Making Baby Food: Some Helpful Tips
Your baby has just reached this point in their life when they are no longer dependent on milk for their nourishment. Their body now demands solid food, and solid food you shall give them. Now rather than buying commercial baby food in your local Walmart, we recommend that you should make your own instead. Home-cooked baby food is the healthiest thing that you can give your baby at this age, and if you want to learn how to cook it yourself, here are some tips.
- Give your kid some fruits and vegetables.
Before you go into fancy gourmet baby food and all that stuff, you first have to introduce your kid to fruits and vegetables. For your baby’s first taste, you can try avocados, bananas, butternut squash, green peas, and sweet potatoes. They are jam-packed with vitamins and can be mashed and pureed with ease. On their own, they may taste bland, but that’s okay; you can add flavor or try stronger-flavored fruit or veggie with different textures as your baby gets older. Well before you get your baby to eat this sort of food, however, be sure to consult your pediatrician and get their advice on the particular foods that you should avoid.
- Choose your ingredients. Go organic!
Organic ingredients are always the best for your baby, these being free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can adversely affect their growth and overall health. If you don’t feel like growing organic ingredients on your own, be sure to purchase USDA-certified organic foods. You should also check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list for foods that you should avoid for showing high levels of pesticide residues during government-sanctioned tests.
- Baby food making equipment sure is nice, but not necessary.
Many retailers have products on the stock that are specially designed to make baby food. Well, they’d certainly make the process faster, but no easier on most foods that you can use as baby food. Bananas and boiled sweet potatoes, for instance, are very easy to mash with a spoon or a fork. For more complex processes like pureeing, you can use the existing food processor in your kitchen, like juicers and immersion blenders; just make sure that you clean your tools thoroughly before they touch the food. In other words, equipment that you can use to make baby food will only end up redundant and unnecessary expense.
- Make aplenty, and freeze them.
Making baby food in bulk and freeze it, dividing it into small portions; this can save you time, effort, money, and even precious ingredients. You can use silicone ice cube trays to divide evenly the baby food that you’ve just made. Defrost the portions needed and do not microwave. Whatever’s left of the portion post-meal should be discarded rather than refrozen. Remember, though, that this only works with cooked food like baked apples. Raw ones like mashed fresh fruit should be eaten immediately.
- No rice, please!
Rice cereals intended for babies contain high levels of arsenic. While it may not show any harmful effect in the short term, arsenic is a known carcinogen and will increase your child’s risk of getting cancer in the future. As an alternative, you can feed your baby oats or whole grain cereals. Should the grains be too large for your babies, just blend them or cook them in water? Breast milk also works to thin the grains down.
- Check your baby for allergies.
Introduce one new baby food at a time and observe how your little one reacts to it. Wait and observe for four days before you decide to give your baby something new. If your baby shows signs of breathing problems, hives, rashes, sneezing, or swelling, that might be an allergic reaction you’re seeing. Should these symptoms or worse show after you have introduced your baby to a certain food, contact your pediatrician immediately and get their advice not just on your child’s treatment but also on what similar food should you avoid.
- Store your food safely, and be thorough when cleaning the containers.
Use glass containers to store your baby’s food. If you want to opt for plastic for financial or other reasons, choose only those that are free of the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA). BPA can seep into food and may cause negative effects to your baby’s brain and prostate gland. You should also note that your child is still developing their immune system, and are thus very vulnerable to harmful microbes as well as chemical contaminants. For that matter, you should wash baby food containers and the tools you use to make them thoroughly. You can use the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to know where to find safe cleaning products. Take extra caution on preparing the food as well, making sure that your hands and the preparation area are clean before you start cooking.