Making your own baby food is easy, fast, and saves money.
It also means you know exactly what you’re feeding your baby, and it can even be more nutritious than buying it in the store.
First and foremost, make sure your baby is ready for solid foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says to wait 6 months before starting on solids, but that can vary. “When the baby can sit upright, hold her head up, and is interested in food, she’s probably ready,” says Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN.
Be aware of common allergens and gas-inducing foods.
Common allergens include eggs, milk, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
Honey is also best avoided the first year because it can cause botulism.
Wait until your baby is ten to twelve months old before trying gas-inducing foods such as beans, broccoli, onions, fruit juice, wheat, cauliflower, garlic and dairy.
“It is best to check with a pediatrician before introducing these foods into your baby’s diet,” says Middleberg.
Choose organic produce whenever possible.
“Babies have smaller digestive systems and body masses, so they can handle less toxins, like pesticides, than small children or adults can,” Middleberg says.
And, finally, make sure the foods you’re making are age appropriate.
Stick with thin, single-ingredient purees from low-acid fruits and sweet vegetables. Space new foods 4 days apart so you can spot and identify an allergy.
Start testing other fruits and vegetables and proteins such as lentils and meats in thicker purees. Still go one new ingredient at a time, but now mix a few together once you know your baby isn’t allergic.
Your baby is probably ready for chunkier purees, small pieces of soft cooked veggies, whole milk and dairy.
Congratulations! Your baby is one year old! You can now start to introduce him/her to adult food, if you haven’t already. Honey, fish, citrus, and small amounts of salt and pepper are all on the menu. Just be sure to cut it up into small pieces.
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