozen vegetables have little or no sodium. Don’t add highly acidic fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and pineapple to homemade baby foods for babies under 1 as the acid is harsh on the immature digestive system. Don’t force-feed your child. Don’t start with high allergic foods like gluten, egg whites, nuts (peanuts) seafood & citrus.
I will admit, I did not follow these guidelines below with our first. I did what most moms would do and started with rice cereal. It wasn’t until one of our kids had digestive issues and I was searching for answers. His food allergy panel from his Gastroenterolgoist came back completely negative. His GI doctor revealed that so many babies / toddlers have now developed this same issue and they even made up a new term called “toddler’s diarrhea”. I could have chalked it up to that or continue to try and figure this out on my own. I FINALLY read (on another blog) that babies should never start with rice cereal. I was floored. I had always started with rice cereal & breastmilk and it was also a ‘safe’ food as I have celiac disease and I tolerate it just fine. However, babies don’t make enough of an enzyme called amylase to break down most carbohydrates. This means that starchy foods like rice can be irritating to baby’s digestive system and lead to discomfort in some babies. I took rice (and/or rice products) in and out of his diet and was the main culprit. I say ‘the main culprit’ because it was about 80% better but not completely. Rice is not on the ‘8 most common food allergen panel’ blood draw that doctors usually recommend. This is why it didn’t show up on his food allergy panel. We had also started giving him fruit & veggie chewables that definitely seemed to help which we continue to give to him today.
Remember to try and keep it simple! It’s so easy, especially when you get the hang of it and you realize you are just steaming veggies and tossing them into a blender. Good luck and please share any of your mom tips on healthy baby food!
**This blog was sponsored by Heinens. Find this blog here as well!