Baby in a chair and his/here mother in front with a small spoon and a jar of baby food. It looks like something right out of a parenting. it’s a powerful marketing image that can cost a family a great deal of money in the long run. Below are the reason why most families tend to get commercal baby foods instead of trying to make it in home.
The Convenience Feature
Most parents would say the main reason for using commercial jarred baby food is the convenience aspect. After all, with the busy lifestyle many of us have today, no one has time to specially prepare a meal for each member of the family. It doesn’t have to be a special event to create your own baby food, however. Baby can usually eat what the rest of the family is eating with very little special preparation.
Everyone worries about proper nutrition for growing babies. Iron, calcium, and vitamin D – all of these things are legitimate concerns in children’s nutrition. However, fortified and processed foods aren’t necessarily better than whole foods. Homemade baby food, created from fresh ingredients, offers your child superior nutrition as well as encourages a taste for simple, unprocessed foods – a taste that will possibly prevent obesity-related problems later in life. It’s not necessary to offer commercial baby foods in order to have a healthy child.
Why pay more for an inferior product? Beginning baby food often runs between forty and seventy cents for two ounces. It’s entirely possible to purchase half a pound of produce for the same amount, and baby will reap the benefits of eating fresh, nutritious food. Buying produce in bulk can result in even more savings, and even frozen produce is preferable to what you find in the jars.
It’s important to know when baby is actually ready for solids. Introducing solids too early can lead to an increased likelihood of food intolerances and food allergies. Most medical associations agree that starting solids around six months of age is ideal, and many people find delaying solids for allergy-prone babies is even better. Signs of readiness for solids include:
- Increased nursing for more than a few days, which is unrelated to illness or teething, or, if baby is fed artificial baby milk, consuming more than 32 ounces daily.
- Ability to sit up unsupported.
- Absence of the tongue-thrust reflex. This life-saving reflex causes babies to push foreign objects (in this case, solid foods) out of their mouths to avoid choking.
- Ability to pick foods up and place in mouth independently (or development of the pincer grasp).
What About Allergies?
Experts recommend introducing new foods between three days and a week apart. This helps parents and caregivers identify signs of a food allergy or intolerance. Common signs of food allergy/intolerance are:
- Increased bloating and gassiness, painful discomfort.
- Sandpaper-like raised rash on face, often where the offending food made contact with skin.
- Runny nose and watery eyes.
- Diarrhea or mucous in the stools. Blood in the stool can also be an indicator of a food allergy, usually dairy or soy.
- Red rash around anus, or an unusual diaper rash.
- Vomiting or increased spit up with discomfort.
Ideally, it is best to introduce foods that are less likely to produce an allergic reaction in baby. Avoiding foods such as egg whites, certain nuts such as peanuts, cow’s milk, corn, wheat, and some berries such as strawberries is recommended, as they are more likely to cause reactions. Instead, start with foods that are easier on baby’s system. Some good ideas include:
– Sweet potatoes
– Brown rice
Tools of the Trade
Fancy equipment isn’t necessary to make healthy food for your baby. Things that might be helpful include a blender, a food mill, a steamer basket and ice cube trays if you want to freeze small portions. Most people have blenders already in their kitchens, and a food mill (or baby grinder) isn’t necessary if you have a good blender or food processor. Steamer baskets can be found in most grocery stores for only a few dollars, and fit easily into saucepans. Many beginner foods require nothing more than a small pan and a fork.
Many doctors recommend starting your baby on rice cereal first. Many parents find, however, that fruits go over better for beginning eaters. It is a myth that babies will prefer sweet things if they are given fruits first – nature’s first food, breast milk, is naturally sweet, and that is what baby is accustomed to. Banana is a wonderful first food, as its creamy consistency is similar to mother’s milk. After introducing banana, try another fruit or vegetable.
Continue adding fruits and vegetables until baby has a wide variety of tastes. Then consider adding whole grains in the form of cereal. Many whole grains have naturally occurring iron, so there is no need to supplement baby’s iron unless there is a medical indication for doing so. Brown rice, oats, and barley are all good choices. Next, introduce a meat or poultry such as beef or chicken.
If you are a vegetarian, introduce another protein source such as tofu or lentils. As time goes on, introduce a combination of tastes, such as cereal mixed with applesauce or peas and carrots. This is also a great time to introduce finger foods, especially if baby has teeth. As baby learns to self-feed, you can move away from making purees and offer small baby-sized portions of the family meal.
Bananas make an ideal food for a baby starting solids. To serve, let bananas ripen well (the more ripe, the better – brown spots are desirable), cut into small chunks and mash with a fork. Pears are an excellent source of fiber and can be cooked like apples: peel and cut into chunks. Place in small saucepan and just cover with water. Cook until tender.
These can then be mashed with a fork, run through a food mill, processed in a blender or food processor. They can also be offered as finger food if they are cut into small enough chunks. Carrots, another popular first food, should be scraped with a vegetable peeler, sliced and steamed or boiled until soft. Process in blender or food mill. Carrots can be a choking hazard for children, so do use caution if offering as a finger food.
Sweet potatoes are extremely easy to make, and one potato can last a long time if frozen after cooking. Place sweet potato in a microwave for about eight minutes, remove and let cool. Open up and serve right out of the peel – the potato is very soft and needs no further processing. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of B6.
Winter squash such as acorn or butternut makes an excellent first food. Cut squash in half and clean. Place in one half inch of water in a baking pan and bake at three hundred and fifty degrees for half an hour. Use a spoon to scoop out squash and feed directly to baby.
Avocadoes are an extremely nutrient dense food and offers important vitamins and minerals such as iron and potassium. Cut avocado in half around the pit, grab each half and give it a twist. Scoop out meat and mash or dice.
Making cereal for baby is very easy. Take a cup of the whole grain if your choice such as brown rice, oats, or barley and process in the blender until the desired consistency is reached, usually about two minutes for very young babies. Store in an airtight container. To cook, mix with liquid of your choice and heat over medium heat on stove until thick.
Benefits of Making Homemade Food For Your Baby
Preparing your baby’s food is efficient, practical, and simple. Instead of going to spend your money on prepackaged baby meals, you can purchase meats, grains, and fresh grown produce. Your baby will be fed very good meals and you will be aware of the specific elements that are in his food.
By doing this, your baby consumes the same meals that the rest of the family eats, but it is made in a method that is ideal for him. This can help the baby in the long run when he starts eating food like a toddler.
Choosing the Ideal Appliances
You would need particular accessories to prepare your baby’s food. Many of this machines can be easily found in shops or could possibly be acquired online. The following are a couple of examples of the instruments you will require:
Hand Turning Food Mill with multiple blades for a variety of food textures. This is a portable appliance that is also commonly known as a food mill.
Baby Food Maker can be used to steam the baby’s meal to ensure that it is correctly cooked. Also, it purees meats, greens, and fruits. In addition, the food can be saved easily in the instrument if you are in a hurry. Simply remember to put it in the refrigerator.
Baby Food Grinder is a really easy and affordable way to grind parts of your baby’s meal. This grinder isn’t going to offer you a choice in textures types for your baby’s food. This component is not as functional as others, but it is low-priced.
Hand Blender is a commonly used electric kitchen appliance that purees the baby’s meal just like a blender does. This machine enables you to blend foods in a bowl. This hand-held blender is frequently utilized in many kitchens.
Food Processor or Kitchen Blender is found in virtually every kitchen. These accessories work nicely for numerous cooking jobs. However they aren’t ideal for making smaller sized portions.
A Good Fork is maybe the most simple kitchen gadget that is certainly present in everyone’s kitchen and it does the work. You’ll be able to easily mash foods like potatoes, bananas, squash, and avocados with a fork. If you do not have any of the special appliances available this can typically take care of the food preparation. If required, boil the veggies before mashing.
Some other Items could be necessary to produce your own homemade baby food and those contain plastic food containers and trays that are suitable for freezing.
Buy the Best Produce Possible
Pick fresh veggies and fruits preferably organically grown, and use them within a few days. If you can not get fresh produce, then frozen produce is just fine. Natural produce could be the best choice, yet it is higher priced.
You can start your homemade baby food with fruits such as apples, plums, bananas, prunes, peaches, apricots, pears, mangoes and blueberries. When preparing vegetables you could select asparagus, butternut squash, peas, avocados, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
After thoroughly washing the vegetables, cook them. Some fruits like prunes and apples must be pureed to soften. You can bake, boil or steam the fresh fruits or greens until they soften. When boiling the meal, use a small amount of water and when you can, use soup stock rather than water. The stock that you use in the baby food prep should have a small amount of seasoning.
Make sure that you pit and peel the produce well and strain the seeds. Many vegetables and fruits have their own liquid, making it simple to mash simply by introducing a touch of seasoning. As your baby starts adapting to the diverse textures of food, you will be able to transition him to more solid foods.
Grains such as millet or quinoa can also be ground or pureed in a grinder, but they need to be cooked using the directions on the food package.To prepare poultry and meat, trim the fat and eliminate all of the skin before cooking. After that, puree the well cooked meat or poultry in the blender. If the baby is almost a toddler, then you can cut the meat in little parts for him to chew.
It may sound like plenty of work, however it is cost efficient and much better for the baby. It is also how it was done in the past, before there was baby food in the local super market. Mom would make the family’s meal and split the baby’s part to make it with less seasoning. She would then need to mash, grind, or blend the food to be adequate for the baby to swallow. And, this is still the way that it is done in lot of countries.
Serving Methods for Your Baby
Serve the baby’s meal at room or warm temperature. Taste it if you can to be sure it isn’t too hot for the baby, particularly when using a microwave oven to heat the food. Only serve the amount that you feel that your baby can consume. Dump any remaining from the plate simply because you don’t want to store inside the refrigerator any mix of bacteria from the saliva. The Germs can grow very soon on the food.
You should never put sugar on the baby’s meal, and don’t put syrup or honey because it may cause botulism. It is a type of food poisoning that can be fatal and these kinds of foods can be consumed when the child is older.
Lightly season the baby’s food. Babies can take some seasoning and the baby meal does not need to be bland.
Don’t forget to refrigerate the baby meal leftovers in a container. Try using the leftovers within two days. You may freeze the leftovers in freezer bags or freezer containers. Vegetables and fruits can be frozen in proper containers and can last approximately eight months. Fish, meat, and poultry will last a couple of months in the freezer.
To conclude, your baby will love and learn to consume your home-cooked meals, and this will be more useful to his nutrition. It’s all a matter of dedicating a few days of the week to prepare and store the food. You are not going to only spend less money on groceries, but you will also be providing the best food for your baby.