Quick Guide to Making Your Own Baby Food for Busy Moms.
Have you ever thought about making your own baby food but immediately shot the idea down because it sounds too hard or think that it takes a lot of time?
The good news is, it’s not as hard or time consuming as you think!
With a few simple steps you can prepare fresh food for your baby and save a ton of money doing it!
When you make your own baby food you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what you are feeding your little one, you don’t have to worry about ingredients you can’t pronounce.
The best part is, this guide is for busy moms that don’t have a lot of time on their hands. I’m going to teach you how to prepare weeks worth of homemade goodness in just a few hours!
What You Need to Know About Introducing Solids to Your Baby
There are a few things you need to know before starting your baby on solid foods.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) does not recommend starting solid foods until your baby reaches at least 6 months of age.
There is evidence to suggest that infants that are introduced to foods before 4 months are at higher risk for increased weight gain in infancy and early childhood.
When babies are introduced to solid food earlier than they are ready for them it can cause digestive discomfort and be a cause of food allergies later.
Signs your baby is ready to start solid food
Each child’s readiness to start solid food depends on their own individual development but general guidelines that a baby is ready are:
- Can sit up well without support
- Baby has lost the reflexive tongue thrust and does not instinctively push solid food out of the mouth
- Has an interest in food and holds their mouth open when food is offered to them
Which food should I give my baby first ( 6 – 8 months)
There are several things to consider when choosing the first foods to give your baby.
Try introducing single food purees one at a time, that way if your baby has an allergic reaction to any new foods you can easily identify them.
First foods should be pureed and easy for your baby to digest like
- sweet potatoes
- green beans
Once your baby shows a tolerance to each food you can gradually start to introduce other foods into their diet one by one (every 4-5 days).
Pediatricians recommend introducing vegetables first in a babies diet but there is no evidence to suggest that it is harmful to introduce fruits before vegetables or that will create a preference for your baby.
However it is important to provide a variety of flavors in your babies diet.
It may take your baby several times of trying a food to get used to the flavor. Continue to offer those foods to your baby to help them get used to the taste.
As your baby grows you can create combinations of the single food purees like
- bananas and avocado
- squash and pears
- apples and sweet potatoes
- peas and carrots
What You Will Need to Make Your Own Homemade Baby Food
Hear me out, you don’t need all the bells and whistles for this. I would even venture to say you are going to waste your money.
All you really need is a steamer basket to steam vegetables and fruit (or you could buy the bags of steamable veges in the frozen food section (like I do and make life EVEN easier)
For storage these silicone trays make it super easy to remove once the pureed food is frozen. Plus you want to store your baby food in small portion sizes so your not wasting food when you thaw it out.
These reusable pouches are really convenient as well and make feeding your baby a breeze!
You could also just use ice cube trays. Then store in the freezer in gallon ziplock bags!
What you really need to make homemade baby food (recap)
- steamer basket
- food processor or blender
- crock pot or instant pot
- silicone ice cube trays or regular ice cube trays.
- baby food pouches
How to Prepare Homemade Baby Food
This is the best part! I’m going to teach you how to batch prep weeks worth of homemade baby food for your little one in as little as one afternoon.
Wash any fruits and vegetables under running water. Trim any fat from meat you are preparing
If you are using fresh vegetables and fruits steam them in your steamer basket or cook in your crock pot or instant pot. Throw your frozen veges in the microwave!
The instant pot is great for cooking a lot in a quick amount of time.
These are some of my favorite baby food recipes for the Instant Pot that save a TON of time!
Most fruits and vegetables can be prepared in the Instant Pot with a cook time of about 5 minutes as long as your food is cut up in small enough chunks.
- Manual high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once the cook time is complete, natural release of pressure for 5 minutes then quick release the rest of the pressure.
I also usually cook chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins for about 8 minutes and puree those as well when the baby is old enough to handle a thicker puree.
Home Made Baby Food Hack
I buy a couple of frozen vegetables like peas, carrots, or green beans. I will prepare those according to the bag’s instructions and that usually takes me 4 minutes per bag.
You get A LOT of baby food from the steamer bags of veges so whatever vegetable I buy and prep for the month I usually only need one or two bags of each.
Don’t skip this step. This will probably be the longest step.
You do not want to put steaming hot food into a blender or food processor. It causes a build up of steam that can make the lid pop off and possibly hurt you or burn you.
How do I know this? it’s definitely happened to me a time or two when I got impatient.
Go play with your baby, text a friend or watch that new Netflix show your binging then on to the next step.
When you put your food into the blender or food processor you need to add a little liquid to help puree the food.
I usually reserve some of the liquid from the cooking process with any fruits like pears or apples then add it back to the blender.
With vegetables I like to add chicken stock to help give it some flavor.
Make sure you use low sodium chicken stock or chicken broth.
You could also add breast milk , formula or water to make it a thinner.
When you are beginning to feed your baby solid food you want the puree to be thinner consistency.
As your baby gets older you can increase the consistency and texture to be thicker.
Freeze & Store
Freeze your pureed food in ice cube trays or silicone molds. Remove and store in labeled gallon sized ziplock bags.
You can take 1-2 days of meals out a time and thaw, then they will be ready for you when you need them!
Homemade baby food can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours and in the freezer for up to 2 months
Serve to Baby
If you have already thawed your baby food in advance it will not take as long to warm up. You can absolutely warm it up strait from the freezer as well.
Place in a microwavable safe dish and warm for 30 seconds if pre-thawed and 1 minute if frozen. If your baby’s food still isn’t warm enough continue to warm in 15 second increments until it is ready.
Make sure to stir well and test before giving it to your baby as the microwave can sometimes heat unevenly creating hot pockets of food.
All of this from start to finish usually takes me about 1-2 hours in the kitchen on the weekend.
I have weeks worth of fresh meals for my baby that cost me a fraction of what I would have paid in the stores on hand to be ready at a moments notice.
Making your own baby food doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, even the busiest moms can do it! (unless you don’t want to, and that’s cool!)
Baby Food NO NO’s
We want to feed our babies a variety of foods and textures but there are some things they should not eat until after they are a year old.
Do not give your baby anything with honey in it. It contains bacterial spores that are harmless for adults but can cause botulism in babies an be very dangerous.
Also do not add any sugar or additional spices to your baby food.
Favorite Feeding Products for Babies
Spoons – I love these soft tip silicone spoons. They are the perfect size for small bites and protect babies sensitive gums. As babies grow into toddlers these utensils are great for helping them learn how to fed themselves.
Bibs – These bibs with a wide pocket are my favorite, especially as babies get older and figure out how to tear their bibs off. Plus as they learn how to feed themselves the extra food falls into the bib not the high chair.
Feeding Mat – learning how to eat solid foods can be messy, avoid big clean ups with this cute feeding mat.
Sippy Cup – These cups are spill proof and super easy to learn how to drink from with a soft silicone straw.
Mesh Feeder – My babies love this mesh feeder especially when their teeth started to come in. We love to put frozen breast milk cubes or frozen fruit in the mesh and let them eat it.
The Flipping Holder – This product is genius! This will prevent babies from squeezing the puree out of the baby food pouches when they are learning to feed themselves.
Nuby Sure Grip Mat – This mat suctions to the table and acts as a place mat and a plate. It has sections to divide the food and comes in a variety of colors.
Related Baby Feeding Content:
- HOW TO FIX A SHALLOW LATCH – THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES FIRST TIME MOMS MAKE.
- HOW TO RECOGNIZE YOUR BABY’S HUNGER CUES WHEN YOU ARE A NEW MOM.
I hope these tips show you just how easy it can be to make your own baby food. This is such a great way for parents to save extra money each month and doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds!
If you need any help or have any questions let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you!