Between six months, when your baby is still nursing for nutrients as well as latching onto the breast for comfort, your pediatrician will suggest introducing them to the world of solid food. There's no better way to know what you are feeding your baby, save money and be ecologically responsible, than to make your baby’s food yourself. New eaters consume between 1 to 2 tablespoons of any food, so not only do you not need to make a lot, but baby's first foods need to remain simple, which means they're easy to prepare yourself.
Your blender is your best friend when it’s time to make your baby’s first meals. After getting the go-ahead from your pediatrician, begin pureeing the simplest fruits and vegetables such as banana (loaded with nutrition), avocado (contains 20 vitamins and minerals), peas, and sweet potato. Brown rice cereal and finely pureed meats are also good to introduce at this point. For consistency (loose and smooth), add breast milk to your mix, and be sure to stay away from sweeteners like honey or corn syrup. Your baby has more taste buds than you do, so don’t worry about them enjoying the natural flavors of the food.
Your baby will start spitting up less as he/she becomes comfortable eating, but it’s a normal function. Babies spit up when they begin breastfeeding, and it is still nothing to worry about once they start eating other foods. Between seven and nine months, you can start using a bit of beef stock or the water you have steamed your veggies in (with all the nutrients) to blend your foods to the right consistency easily. You can now create exciting flavor combinations: beets and blueberries, spinach and yam (the yams sweeten the deal). This is the time to start to experiment a bit and enjoy your child’s discovery of what he/she likes and doesn’t like.
Once your baby is comfortable eating a number of foods, about 8-9 months, you can begin to add herbs and spices to your cooking, such as cinnamon, mild chilies, bay leaves, and garlic. Be sure to throw away any whole spices like garlic or bay leaves before serving, as whole spices are mostly added for aromatic enhancement, and should not be ingested. As your child begins to want to grab onto foods and “do-it-themselves,” you can give them small chunks of soft, well-cooked foods they can handle. Scrambled eggs, spiral pasta, soft sweet potato chunks, as well as larger hard teething foods like a stale bagel they can gnaw at but not swallow can be introduced. Offer pieces of steamed tofu and well-cooked beans for added protein.
One of the benefits of home cooking your baby-food is that not only can you serve the same foods to everyone in your household, but you can prep foods ahead of time. Freezing baby foods in ice trays that you can defrost later and mix, in new or favorite combinations, cuts down on waste and helps you save time. You can get food pouches for your fresh baby foods for when you’re on the go. Whether you make all your own or combine store-bought products with those you prepare, every meal is another spoonful – or little fistful – of love and healthy development for you and your growing baby to share.