MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, CBS
Rachel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University and is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She works as a nutrition and wellness coach with focuses on infant and maternal nutrition, mindful eating, and weight loss.
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Whether you opt to feed your baby foods you exclusively make at home or you provide a combination of both homemade and prepared foods; numerous advantages come from making all or some of your baby’s first pureed foods:
You likely have all the tools you need in your kitchen already, so grab a vegetable peeler, pot, pan, steamer basket, blender or food processor (and the optional food mill, potato masher, strainer and ice cube trays) and let’s get cooking!
Following proper food safety is especially important when cooking for children and especially babies. Babies are more prone to foodborne illness than older children or healthy adults, so always wash your hands, rinse the food items, clean your work area, cook foods to their recommended internal temperatures and avoid cross-contamination.
For more specifics on proper food safety protocols, see Food safety in pregnancy.
You have many cooking options for the purpose of pureeing food for your baby. Each method has pros and cons in terms of ease and nutritional value:
Now, what to make? Fruits, vegetables, grains and meats can all be cooked and pureed into baby food. Here’s how:
Advance textures slowly based on your baby’s signs of readiness. Start with thinner purees and then move to thicker purees over several weeks and months as your baby’s chewing and swallowing skills becomes more coordinated. Ask a Happy Family Coach for more information or see Introducing solids: First foods and advancing textures and Introducing solids: Different approaches and strategies. Baby-led weaning is another approach where you let baby eat soft finger foods right from the get-go – ask a Happy Family Coach for more information.
Note that food textures can – and often do – change in the freezer. For example, certain fruits and vegetables like blueberries, pears and eggplant retain a lot of water and can become quite runny when thawed, so you may need to tinker with the consistency either before or after freezing. To learn how to properly store, freeze and thaw purees, see Storing your baby food.
Smith, Michelle Annette. “Homemade Baby Food – Make it Safely.” Foodsafety.gov. Date accessed 27 Jan. 2011. Starting Solid Foods. Healthy Children.org. Date accessed 16 Jan. 2018. Frie, James K, Rhona M Hanning, Corinne A Isaak, Daniel Prowse, and Angela C Miller. “Canadian infants’ nutrient intakes from complementary foods during the first year of life.” BMC Pediatr. Volume 10. Issue 43 (2010).