Introducing solid food for baby is a big decision. My recommendation is to wait until your darling is six months old. Many studies have shown waiting to start solid food helps baby later on: fewer allergies, less stomach problems, easier acclimation from breastfeeding and more. There is a temptation to start earlier with the belief baby will sleep longer at night. However, often this does not prove to be true.
Speak with your friends, find out your pediatricians thoughts, talk with family members to decide when is best for you. Every situation is a little bit different.
Below is the first in a four part installment from the New York Times on how to make your own baby food. It is easy and so convenient. Also, this way you know exactly what your baby is eating. If there is someone who can make baby food for you thats wonderful. This article suggests starting with fruit. The general thinking these days is to start with pureed vegetables. This way baby will not develop a sweet tooth. Introduce fruit later.
You can prepare food each time you feed baby for freshness. Or, you can make a batch and freeze some for use later. A convenient way to do this is to freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray. Once frozen put your baby food cubes in a freezer bag with the name of what it is and the date made. Keep it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Take it out and either let it melt, microwave it, or set your dish with the food in hot water to melt it more rapidly. Remember to serve it at room temperature for baby. This will avoid burning baby and she will be happy with it.
Freezing fruits and vegetables does not affect their nutritional value. Proteins such as chicken, beef , or fish loose nutritional value when frozen.
With so many important firsts in a baby’s life, it’s easy to forget one of the most rewarding: baby’s first solid food. We’ve broken down those early foods into three categories, roughly correlated to a baby’s development (Stages 1, 2 and 3, also known as supported sitter, sitter and crawler on the packaging of premade foods). Of course, all babies develop differently: You’ll want to look for milestones — sitting up alone, grasping at the grape you’re eating — and consult your pediatrician as you embark on your baby food journey.
Stage 1 (4 to 6 Months)
When is your baby ready to eat solid food? It depends. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 6 months, but some doctors say 4 months. In general, you’ll want to start giving babies simple purées when they start showing interest in what you’re eating, and when they can hold their heads up and sit with some support. Your pediatrician can confirm if your child is ready.
1. Try starting with your favorite vegetables like carrots and sweet potato, as babies take to them more easily. During those first few weeks of solid foods, little ones will eat only a few tablespoons of the purées to supplement their breast milk or formula feedings. They may not like them at first, but introduce each purée over a few feedings until they adapt. As they grow, they will graduate to larger servings: 2 ounces, 4 ounces and more. Makes ½ cup.
2. VEGETABLE PURÉES
Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are a wonderful first vegetable for baby, as they can be made sweet or savory. You can also swap in zucchini, squash, beets or pumpkin in this recipe. Roast them as you would for yourself, but discard skins, and keep in mind that these vegetables may roast in less time.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, roast a sweet potato until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut in half and scoop out flesh. Place it in a blender with 4 ounces formula or breast milk and purée until smooth. Let cool and serve at room temperature or freeze for later use. Makes about 1¼ cups.
Here, as with the apple purée, you can add dried spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to taste as your baby gets older.
Broccoli: Use this technique for other vegetables that you like steamed, too, like cauliflower, carrots or peas.
With a paring knife, cut off and discard the tough stalks of a ½-pound head of broccoli and divide into small florets. Place broccoli in a steamer basket over a large saucepan with a thin layer of boiling water. Steam, covered, for 6 to 7 minutes, until tender. Remove broccoli from steamer and let cool. Place broccoli in a blender with 6 ounces formula or breast milk, and purée until smooth. Let cool and serve at room temperature or freeze for later use. Makes about 1½ cups.
3. FRUIT PURÉES.
Apple: Applesauce at its smoothest, this recipe is a great first solid to give to your baby. You can treat pears, apricots and nectarines the same way.
In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup purified water to a boil. Add 1 peeled, cored and cubed apple and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender, add ¼ cup purified water and purée until smooth. Let cool and serve at room temperature or freeze for later use. Makes 1 cup.
As your baby grows older, you can make this sauce chunkier and add dried spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to taste.
Prune: Babies get constipated. Talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of adding a mall amount of water to baby’s diet if this is the case. Prunes can help get their still-developing digestive systems moving, especially as they try new, unfamiliar foods.
In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup purified water and 8 pitted prunes to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and purée until it reaches desired consistency. Let cool and serve at room temperature or freeze for later use.
4. GRAIN PURÉE
Using a blender, pulverize 3 or 4 cups of brown rice, oats or barley to a fine powder. Reserve ¼ cup and store the rest of the ground cereal in an airtight container to make more purées later. In a saucepan, bring ½ cup purified water to a boil. Add reserved ¼ cup ground cereal. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly. Transfer purée to a blender. On a low setting, whir until smooth, adding ¼ cup breast milk or formula. Let cool and serve at room temperature. Makes about ¾ cup.
— Adapted from “The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet” by Karin Knight and Tina Ruggiero (Fair Winds, 2010)