Is your baby between four and six months old? If so, then this is the moment you’ve been waiting for: starting solid foods! Starting solids can be super easy, super healthy and really fun to make. Even if you’ve never cooked in your life, believe me: you’ll be able to do this. Follow these six easy steps and you’ll have homemade baby food like a boss in no time.
These tips are suitable for babies four to six months old and beyond, as they are simple purees and get more advanced as your baby gets older. Break out the camera and start snapping pics and shooting video because this your baby’s first solid foods are going to be epic!
1. Start with These First Foods
Baby’s first solids don’t have to be rice cereal like they did in when we were kids—sorry mom! Rice cereal has is actually stripped of most of rice’s nutritional value, with the added fun of making your baby constipated.
Our pediatrician told me that I could start with simple fruits and vegetables, offering my baby a variety of fruits and veggies. That said, don’t have your baby try more than one new food for about three to four days, in case your baby has allergies. Fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peas, zucchini, summer squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, avocados, bananas or peaches are great to start with as they’re very mild in taste.
2. Prep Your Produce
Once you pick what solid you want to start with, now it’s time to prepare. Wash all fruits and vegetables. Make sure to take off all skins with a peeler if they have any skin on them (e.g., carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, peaches etc.). Next, rough chop into small pieces.
3. Time to Cook
If you chose a hard fruit or vegetable such as carrots, peas, summer squash, sweet potato, avocado, etc., then you’ll have to steam them. Using a double broiler is easiest; you don’t need a fancy steamer. By steaming the fruits and vegetables, most of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals will be kept in tact. When you boil food directly in water, the nutrients are lost. Once food is tender—a fork sticks in and pulls out easily—it’s done.
4. Perfect Purées
Using a blender or food processor, put in your fruit or vegetable and add a little bit of water. The water will help give the food a more liquid consistency, as that is what you want with first foods. Start with just a little bit of water, puree, then add more water if needed—but you don’t want it too watery. As your baby grows, you can make your baby food’s consistency a little thicker.
5. Finally, It’s Mealtime!
Really, it’s that easy! If you give your baby the food right after you make it, make sure it isn’t too hot from cooking. I always test it first to make sure it tastes yummy and it is just the right temperature.
Put your baby in a high chair, grab a spoon, a bib and lots of paper towels because it’s going to be messy. The first few times your baby might not get much because they are getting used to eating—remember, they’ve never done this before! Your baby will probably push it out with their tongue or make funny faces to imply they don’t like it. It’ll take take several times before your baby actually gets more in their mouth than all over themselves (but that makes for great pictures).
The key is to be consistent and have fun with it. Start once a day for a few weeks, then try twice a day. By nine months your baby will be eating three times a day. If your baby doesn’t want anymore, they’ll let you know. Look for cues such as keeping lips closed or pushing their spoon away. Believe me, if they’re still hungry, they’ll let you know!
6. Store Your Baby Food
Chances are you made more than just one serving. I like to make batches of baby food all at once and store for later. After you puree, you can either store your leftovers in the fridge or freezer. You can refrigerate pureed baby food for up to 48 hours, so freezing is much more efficient.
You can get ice cube trays or baby food trays—like these OXO Tot Baby Block containers or these BEABA multiportion containers—and pour the puree into the trays. Cover each tray and put them in your freezer. Once the baby food has frozen, you can pop it all out of the tray and put them in freezer bags labeled with the date and name of the food. You can store frozen baby food for up to 3 months, but it is typically best used within one month.