In a world where convenience is becoming a must have it may not always be the wisest of choices. We live in a world that if it is easily attainable then it must be the way to go. Faster, is not always better. Especially if it comes to our tiny humans we take care of. Yes, that means your little bundles of joys your babies. Most parents want what is best for their baby. And the fast convenient choice of pre packaged jarred baby food may not be the best choice. Even with all the new organic types of baby food that is out there. Making your own homemade baby food is not for everyone, but it will give your child more variety, get them used to eating the same things you are and will allow you to know fully what nutrients your baby is getting.
Before we talk about the advantages of homemade baby food let’s look at the disadvantages of it.
- First being that making your own food takes time. Whether you have to premake the food for the week or you have to add the extra step of pureeing the veggies you are serving with supper it does add an extra step. Especially if you have to provide food for your child at daycare you may have to pack enough for a breakfast and a lunch on top of coming home that evening and having food for supper.
- Second disadvantage is just the convenience of it all. Pre packaged jar baby food is just ready to go. Grab it out of the pantry heat it up, or just open it and you are good to go. No fuss. Easily packed in a diaper bag, easily picked up at the grocery store already stored in containers that can go from pantry to fridge to freezer if necessary.
- The last disadvantage to the homemade baby food is the storage. If you have to make a weeks worth of baby food in advance you have to have proper storage for it so that you can either put it in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Unlike pre packaged jarred food you cannot store homemade food in the pantry. So you will have to have refrigerator safe containers, then if you are heating the food up you will want some kind of microwaveable safe container as well. Jarred baby food comes in serving sizes where if you make your own you will have to measure out the correct amount of servings for your baby.
Saying that, people may already be like you have me sold on pre packaged jarred baby food how could you not be. Here is the kicker that you may not realize. Jarred baby food has to be able to be stored with a long shelf life or expiration date. And because of that the foods have to be processed a certain way either heated up or sterilized so that they can last for a long time. In going through this process the foods lose some of their nutrients or vitamins or even flavor. Making your own homemade baby food allows you to know exactly what foods and nutrients your baby is getting. Not only that but it makes you very conscientious on what you are cooking. This can help people to make better food choices for themselves. And paves the road to continue healthy cooking for your child as they grow up and eat more and more foods. The homemade baby foods give you more options. Such as avocados which is a flavor you will have a hard time finding in stores.
You can almost puree anything that you eat for supper and feed it to your child. Of course that does not mean to go through the McDonald’s drive through and puree a Big Mac. No but if you are steaming some carrots for you and your family, toss those in a food processor with a little bit of liquid and you can give your baby carrot puree. There are tons of baby food processors out there in the market. That do everything from steaming the vegetables or fruits to then pureeing them. You don’t necessarily need to spend the money on a specific baby food processor. As long as you have a good food processor then you can make your own baby food. As long as it grinds the foods down enough to where there are no chunks. Even a food processor isn’t necessary, you can use a mixer if it purees the food to the right consistency. Now a days there are even homemade baby food cook books to help you come up with lots of different combinations and meals for your baby. Those though are not necessary for you to successfully cook your own baby food.
The best way to preserve the nutrients in your food is to either steam the vegetables or fruits. Also microwaving the food helps hold in nutrients. You can bake, steam, roast, or microwave the foods before processing them down in the consistency for your child. Once your baby starts taking foods from the table there are couple of stages of thickness for the foods. When you first start giving them foods between four and six months they will be eating mostly purees. Make sure you add liquid, either breast milk, water, formula to the food when pureeing. Once your baby is showing signs that it can handle more texture then you can cut back on how much liquid goes into the puree. Start with one food at a time to introduce your baby to so you can see what he or she may like. After this first stage you will be able to introduce your child to new things with a little more flavor and spice, such as mashed potatoes of course don’t add the butter. You can add meats, beans and cooked eggs as well. This opens up the flavors and combinations to a whole new level. Every child is different and will show you the signs of when they are ready for true solid foods. Make sure when your baby is feeding regardless of how old they are they are sitting upright.
Baby food making is a few step process:
- Step one washing the food.
- Two peeling the food or cutting it.
- Three baking, steaming, roasting, or microwaving food until soft.
- Four puree food in a food processor adding some liquid for the right consistency.
- Five store in containers then put in your fridge or freezer.
- Then after that you just have to take the food out reheat and boom meal for your baby.
- Sometimes making food though is as easy as mashing up a banana with a spoon or peeling and avocado and mashing it as well.
If you have the time, energy, and dedication to making your child’s food it is a great way to know what nutrients they are truly getting and to open them up to different flavors and foods. It can help cut down on supermarket runs and time spent reading the labels. It also can be less expensive for if you are already cooking something for your family and it can be easily pureed you aren’t spending extra money on baby food. Whether or not you home make your baby food or not depends on you and what is best for you. Some people just don’t have the time for making their own baby food and that is OK. For the first year breast milk or formula is still crucial in your child’s diet regardless of the baby food they are intaking. If you have any concerns on your baby’s diet or the nutrients they are receiving reach out to your pediatrician.