Making Your Own Baby Food

Make your own baby food with these precautions.

The ultimate keys to success in beginning your infant on homemade baby foods are dependent on two things: Judging the texture that he/she is ready for and keeping in mind how well they tolerated single foods will determine what foods your infant can readily accept.

If your baby still balks at any kind of texture, you will need to start slowly. Introduce smoother forms of table food gradually adding texture each day. An infant will wrinkle up their face to any texture until they are accustomed to how it feels in their mouths and throats. The most important thing is consistency in making the adjustment quickly. Be sure to serve at least one textured food item at every meal.

In the beginning, remember any foods that your baby had reactions to earlier in life. The baby's intolerance for that particular food may have decreased but during this transitional phase it might be wise to keep them off the menu. Hold off at least until your infant is grasping the table food concept well. A bad reaction after a mealtime may cause some backsliding.

The easiest table foods to premier are smooth and creamy ones. The taste will be extremely exotic so the texture can remain familiar for now. Yogurt, either plain or with some natural flavorings, is a good choice for an infant that is drinking a milk based formula. Do not try yogurt with fruit until your baby is better aquainted with table food.

Pudding is also an equally acceptable smooth food choice. Although, do not serve chocolate until after the first year to avoid an allergic reaction.

Applesauce is tolerated well by infants. There are now a wide variety of natural flavors increasing the nutritional value of the applesauce.

Canned fruits in their own juices or water are good alternatives to preparing fresh ones. The only thing needed to prepare canned fruit for a baby is a small food processor to chop it into very managable pieces for the beginner. A blender can also be used to chop the fruit into small pieces.

Although you can skin, cut, and mash soft fleshy fruits such as apricots, peaches, bananas, or plums for an infant, if you prefer fresh fruit to canned. Mashing can be done easily with a fork. Keep in mind to include all varieties of fruits in your baby's diet to ensure proper recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals which are important in your baby's development.

Vegetables should be cooked soft. Raw vegetables should not be introduced until after your baby is old enough to chew the hard pieces with their teeth. However, raw carrots remain a choking hazard until the age of four. As long as the vegetables are soft cooked any kind is acceptable. Again remember to include a wide variety of vegetables to include the nutritional value of each.

After vegetables are cooked, simply mash the pieces with a fork for desired infant texture. If the vegetable is leafy like spinach, be sure that it is chopped into small enough pieces for baby to swallow.

Meats should be cooked thoroughly. Seafood is not served until after one year of age. Chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and turkey are all acceptable beginning around six or seven months of age. Simply chop the cooked meat in a food processor with liquid (whichever you choose-example broth, formula, breastmilk, water,etc.) until desired consistency. Once baby is better adapted to the meat texture, you can begin simply mashing the meat with a fork.

After single foods have been accepted, you can begin adding meals. From eight months of age an infant can begin mashing food with their gums. The food should be initially mashed into very small pieces. Each piece should be managable enough that it will easily go down the baby's throat. Remember your baby is still learning and does not always mash his/her food. They may just try to swallow it.

Now that you infant has been prepared, try them on table food. Begin with a simple meal. Take out a couple of servings before you season it to adult liking. (Babies do not need the excess salt and they will not miss it.) Put the servings into a food processor until desired consistency. Serve one to two tablespoons and freeze the leftover.

You can follow the same process for most foods. Either put them in a food processor, or mash them with a fork. Babies will enjoy the new foods eventually. Transition takes time.

Finger foods are also a very important developmental and nutritional food source. Cottage cheese, shredded cheese, graham crackers, whole wheat toast pieces, or arrowroot cookies are all good examples of beginning finger foods for babies. Do not be afraid to put the food directly on the tray to allow exploration of the food, even the messy ones.

An infant is preparing to eat table food. The transition from pureed baby food to homemade baby food is gradual but can be accomplished easily with patience and consistency.

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