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    19 Actually Useful Tips For Making Your Own Baby Food

    Know exactly what your new baby's eating and save $$ at the same time!

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    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. When your baby's less than six months old, start with tastes of cooked fruits and vegetables.

    sheknows.com

    Always check with your pediatrician before feeding them anything but breastmilk or formula! It's often said that you should start on "solid" foods at six months, but all babies are different. "When the baby can sit upright, hold her head up, and is interested in food, she's probably ready," Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN previously told BuzzFeed.

    And check out the FDA's guidelines for making your own baby food safely. Chart from She Knows.

    2. And remember that every baby develops on their own timeline — and you by no means ~must~ make big batches of organic baby food to freeze.

    ABC / giphy.com

    The goal is to find the right balance that works for your lifestyle and budget. While there are benefits to the DIY way, like knowing exactly what your baby's eating and (of course) saving money, plenty of kids have been perfectly fine eating store-bought jar or pouch food! (Or going through baby led weaning, which is an entirely different conversation.)

    3. But if you are going to make it yourself, bulk prep's probably the easiest and most time-efficient way to go.

    Devin Rogerino for BuzzFeed

    4. To help pinpoint any possible allergens, only introduce a new food every two to four days.

    reddit.com

    ...Or however often your pediatrician recommends. That way, if your baby has an allergic reaction, you'll know what probably caused it right away.

    That's also partly why you'll want to start out with single-ingredient purées — but once your kiddo's tried a few individual foods, you can start mixing and matching different purées that you think would taste good together!

    5. It's totally legit to use most frozen produce to make baby food, as long as you fully cook it first.

    hankyshappyhome.com

    Yes, even if you want to freeze the food for later: because you completely cook it, it's not the same as refreezing something thawed. (But if it accidentally thaws in your trunk on the way home from the store, don't try to refreeze at that point...just toss.)

    The only times you wouldn't want to use? If it's frozen in syrup or with sauce or other seasonings (it'd likely have too much sugar and/or salt), or if it says on the bag that it was fully cooked and then frozen.

    Get the recipe for simple pea purée from Hankys Happy Home.

    6. Whether it's frozen or fresh, you'll need to boil, steam, roast, or otherwise cook most veggies you plan to purée.

    premeditatedleftovers.com

    With fresh, not-frozen fruits, chat with your pediatrician: you might be fine to just wash them well and purée, but cooking them (as Premeditated Leftovers does) might also make them easier for your baby to digest.

    Whatever you decide, don't add salt, because their developing kidneys may not be able to cope with it.

    Get a vegetable steamer that'll work in the pots you already have on Amazon for $9.99.

    7. You can even use your rice cooker to steam a bunch of veggies all at once.

    urbanmomtales.com

    Assuming your rice cooker has a steamer basket, of course. Just cut everything into appropriately-sized chunks so all the veggies are done at about the same time. (Squash cooks faster than carrots, so it can stay in fairly large chunks relative to the narrow baby carrots.) From Urban Mom Tales.

    Get a rice cooker that steams for $19.99 on Amazon.

    8. Once you've cooked the food, use a single-serve blender to make quick work of pureés. (Or stick with the blender or food processor you already have!)

    amazon.com

    All you do is the fill the container, press it down for a minute or two, and bam — you have a baby-friendly feast.

    Promising review: "What would I do with out my Magic Bullet? It is small and compact enough to stay on my counter without taking up much space. I use it every day to whip up a quick smoothie for my toddlers which is great because I make healthy smoothies with hidden veggies in it and they think they are just getting a treat. I also use this to quick puree baby food for my daughter. Of course, I use it some for other cooking but smoothies and baby food is mainly what I use it for. " —Erika

    Get the Magic Bullet from Amazon for $30.89.

    9. Whatever appliance you use, make sure you blend/process the food long enough that it's truly completely smooth — and add a little water, apple juice, or breastmilk/formula to thin it, especially when your baby's still in "stage one".

    babyfoode.com

    If you want to thin with breastmilk and intend to freeze the cubes after, though, stick with fresh (not frozen) milk — you never want to re-freeze breastmilk.

    From Baby Foode.

    10. And pour your finished purées into ice cube trays to store for up to a month in the freezer.

    Laura Radniecki / lauraradniecki.com

    Cover your trays, or use trays that have covers already — and look for ones, like these, $13.99 for four on Amazon, that have about one ounce per cube, or about two tablespoons (which is a good starting serving size). From Laura Radniecki.

    11. If you want to be extra precise about it, a sandwich bag makes it easy to portion the purée.

    Raising Arizona Kids / raisingarizonakids.com

    12. Once the food's completely frozen, simply pull it out of the trays and keep 'em frozen in Ziploc bags labeled with the date.

    wineandglue.com

    Then, you can either defrost a few cubes in the fridge overnight, or heat them up in the microwave. (Just don't serve your baby food that's way too hot!) From Wine and Glue.

    13. If ice cubes aren't for you, you can get the same convenience of those grab-and-go baby food pouches by making your own with this simple squeeze station.

    infantino.com

    Of course, any pouches you fill with home made food will have to go in the freezer if you don't plan to feed them to your baby within the next day or two (unlike the shelf-stable store bought versions).

    Promising review: "I bought this because I was buying the premade pouches on sale for $1.25 each (or reg price $1.69) — instead these cost me $0.69 each to make my own organic pouches.

    It's VERY easy to use, no batteries or plug in needed. Clean up is even easier. I make baby food and fill pouches once a month and freeze them. When I'm finished I just stick all the pieces in the dishwasher.

    I get twice as much for the same price by buying organic applesauce in the big jar instead of individual cups or pouches. So this has saved me quite a bit of money." —4ST

    Get it on Amazon for $19.79 — and a pack of 50 additional pouches for $16.99.

    14. Although you can use the tip of a (clean!) bulb sucker to refill an empty store bought pouch with your homemade food.

    hellolittlescout.com

    Of course, if you are going to refill, you'll either want to figure out some way to completely clean the inside of the pouch or have kept the pouch in the refrigerator after it was opened, so whatever bits of food left in there are still fresh. (And some brands recommend not keeping even refrigerated pouches past 24 hours after they're opened.) Read more at Hello Little Scout.

    15. Or just get a set of six washable, reusable pouches with secure double zippers that let you refill from the bottom.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I love these. So does my grandbaby. Easy to fill. Easy to clean. I left one that had infant cereal in it for a few hours. I thought I wouldn't be able to get it clean, as that stuff dries like a rock (I put that in his tummy? I digress.) It cleaned up easily. I was very happy. Baby sees those bags and he knows what's coming and is very happy. I love these and definitely recommend them!!" —AnnC5601

    Get a set of six 3.5 oz pouches on Amazon for $13.99 (also available in toddler-sized 6 oz and 7.5 oz).

    16. You could also skip the pouches entirely, and use a refillable feeding spoon with a cap that makes it easy to fill, then toss in your diaper bag without a worry.

    amazon.com

    You can also use precisely the right amount of food — no waste!

    Promising review: "I originally thought I would only use this for traveling, but am so grateful I started using it full time. I have twins, and the time it took to go back and forth between them and the time it took to spoon from a bowl made a bigger difference that I imagined.

    Easy to clean, even when it sits a day. Occasionally I have quickly needed a bottle brush. The insides of mine have texture, so don’t mistake that for dried up old food. Feel it before you use it so you know what clean feels like.

    IF YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HOMEMADE BABY FOOD: make sure you purée it thoroughly. My first few batches would get clogged, but now I rarely have that issue. I found it had a tendency to sputter UNTIL I realized how thin store bought baby foods were. Once I watered my homemade purées equally, I didn’t have that issue." —ChaCha

    Get it on Amazon for $7.99.

    17. Yet another option: store your single-serving purées in 4oz mason jars, which are dishwasher safe and easy to label with a little masking tape (and *definitely* use less plastic than other options).

    mamalifeinspiration.com

    Just don't feed your baby directly from the jar unless they can finish the entire jar — you wouldn't want to contaminate your carefully prepared food with bacteria. From Mama Life Inspiration.

    Get a box of 24 four ounce, freezer-safe mason jars on Amazon for $27.46.

    18. Once you have a good rotation of different fruit and vegetable purées going, you can also start stirring in some mild herbs and spices to help nurture and grow your baby's ~palate~.

    hellobee.com

    You'll want to introduce these one at a time, with a few days between each, to help detect any allergies, just like you do with other foods. Hello Bee has a few suggestions, like cinnamon with sweet potatoes, sage with butternut squash, and hard-boiled egg yolk with chive. Just base 'em on the combos that you like! (And if you have concerns, of course talk to your pediatrician, first).

    19. As your baby gets a little older, you can also start introducing meat, poultry, and fish purées, if you want.

    babyfoode.com

    The general recommendations say this can happen around six to eight months, but again, your timing's up to you, your baby, and your pediatrician. Get the recipe on Baby Foode.

    Before you know it, you'll be cutting itty-bitty bites of completely solid food (and finding Cheerios stuck in the weirdest places) because time flies!

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    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed