It really isn’t difficult to make your own baby food, and there are some distinct advantages:
- Quality control: You pick, wash, cut, cook, and puree the produce yourself
- Customization: you can begin with foods well-thinned with breastmilk, and then make things chunkier and thicker as your baby gets accustomed to solids
- Variety: you aren’t going to find kale, millet, papaya, or parsnips in the baby food aisle. You get to feed your baby a diversity of produce and grains, and you can create delicious mixtures (like this lovely pea edamame apple puree)
I really believe making your own baby food is an important first step to raising a kid who tries and enjoys new foods, fruits, and vegetables.
Here’s a basic overview:
For vegetables: cook until very soft. Mash or puree (you can use a food processor, blender, food mill, potato masher, or even a garlic press). Mix with breast milk until the right thickness for baby.
For fruits: many fruits do not need cooking, but do need peeling. Bananas, mangoes, papaya, peaches, kiwi, pears, apricots and plums are wonderful.
For grains: you can even make your own baby cereal. For most grains (like brown rice, oatmeal, millet, and quinoa), grind 1/4 cup of dry grain in your blender until powdery (typically about two minutes), then bring 1 cup of water to boil in a saucepan. Whisk in pulverized grain, lower heat, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Or, cook the grain and then blend it up.
Anything your baby doesn’t eat in a day or two, freeze in ice cube trays, and then store in freezer bags for perfectly proportioned meals anytime. Or throw cubes in a blender yourself for a smoothie.
Good sources for specific instructions on particular fruits, vegetables, and grains:
Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron
Wholesome Baby Food web site