Your baby may have a smaller appetite than you do — but somehow, you find yourself spending more on primo baby food than you spend on your own meals. (Not to mention, your baby is pooping more than you do, despite how much less they eat. Seriously, what's with that?!) But luckily, there's a pretty easy alternative to buying overpriced, tiny jars or pouches of baby food: making homemade baby food.
There are a slew of benefits to becoming your baby’s personal chef. Making your own baby food will save money, reduce packaging waste, allow you to know exactly what’s going into your baby’s meals, and with the right tools, will hardly take any time at all. Read on for our best tips on making baby food at home.
Making baby food is as simple as thoroughly washing produce, steaming food that needs to be cooked (such as potatoes, carrots, peas, and beans), blending it up, portioning it out, and storing it safely.
One of the most important tools you’ll need to make baby food at home is a blender, food processor, or baby food maker. You will also need something to steam veggies with (whether it’s a dedicated baby-food steamer or just your stove) and food-safe storage containers — more on all that below.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend introducing solid foods to your baby at around 6 months of age, while continuing to breastfeed or formula feed them until they naturally wean off (usually between 1 year and 2 years of age, though this is different for every mother and baby).
For more guidance on when your little one is ready to start eating solid foods, check out the Mayo Clinic’s list of signs — for example, if your baby is holding their head up without support, if they are putting toys and hands in their mouth, and if they are showing interest in food.
But most importantly, you should always check with your baby’s doctor for guidance on when to start feeding them solids.
When your little one first starts eating solid foods at around 6 months of age, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends starting with single-grain infant cereal soaked in breastmilk or formula, as well as mashed or blended single foods — for example, vegetables, fruits, or beans. The Mayo Clinic suggests spacing out each new food by three to five days, just in case your baby has an allergic reaction. Once you’ve cleared certain foods, you can blend them up together to create different flavors for your baby.
When first introducing your baby to single-food recipes, all you’ll need to do is choose a few foods to blend up into their own purees. Healthline suggests starting with things like: pea puree, banana puree, avocado puree, baked sweet potato puree, apple puree, and carrot puree.
When possible, opt for organic versions of foods that are on the Dirty Dozen, which are the 12 conventional foods with the highest concentrations of pesticides in the U.S. And again, always consult your pediatrician to see if there are any foods they specifically recommend for your baby.
Once your baby has tried and reacted well to a variety of single-food purees, at around 7 to 9 months of age, you can introduce them to combination purees, focusing on foods they’ve already tried. Healthline recommends: spinach and white yams, beets and blueberries, avocado and banana, and butternut squash and pear.
Tasty has a few other ingredient combinations that work well for many babies starting at 7 months of age. For example: white peach and banana puree, green bean, potato, and kale puree, apple and pear butter with cinnamon, raw baby puree with blueberries, mango, and avocado, and a lentil and apple puree.
But remember, always introduce single-ingredient versions before combining to ensure there are no food allergies.
If you already have a blender or food processor in your kitchen, you can definitely use it to make baby food. However, some people prefer to purchase a blender specifically designed for baby food, since they often come with other helpful attachments. Here are a few well-rated options:
The Baby Bullet is made by the same company as the Magic Bullet, which is known for being a powerful, space-saving blender. The “Super Mommy Bundle” version comes with plenty of storage cups, storage trays, a rubber spatula, a baby nutrition guide, and a turbo steamer, which can quickly, cook, steam, and defrost vegetables, as well as sanitize pacifiers and bottles. It’s worth noting that while the set is convenient, most components are made of plastic.
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Beaba’s all-in-one Babycook Baby Food Maker allows you to steam, blend, and reheat baby food in under 15 minutes. The plastic bowl is dishwasher safe, there’s a descaling indicator to help keep things clean, and best of all, it comes in rose gold. There’s also a gift set version that comes with silicone baby spoons and a silicone tray for food storage.
For all those times you don’t feel like taking out the blender (and washing it!) there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that can easily be mashed into a smooth puree with a fork or potato masher. For example: bananas, avocados, and, if you cook them first, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and peas. This is generally not ideal for babies when they first start eating solids, but it’s a great option once they’ve been eating solids for a few months, and are ready for the next level.
Baby food should always be served from a baby-safe plate or bowl, and not from the jar or storage container. That’s because bacteria can live in open jars, even in the fridge, especially after a used spoon has been dipped inside. That said, here are a few zero-waste storage containers you can use to keep your baby’s food safe before serving it.
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