Mama Koala asked me to share some Dos and Don’ts of making your own baby food. This is my short list:
- Do wait until your baby is at least four months and preferably six months old before starting him/her on solids. Younger infants have an immature digestive system, don’t know how to swallow and haven’t learned how to turn their head to refuse food.
- Do educate yourself and find a trusting reference guide. Before you start making your own baby food, try to read as much about is as you can. Rely on your public library in order to explore the different baby food books out there. Three years ago I relied on the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. I particularly like the book for the many recipes it includes. but some of her advice is controversial. So make sure to have more than one resource. My other favorite reference was the website Wholesome Baby Food. This website has evolved a lot in the last three years and it has become a great source of information, a must read.
- Do follow preparation and storage guidelines. It is safe to make your own baby food only if you follow basic cleansing, preparation and storage guidelines.
- Do think wholesome: whole foods and whole grains are always better for your baby than highly processed or refined cereals.
- Do follow the 4-day waiting rule. It is important that you wait at least four days before introducing any other new food to your baby. This waiting period allows you time to identify allergic reactions. It is also important that you introduce new foods as a single food only. You won’t be able to know what ingredient your baby may be allergic to if you have fed him a mixed ingredient meal.
- Do find balance. Making your own baby food doesn’t mean you have to make every single food your baby eats. I combine commercial infant cereal (really like Earth’s Best) with my homemade baby puree.
- Don’t shun commercial baby food entirely. Sometimes making your own food is not practical if you are traveling or in case of an emergency.
- Don’t listen to unwanted advice. You may face some resistance from older generations who grew up with the Gerber baby image. Most of the time these people have good intentions. Just listen politely and agree to disagree.
- Don’t panic: starting solids makes weird things to your baby’s poop. So, don’t panic if suddenly their poop changes consistency or if it turns weird colors all of a sudden. But if his/her stool becomes loose/watery or contains mucus consult with your child’s pediatrician.
- Don’t break the bank. One big benefit of making your own baby food is how much money you can save. You don’t need a lot of investment in terms of what you need: a good blender/food processor, ice cube tray (I bought mine at the dollar store) and plastic freezer bags. You don’t need this or this.
When we become pregnant we start taking prenatal vitamins, eat better, stop unhealthy habits. All in order to nurture the baby we are carrying inside. Continue the nurturing once your baby is outside. Feed him the best you can provide. I personally love looking at my seven month old and knowing that all 20 lbs of him are the direct result of my best efforts.