Homemade Baby Food

Baby Food Grinder

With homemade baby food you save money and provide the freshest, healthiest foods when you introduce your baby to solid food. Making your own baby food is so fast and easy!

All you need is a simple grinder and many of the same fresh foods that you eat.

Readiness for Solid Food

Most professional medical associations advocate exclusive breastfeeding for a baby’s first 6 months or longer. Don’t feel pushed to start solid foods if you baby shows no interest or pulled to continue exclusive breastfeeding if your child shows signs of readiness for solid food.

Don’t listen to insistent relatives who say your baby needs “real food.” You and I both know that breastmilk is a baby’s real food.

Consider your own baby’s needs. Interest alone does not mean your baby’s digestive system is ready. Sometimes they grab just for the joy of using their new-found grip.

Neither of my children had solid food until their first birthdays. My daughter piled into a cake that her grandmother made for her. What a first food! She made a slow transition to solid food, though. I made a lot of cooked and pureed baby food for her, freezing the extra for later. My son was less interested in his first birthday cake, but he made a much quicker transition to solid food—and he weaned himself years earlier than his sister did. Since he ate less baby food, he didn’t have a lot of pureed foods. He moved very quickly to soft foods he could control himself. Pay attention to your child’s development and interest.

I tracked every new food I introduced to my children in a small notebook. When either of them had a rash or didn’t feel well, that gave me a better idea what might be the cause. Introduce no more than one new food every four days so you have a chance to see any reactions.

Start with vegetables then fruits before you add proteins to your child’s diet. I started with sweet potatoes with both, though I also fed them some kind of organic baby cereal that I could have just skipped altogether.

Fresh Baby Food Tips

  • Start with squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, peas, or other nutritious vegetables. That’s it, just one vegetable at a time. If you really want recipes that you can make for an older baby, try Wholesome Baby Food.
  • Use organic vegetables and fruits! Especially with babies, just don’t consider using the Dirty Dozen non-organic foods.
  • Steam the vegetables until soft and grind them up in a baby food grinder.
  • Thin with breastmilk in the beginning. Remember that your baby is used to the same sweet food. Anything else will be very different, so start slowly.
  • Don’t serve warmer than body temperature.
  • Don’t add sugar. You might find that your baby likes herbs and spices, but introduce these slowly as you do with new foods.
  • Once you have introduced enough foods, you can mix for variety. If you wait as long as I did to introduce solid foods, your child may be old enough to communicate a preference. Write it down in the notebook.

Freeze Extra Baby Food

If you make a cup or two of baby food, you can save enough for a couple of meals then freeze the rest in an ice cube tray.

An hour or two before a meal, you can thaw one cube of baby food—just enough for one meal. Most advice suggests you keep frozen baby food no longer than 2 months for proteins and 6 months for fruits or vegetables, but I didn’t find I needed to worry about that. We used our homemade baby food quickly.

When your baby is old enough to want more than just one cube of food at each meal, you can easily freeze baby food in larger containers like Kinderville Silicone Freezer Trays or Wean Cubes glass baby food jars, which are especially great because they can be frozen or heated so you don’t need to dirty more than one container.

I found introducing first foods and making homemade baby food an adventure to be enjoyed. Sharing this with my babies was fun and exciting. Keeping it homemade ensures the food is also fresh and inexpensive.

Make Your Own Garden-fresh Homemade Baby Food

I love midsummer. Strawberries are ripe and raspberries will be ripe soon. Farmer’s markets are buzzing. This is the time to think about turning some of your harvest into nutritious food for your baby.

I have a few tips if you are about to make your own baby food for the first time.

Homemade Baby Food Tip #1. Baby eats what the family eats.

Food mill for grinding baby foodTo keep things simple, I didn’t generally make separate meals for my baby. I would just take a bit of the vegetable or fruit I served for the rest of the family and cook it longer for the baby until it was soft enough to mash with a fork. This is what my older child called “mushy food.” This works well with carrots, asparagus, squash, potatoes, peas, and, of course, strawberries, raspberries, and other fruits that can be cooked or mashed raw.

For some tougher foods, you may want to use a baby food grinder.

Homemade Baby Food Tip #2. Ice cube trays.

My kids wouldn’t eat enough of the same thing all at once to eat it all fresh. To keep things interesting for my baby, I would freeze what I couldn’t use within a couple of meals. The trick is to use an ice cube tray to freeze the puree. After the puree is frozen, empty the cubes into a freezer container and label it with date and type of food. If you make quite small cubes, you have more flexibility how much you use, so you will waste less. On nights when the family was eating vegetables the baby couldn’t really eat, like salad, I would heat up a couple of different kinds of cubes.

For an even trickier trick with fruit, which I didn’t want to heat up, I used interesting shaped cubes that got my child’s attention. I have stars, fruits, and long sticks. I let them thaw a bit so they would break up easily as my baby sucked on them.

Homemade Baby Food Tip #3. Keep a food journal.

Keep a record of any new foods you introduce to your baby. This is especially important if other family members have food sensitivities. Start with a small amount of any new food, then write it down in the food journal. I kept a small notebook near my spot at the table, so I wouldn’t put off recording foods. Don’t introduce new foods too quickly – no more than one new food every 3-4 days to give yourself a chance to observe any reactions.

The mushy food stage doesn’t last long, and it’s easy to integrate baby’s eating with the rest of the family’s. Good luck turning your harvest into great baby food.