In this world of pre-packaged processed food there is an army of women (and men) who want better for their babies! Commercial baby food often contains fillers and a few ingredients we can’t even pronounce so who wants to start their sweet young infant off that way? I first began making cereal, strained fruits, and vegetables for my son 41 years ago.
Actually all it takes is a blender, boiling water in a pan, and some recipes. I started without recipes but knew pretty much what a baby will eat (and what they’ll turn their nose up at).
Don’t overwhelm them with flavoring or spices
First of all a new born baby has way more taste buds than we do! So they don’t need or even want salty or peppery spiced foods. The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and the delightful taste of fresh peas will have your baby salivating and wanting more of these healthy veggies. Never choose canned fruits or vegetables to use when making your baby’s food! They are loaded with salt and who knows what else? If you can’t find fresh ingredients try some frozen (read the labels) because they should contain only the ingredient on the label and most often have been picked and the frozen within hours, which can make them fresher than fresh! No matter which food you are introducing to your infant make sure it is thoroughly cooked and that means boiled enough to remove anything you don’t want in there, like bacteria.
Begin the newborn on home made rice cereal
Check with your Pediatrician, especially if your new baby has special needs, but most recommend beginning solid foods after 3-6 month and that means rice cereal for starters. Rice is very easily digested, contains iron which babies need, and works well as a test of how well your new one will tolerate something besides milk, plus it’s relatively allergy free. Rice cereal can start out as nearly all breast milk or formula then add in more rice.
Rice Cereal for Infants
¼ Cup Long grain white rice
¾ Cup sterile water
Cook the rice in water per instructions on the container
Add cooked rice to blender and mix until it turns to mush form, add 1-2 cups formula or breast milk and continue to blend until thoroughly combined. This stage will be well watered down with milk and can either be put into a bottle to drink as is or add more milk if it’s till too thick to be drawn through the nipple. You can also slightly enlarge larger hole in the nipple with a hot needle. This will make several cups so you can refrigerate some and freeze the remainder. Don’t forget to label and date any leftovers). Once baby has accepted the new flavor you can try to feed it by spoon but keep it really loose and runny to begin with.
Sweet Potatoes – soft and yummy!
1 small sweet potato (peeled and diced)
1 tsp cottage cheese
2 Cups sterile water
Add above ingredients to blender and mix thoroughly, making sure no chunks of potato remain. Place in small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, allowing it to bubble slightly for 15 minutes. Remove and cool for at least ½ hour. Depending on the size of sweet potato you may now have a cup or two. Taste it! If you think it may be too tangy you can add ½ a teaspoon of granulated sugar. The addition of a bit of cottage cheese helps give it flavor and I’ve even added a sprinkle of cinnamon too! Remember the baby has a finer “palate” than you do. My son absolutely loved sweet potatoes as an infant but hates them today! Go figure.
Peas and other green things
½ Cup Fresh Peas (or green beans or carrots)
1 Cup sterile water
Add a tiny amount of granulated sugar if you think the veggies taste too strong.
Boil the above ingredients for 15 minutes
Pour into small containers and refrigerate (don’t forget labels).
Nearly every green veggie is healthful and good for us. The mildest and easiest to introduce are peas, green beans, and carrots (I know they aren’t green!). Corn is a bit harder to digest so should be introduced after baby is at least 9 months. I like to save any baby food jars I find, sterilize them, and use for my home made foods.
Banana Pudding and All things fruity
1 small very ripe banana (peeled)
1-2 cups formula or breast milk
Place in blender and mix until thoroughly blended
Nearly all babies love the taste of fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, and pears. Bananas are one of those foods introduced first to babies. They are full of vitamins and nutrients plus contain potassium which is beneficial for muscles as well as to help in regulating the blood chemistry. Mother’s can simply add a bit of banana to that rice cereal for a bit of additional flavor.
Peaches/Pears/apples, or apricots
The above fruits need to be peeled and seeds or pits removed
Cook them in a small amount of water for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to thicken. Cool then add more water to make a pudding like consistency. You can combine several fruits if baby likes them that way. Maybe add a tiny amount of cinnamon for added flavor.
Go easy on your new baby’s digestive system
Babies love fruits but don’t be too generous or your baby may end up with diarrhea. Also some fruits tend to cause constipation. For infants and up to around one year you need to introduce any new food gradually so you don’t upset their little systems, which can be very intolerant of new “stuff”. Your pediatrician and other moms can be a good way to get valuable advice if this is your first child. Each of the above recipes and ingredients are far cheaper than commercially prepared baby foods, plus you know exactly what’s in there!
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