I am old, as my husband teasingly points out so I didn’t think making homemade baby food was something I’d end up doing again. But when he got head/neck cancer things changed. He was on a feeding tube for months and when he began eating “real” food again it was extremely difficult for him. The radiation has destroyed his saliva glands and caused fluid retention in the tissue of his throat. Choking and/or aspirating food was a real danger. So I bought baby food. It was soft and easy for him to swallow but that stuff has gotten expensive in the last 31 years! So homemade baby food sounded like a really good idea!
Remember when introducing your baby to new foods it is best to only offer one at a time. Wait about four days before introducing another new food. You’ll be able to quickly tell if your baby is allergic to a new food if it’s the only one that he hasn’t had before.
Here are some tips on how to make your own homemade baby food and some foods that are great as baby food.
Applesauce – This baby food favorite contains vitamins A, C, E, and Folate. Minerals found in apples are calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and selenium. And, in small amounts, apples contain copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.
- Peel and core apples.
- Slice or cut into chunks.
- Place in a pan with enough water to slightly cover the apples.
- Cook the apples on medium heat until tender, stirring frequently and adjusting the water level if necessary.
- Reserve some of the cooking water.
- Place into a blender and puree, adding the reserved water if the applesauce needs to be thinned.
Applesauce may be thickened with cereal as your baby grows and adjusts to solid food.
Acorn, Butternut, and Hubbard Squash – The winter squashes are very high in fiber and contain vitamins A, C, and Folate. Iron and potassium are the major minerals found in these squash.
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Do not peel.
- Lay squash halves cut side down on a baking pan with at least 1 ½” sides
- Add water to about one inch in the pan.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until the skin puckers and the squash is soft. Check the water level while baking to maintain the level.
- When squash is soft scoop meat out of the skin with a wooden spoon.
- Reserve the cooking water for thinning the puree.
- Place meat in a blender and puree, adding cooking water as necessary.
* You can also cube the squash and boil it as you would potatoes.
Avocado – This wonder food has vitamins A, C, niacin, and folate. The minerals an avocado contains are calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. It’s smooth and creamy so it’s a great first food and it’s easy to digest.
- Peel and take the pit out of a ripe avocado.
- The flesh can be mashed with a fork or pureed in a blender.
- Add a little breast milk or formula if the puree needs to be thinned.
*There is no need to cook the flesh of a ripe avocado.
Banana – This fruit is one that is very common as a first food for baby. Bananas contain vitamins A, C, and Folate and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and selenium. Bananas are easy to digest and the natural sweetness may help baby adjust to solid food. There is some debate about giving a sweet food like bananas as a first food so do your research before deciding to feed bananas.
- Peel and puree in a blender or simply mash with a fork.
- Add breastmilk or formula to thin or add the banana to cereal if baby is ready for something thicker.
Pears – This fruit is another favorite for baby’s first food. Pears contain vitamins A, C, and Folate and the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Peel the pears and cut them into chunks, making sure there are no seeds in the chunks.
- Steam the pears until very soft and tender.
- Reserve the steaming water for thinning but you probably won’t need it for pears.
- Place the pear chunks in a blender and puree.
- If the pear puree is too thin, add a little bit of baby cereal to thicken.
Yams & Sweet Potatoes – In addition to being very high in fiber these tubers have vitamins A, C, and Folate and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and sodium. Selenium binds with proteins to antioxidant enzymes and can boost the immune system. While too much sodium isn’t good for babies, the amount in a normal feeding of yams or sweet potatoes is limited.
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Wash the potato thoroughly. Do not peel.
- Poke holes around the potato with a fork and wrap it in foil.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until potato is soft or a knife inserted into it comes out clean.
- Cool the potato until it can be handled and then peel.
- Cut into small chunks and place in a pan with enough water to just cover it.
- Boil, checking water level frequently, until the potato is very tender.
- Reserve cooking water for thinning the puree.
- Place cooked chunks into a blender and puree, adding cooking water as necessary.
Many tropical fruits like mango and papaya are allergenic. Symptoms of a food allergy include:
Sudden loose, diarrhea stools and/or vomiting
Sudden rashes on the skin and bottom
Irritability and/or gassiness after a new food/meal
Breathing or other respiratory troubles after a new food/meal
Swelling of the Face, Lips and/or Tongue
Closure or tightening of the throat