At around the six-month mark, it’s time for your baby to be introduced to the wonderful world of solid foods.
To help, we’ve put together this handy guide about how to make baby food at home.
And don’t worry – we know you’re already pretty busy with a little one – with some tips from expert toddler and child nutritionist and founder of Mama Knows Nutrition Kacie Barnes.
We’re not looking at Michelin star cuisine here that requires hours of prep.
Instead, we’re thinking of hitting the sweet spot between convenience, deliciousness, and optimal nutritiousness.
So whether you’re a new mama thinking of making the switch to solids or are simply looking for new kitchen tips to add to your roster, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our guide to how to make your own baby food.
Aprons at the ready? Let’s get cooking!
In this article: 📝
- When do I make the switch to baby food?
- Why might I want to make my own baby food?
- Is it cheaper to make your own baby food?
- What foods can I puree for my baby?
- What equipment do I need to make my own baby food?
- How do you make baby food step by step?
When do I make the switch to baby food?
Most mamas start to introduce their little ones to solid foods or baby food when they’re around six months old.
At this point, they’ll still need their usual breast milk or formula feed to complement the solid foods they’re discovering.
All babies are different.
And for some, getting used to solids may take a bit of practice.
During this early stage, how much they’re eating is much less important than just getting them used to the idea of eating.
It’s about them practicing with textures, flavors, and all the skills it takes to eat more complex foods down the line.
Why might I want to make my own baby food?
If your little one is ready to make the switch to solid foods, there are dozens of options in your local supermarket.
Many of these are great, and there’s a lot to be said for the convenience these pre-prepared foods offer.
But, there are a whole host of excellent reasons to consider making your own baby food:
You get to expose your babies to more flavors
This can help them, in time, become more adventurous in their eating habits, which can be beneficial later in life.
It can also help you more easily tailor mealtime to their likes and dislikes.
There’s even opportunity to add in multiple foods into one dish instead of relying on single or two-item baby food jars.
For example a chia seed pudding could have chia seeds, your choice of milk, and fruit mixed into it and still retain a baby-safe texture.
It might be more appealing and a little more nutritious than carrots and peas from the jar.
You can control the texture of the food
We all know that babies can be fussy eaters at the best of times.
If you’re making your own baby food, then you can tinker with your recipe until you’ve got the consistency and texture right for your little one.
“Pureed options are a great place to start,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Kacie Barnes, “but if you’re making your own baby food, you can also progress to more complex textures as you notice your baby is ready for it.”
“That could be thicker purees or even safely prepared spears or pieces of food.”
Making your own baby food in batches means that you can freeze it ahead of time.
This way, whatever the day might throw at you, you can be confident in knowing that there is healthy baby food at home for your little one.
You are in charge of quality control
If you decide to make your own baby food, you get to decide what ingredients you use.
And you have more control over much sugar and salt is in your little one’s diet.
“Most store-bought baby foods wont have salt and sugar added,” explain Barnes, “but when you get into the world of convenience foods and packaged snacks, those can start to creep in.”
“It’s nice to make your own batches of things to have on hand for meals and snacks so that you feel great about what your baby is eating!”
Preach to that! 🙌🏿
Is it cheaper to make your own baby food?
The short answer is generally, yes!
Pre-prepared jars and pouches of baby food can be expensive, so creating your own delicious and healthy alternatives at home can help you save.
That’s not to say they don’t have their place.
“Pouches are amazing for on the go,” affirms Barnes, “but for meals at home, it can be a really cost effective option to create your own mixes.”
What foods can I puree for my baby?
If you’ve decided to start making your own homemade baby food, the next question is what kind of foods are right for your little one?
It’s a good idea to start with single fruits or vegetables, pureed or blended into a relatively smooth consistency.
This will help your little one adjust to the change to solid food.
Some good, nutritious suggestions to consider are:
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
And you don’t have to stick to the foods of the veggie variety!
You can start to introduce a range of different foods early on, including grains and cereals, fish (make sure you remove the bones!), meat, and poultry.
“You can also serve foods that are naturally pureed consistency also,” says Barnes, “like hummus, yogurt, applesauce, and some mashed guacamole.”
If you’re looking for a few specific recipes, we’ve got you covered.
What equipment do I need to make my own baby food?
Thankfully, the most useful equipment you need to make your own baby food is probably stuff you already have in your kitchen at home.
Basically, you will need something to puree or mash food.
A food processor or blender will work well.
There are some fancier gadgets on the market designed especially for making baby food.
But you don’t need to splash the cash on any of this if you don’t want to.
If you want to keep things simple, the basic cutlery you have at home — knife, fork, and spoon — will also do the trick.
And a veggie peeler also goes a long way.
Depending on your chosen cooking method, other helpful items that you might find useful are a spatula, baking tray, and saucepan.
One handy piece of equipment to have is an ice cube tray.
It’s a super convenient way to portion up your homemade baby food and preserve it for later.
Then, things like a highchair, baby bowls and spoons, and a bib with a catch pocket will all be really helpful in helping you with the weaning process.
Also, don’t forget some kitchen towels either – things are going to get messy!
“One other product I recommend is silicone pouches,” suggests Barnes, “so that if you do make a puree like the ones that are found in the store-bought pouches, you can put it in a reusable pouch and take it on the go just like you would the store bought one!”
How do you make baby food step by step?
Right. Ready to get going? Here’s your step-by-step process:
Step 1: Wash your hands well with soap and warm water
And wipe down your kitchen work surface.
Your little one is more susceptible to germs and bacteria that might not affect your adult immune system.
Step 2: Remove all skins, pips, bones, and seeds
When prepping fruits and veggies, take care to peel off all of the skin before cooking.
And make sure you remove seeds and pips to avoid choking hazards.
If you’re onto fishy proteins, make sure they’re bone free.
Step 3: Cook all meat, poultry, and eggs until well done
Although these foods add iron, protein, and a host of vital vitamins to your baby’s diet, there are important things to remember when preparing meat and eggs.
You may like your steak medium rare or your poached eggs with a runny yolk, but your baby isn’t there yet.
Little ones have less robust immune systems and can be susceptible to food poisoning caused by undercooked foods.
Step 4: Opt for your choice of cooking method
Steamed, roasted, or boiled, it’s your choice – although Barnes recommends steaming where possible to retain the most nutrients in the food.
Provided the ingredients you have chosen are soft, there isn’t really a right or wrong method to cook baby food.
Step 5: Experiment with spices and herbs
Adding a small pinch of herbs or spices to your homemade baby food can have some valuable benefits for your little one.
It can help develop their palettes and make them less fussy in the future.
Some spices and herbs have recognized health benefits, too, helping with digestion and other important processes.
Remember though, as great as it is for seasoning, we don’t want to add salt at this early stage.
Step 6: Don’t stress!
This should be a fun exercise for you and your little one as you get to experiment and create in the kitchen together.
Step 7: Serve with love. ❤️
And if you want to, swap tips and recipes with your Peanut community.
Bon appétit, baby!