Making Homemade Baby Food

It is easy to make your own baby food. You can use the same healthy foods that you feed your family. Homemade baby food is healthy for your baby. It also: saves you money; lets your baby try a greater variety of foods; helps your baby get used to different textures and tastes; and lets your baby eat the same foods as your family.

How do I make my own baby food?

To make baby food you need:

  • a food blender;
  • baby food mill (grinder)
  • a wire sieve and a clean spoon or a potato masher or fork

Wash your hands before you prepare food. Use clean utensils and cookware. Plain foods help baby learn about flavours. You don’t need to add sugar, salt, margarine, or butter. The following table outlines how to prepare different types of foods:

FOODS                                                  HOW TO PREPARE

Vegetables and fruit Wash, peel, pit, and/or seed and slice fresh vegetables or fruit or use frozen. Place vegetables or fruit in a small amount of boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain and keep the cooking water.

Mash or blend vegetables or fruit using a small amount of cooking water.

You can blend or mash ripe, soft fruits like bananas, mangoes, avocados, and canned fruit without cooking them.

Meat and fish Place a piece of meat or fish in a saucepan with a small amount of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Continue to cook until meat separates easily from the bones or the fish flakes easily with a fork. You can also roast, bake, or braise meats and fish.

Remove the bones and skin and trim off the fat. Cut meat or flake fish into small pieces.

Blend with cooking water or stock.

Meat alternatives Cook legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, according to package directions. Rinse canned beans well. Cook egg yolk. Use plain tofu.

Blend with a little water or mash with a fork.

Your baby will not need pureed or blended foods for long. At seven months offer mashed foods. Next, offer soft pieces of food.

SAMPLE MENUS FOR BABY

Continue to breastfeed your baby on demand. When your baby is eating a variety of solid foods, give breast milk after solid foods at mealtimes.These menus are only a guide. Your baby may eat foods at different times.Every baby is different. Trust that your baby knows how much to eat.

TIME OF DAY              6 MONTHS                     6-9 MONTHS                                9-12 MONTHS
Early morning Breast milk Breast milk Breast milk
Morning Breast milk

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Breast milk

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Mashed fruit

Breast milk

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Soft fruit

Snack None Small pieces of toast, bread, crackers, roti, or pita Unsweetened dry cereal

Breast milk or homogenized milk from a cup

Noon Breast milk Breast milk

Mashed vegetables

Plain mashed or finely chopped meat or meat alternatives*

Mashed fruit

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Chopped meat or meat alternatives*

Cooked pasta or cooked rice, chopped vegetables

Soft fruit

Breast milk or homogenized milk from a cup

Snack None None Plain muffin Cubes of soft cheese
Evening Breast milk

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Plain pureed meat or meat alternatives

Breast milk

Iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or water

Plain mashed or finely chopped meat or meat alternatives*

Mashed vegetables or fruit

Chopped meat or meat alternatives*

Cooked pasta or cooked rice, chopped vegetables

Soft fruit and/or plain yogurt

Breast milk

Snack Breast milk Breast milk

Small pieces of toast, bread, crackers, roti, or pita

Breast milk

Small pieces of toast, bread, crackers

* Meat alternatives include fish, cooked legumes, beans and lentils, tofu and egg yolk.

Help Your Baby Be a Healthy Eater

Bring your baby to the table to join in at family mealtimes. Babies learn by watching others. Keep mealtimes pleasant. It is best if there are no toys or television to distract your baby. Talk to your baby quietly and encourage him while he is eating. Do not pressure your baby to eat. This can make him refuse food even more and may lead to feeding problems.
Always stay with your baby when he eats. Let your baby explore his food with his hands. Let your baby feed himself with his fingers or a spoon when he is able. Let your baby decide how much to eat. Never pressure your baby to eat more than he wants. Do not restrict the amount you give her to eat when she seems hungry. It is normal for babies to eat different amounts of food each day.
It is alright if your baby refuses a meal or two. Be patient with new foods. You may need to try new foods many times on different days. Do not use games to get your baby to eat. Never force food into your baby’s mouth. Never use food as a reward or a punishment.
You and your baby’s responsibilities:
– You are responsible for what your baby is given to eat.
– You also decide where and when to feed your baby. Your baby is responsible for how much and even whether he eats.

What To Feed Your Baby From 6 To 9 Months

Your baby needs iron for good health. Continue to breastfeed and provide the extra iron that your baby needs by offering her the iron-rich foods. Feed your baby at regular times. Include her at family mealtimes. Talk to her gently. Start your baby on pureed foods. Next, move to lumpy, mashed foods. As your baby becomes better at eating, give her finely chopped foods. Changing texture is important to help your baby learn to chew. Babies who stay on pureed foods too long may be less willing to eat textured foods.

What types of infant cereal should I feed my baby?

Start with an iron-fortified, single grain infant cereal, such as rice. Gradually try other single grain cereals, such as oats, barley, and wheat. Use mixed grain cereals only after your baby has tried each of the single grain cereals. Mix the dry cereal with breast milk. At first make the cereal thin. As your baby becomes better at eating, add less breast milk to make the cereal thicker. Choose plain infant cereals. Cereals with added fruits have extra sugar. Choose cereals without infant formula added. Read the labels. Do not give adult cereals. Always feed cereal from a spoon. Never add cereal to a bottle.

What kinds of meats and alternatives should I feed my baby?

Keep meats and alternatives moist so they are easy to swallow. Add extra water or broth to meats and cooked beans. Use silken (soft) tofu. Do not give your baby deli meats such as ham, wieners, bologna, salami, or sausages. These are high in fat and salt. Give your baby fish such as white fish, salmon and light canned tuna. Swordfish, shark, fresh or frozen tuna steak, canned albacore tuna, marlin, orange roughy and escolar are often high in mercury. Do not give your baby these fish more than once a month.

After your baby has started eating iron-rich foods, she needs other foods like vegetables and fruit.

What kinds of vegetables and fruits should I give my baby?

Try one new vegetable or fruit at a time. Start with mild tasting foods such as squash, peas, sweet potatoes, green or yellow beans, apples, peaches, pears, apricots, plums, avocados, and bananas. You can also give other vegetables and fruits that your family eats. Wash and peel fresh vegetables and fruit before using. Give your baby cooked and mashed vegetables and fruit. You can mash bananas, papayas, avocados, mangoes, melon, and canned fruits without cooking them. As your baby gets older he can have soft pieces of food. Use fresh fruit or canned fruit in juice. If you use baby food fruit avoid “fruit desserts”. They are high in sugar. Store-bought combination vegetable and meat dinners have less nutrients. If you use them add extra meat or alternatives and vegetables to your baby’s meal.

What about juice and other drinks?

Your baby gets enough to drink from breast milk. He does not need juice. You can give your baby tap water or bottled water from a cup if he seems thirsty. Do not give distilled, carbonated, or mineral water. If you decide to give juice, wait until your baby is eating fruit and other foods. Serve juice in a cup. Give your baby 100% pure fruit juices without added sugar. You do not need to buy special baby juice. Just be sure the juice is pasteurized. Do not give your baby more than 1/2 cup (125 ml) of fruit juice per day. You do not need to add water to the juice. Do not give your baby fruit drinks, fruit punch, soft drinks, sports drinks, or herbal teas.

Starting Solid Foods at Six Months

Since birth, your baby has been growing on breast milk. At six months old, breast milk is still the most important food but the time has come to add solid foods. Extra iron is needed at six months. Solid foods provide a variety of nutrients, flavours, and textures for your baby.
How do I tell if my baby is ready for solids?

Your baby is ready to start eating solids when she:
– is six months old;
– holds her head up;
– sits up in a high chair;
– opens her mouth wide when you offer food on a spoon;
– turns her face away if she doesn’t want the food;
– closes her lips over the spoon;
– keeps food in her mouth and swallows it instead of pushing it out.

Make sure your baby shows all of these signs of readiness before you start solid foods.
At first your baby may not accept new foods. If she shows you that she does not like the food by closing her mouth or turning her head away, stop feeding her that food. Try it again another day. Keep feeding time pleasant. If your baby feels pressured to eat, she may not want to try other new foods. Each baby is different. Try not to compare your baby to other babies. Follow your baby’s signs of readiness for food. Talk to your health care provider to help you decide if your baby is ready. Give solid food after your baby has had breast milk. Continue to breastfeed throughout the day as your baby needs it. Start a new food when your baby is happy and hungry. Start new foods in the morning or at lunchtime. Include him at family mealtimes. Sit your baby up straight. It is safest to sit your baby in a high chair. Do up the seat belt to help keep your baby safe. Never leave your baby alone. Keep mealtimes pleasant. Never force your baby to eat.

How should I start my baby on a new food?
Put a small amount of food on the tip of a small spoon. Hold the spoon so your baby can see it. Then put some food on his lips. Put food in his mouth only if he opens it. If your baby does not swallow the food, he may not be ready for solid food yet. Wait a few days and try again. If your baby does not like a new food at first, try it again another day. He may need to try a new food many times before he likes it. Gradually give your baby more food. Let your baby guide you. Your baby will tell you he has had enough to eat when he turns his head away or keeps his mouth shut.

How do I protect my baby from allergies?
Continue to breastfeed. Breastmilk helps protect your baby from allergies. Start with single foods, not mixed. If your baby shows signs of allergy, this makes it easier to know which food is causing the problem. Give the same food for three to five days before you try a new food. Signs of food allergy may take up to five days to appear. Signs of allergy are rash, vomiting, diarrhea, or breathing problems. Stop feeding the food if you think it causes any of these symptoms. Talk to your doctor. Call 911 if your baby is having trouble breathing.