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Before you start preparing homemade baby food, be sure to read “Practicing Food Safety.” There are important safety guidelines you don’t want to miss!

Vegetables and Fruits

Check out What Foods to Feed or Not to Feed  for a listing of good first fruits and vegetables.

  1. Wash vegetables and fruits under clean cold water
  2. Remove tough peels, seeds, pits and stems
  3. Cook vegetables and fruits until tender using desired cooking method: steam, boil, bake, roast, etc. If steaming or boiling, save liquid to add back in
  4. Add cooked vegetables or fruits to food processor or blender; or mash with potato masher or fork. Add liquid (leftover boiling/steaming liquid, water, breast milk or formula), starting with 1 Tablespoon and adding more as needed. For a smoother texture, push through a sieve or small mesh strainer with the back of a spoon
  5. What isn’t immediately eaten or refrigerated, spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; once frozen solid, transfer to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date

Dried Beans

If using canned beans, look for no added salt or low sodium, and always drain and rinse well to decrease sodium. No need to cook canned beans; just mash/puree.

  1. Sort beans, discarding broken, discolored or shriveled beans, and rinse
  2. Follow directions on package to soak and cook beans
  3. Add to food process or blender; or mash with potato masher or fork. Add liquid (water, breast milk or formula) starting with 1 Tablespoon and adding more as needed
  4. What isn’t immediately eaten or refrigerated, spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; once frozen solid, transfer to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date

Eggs

Previously, only egg yolks were recommended due to concerns of the child developing a food allergy when exposed to the protein in egg whites. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics determined that there is no convincing evidence to delay the introduction of foods that are considered major food allergens, such as eggs. See Allergies  for more information.

  1. Place the desired number of eggs in a single layer in a saucepan
  2. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch
  3. Heat over medium heat to just boiling
  4. Remove from burner and cover with lid
  5. Let eggs stand in hot water: 9 minutes for medium egg, 12 minutes for large egg or 15 minutes for extra large egg (Cook eggs to at least 160° Do NOT serve raw eggs)
  6. Drain and run cold water over eggs, draining again
  7. Peel eggs, discarding shell
  8. Process eggs in food processor blender; or mash with potato masher or fork. Add 1 ½ teaspoons liquid per egg if needed (water, breast milk or formula)
  9. What isn’t immediately eaten or refrigerated, spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; once frozen solid, transfer to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Unless you’re raising your baby vegetarian, there’s no need to delay meat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends meat as one of baby’s first foods. Meat provides two crucial nutrients, iron and zinc. By nine months of age, breastfed babies need to get 90 percent of their iron and zinc from complementary foods.

  1. Remove bones, skin, gristle and fat
  2. Cook meat to USDA safe minimum internal temperatures
  3. Cut into small pieces
  4. Process in a food processor or high-powered blender; Add liquid (its own broth, water, breast milk or formula), starting with 1-2 Tablespoons and adding more as needed
  5. What isn’t immediately eaten or refrigerated, spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; once frozen solid, transfer to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date

Grains

  1. Cook pasta, rice, oats, barley or other grains according to package directions
  2. Add to food process or blender; or mash with potato masher or fork. Add liquid (water, breast milk or formula) starting with 1 Tablespoon and adding more as needed
  3. What isn’t immediately eaten or refrigerated, spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; once frozen solid, transfer to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date.

 

Avoid Adding Okay to Add
Honey and corn syrup. Do NOT feed to infants less than 1 year old due to the dangerous bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This includes products made with these ingredients. Breast milk or formula to thin the texture

 

Sugar and other sugars, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar Water, including cooking water that was used to cook vegetables and fruits, to thin the texture
Artificial sweeteners Once baby accepts a plain pureed food, may add broth, herbs and spices, onions, and healthy fats when cooking to flavor foods
Salt
Fats such as oil, butter, margarine, lard or cream *unless pediatrician recommends
Unpasteurized products, including milk or juice

Food Options on the Go

Homemade baby food needs to be reheated, which is not always an option when you and your baby are on the road. Commercial baby food, however, can be fed at room temperature without having to reheat. Consider these other convenient options.

  • Unsweetened applesauce cups
  • Ripe bananas (bring a fork and bowl for mashing)
  • Whole milk yogurt (pack in a cooler)
  • Iron-fortified infant cereal (bring a bowl and spoon for mixing with breast milk, formula or water)
  • Commercial baby food- avoid baby food mixed dinners, which often have additives. Make your own “mixed” dinner by mixing plain meats with plain fruits or vegetables.

Don’t get stuck on purees!  Remember to keep advancing textures. Begin with pureed foods. Once baby masters purees, move to lumpy purees, then to soft finger foods, and finally to firmer finger foods.

References

Castle, J. & Jacobsen, M. (2013). Fearless Feeding: how to raise healthy eaters from high chair to high school.

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