We are entering an exciting stage of Baby G’s life – introducing cereals and baby food! After discussing the benefits of traditional vs baby-led weaning with his pediatrician, we decided that Baby G would benefit most from traditional weaning. Knowing that we would be introducing purees into my son’s diet, I began looking into the easiest ways to prepare his stage 1 purees and beyond.
Please remember to consult your infant’s physician before introducing solid food into their diet. You should also consider the AAP recommendations to start weaning as well:
General Guidelines for Food Readiness:
- Baby should be sitting independently or with minimal support.
- Your child should be interested in food. This may mean he watches his caregivers and looks interested in their food.
- Baby has lost his tongue thrust reflex.
If you need help deciding on a high chair, my blog post on why I chose the Ikea Antilop High Chair is perfect for you!
Why Make Homemade Baby Food?
Taste & Quality Control
The only way to know what is truly in your baby’s food is to prepare it yourself. You choose the fresh (or frozen!) produce and protein sources. You also know that it is prepared with love and is free from any preservatives. In fact, the method I show you can last you for up to four months – no preservatives involved!
Because you are preparing your child’s stage 1 purees fresh, you know that it will taste even better than the baby food that’s been on grocery shelves for a while.
You control the flavor
Once babe gets accustomed to different flavors and textures, you can mix & match them. You can also add a bit of spices and seasonings as you see fit. Being able to add seasoning into your child’s diet and allow them to explore different tastes and (hopefully) be less of a picky eater! (I cannot wait to experiment with fun flavor combinations!)
Ability to play with the Texture
It is much easier to control the texture of your baby food when you make it yourself. If your child is new to eating, you may wish to thin out his stage 1 puree with a little bit of water or breast milk. You can do this without worrying too much about waste.
Making your own homemade stage 1 purees will save you a lot of money! As of writing this post, a jar of baby food could be $1 and you have to be aware of when you broke the seal before you have to throw it out! My husband bought a 2 lb bag of apples for $4. With 1/2 of that, I was able to make 9 1-oz portions for my child and I won’t have to worry about as much food waste.
I am very excited to make food for my child. Of course, no matter how a parent chooses to nourish their child doesn’t matter, as long as they take care of their baby. But I am not a cook (I am notorious for burning eggs) and I’m proud that I am excited to make my child’s food from scratch!
What You Need to Make Homemade Stage 1 Purees
There are two ways you could go about making your baby’s pureed foods. You could purchase a baby food maker, or you can use appliances that you may already own.
The two important components to making your baby’s organic stage 1 purees are: steaming and pureeing.
We were gifted a baby food maker, so I will go into those, first. This post features affiliate links from Amazon, meaning I get a portion of your purchase proceeds.
Baby Food Maker
Baby food Makers are two in one machines. They have the ability to steam your baby’s fruits and vegetables, and then puree them to a texture that your child can safely swallow.
We were gifted the Qooc 4-in-1 Baby Food Maker Pro at our baby shower. I have found it very easy to use. All you do is follow the pictures on the timer for the appropriate steam time and then puree it – all in the same machine.
The Baby Brezza Small Baby Food Maker Setis another all-in-one steamer & puree system for small-batch baby food. Baby Brezza is also a more common household name when it comes to baby products.
Finally, I will mention the BEABA Baby Cook Neo, which touts a glass bowl and stainless steel steamer.
Useful Appliances to Prepare Stage 1 Purees for Your Baby
It is not necessary to have a specific baby food maker. Many people use the appliances that they already have in their house!
Just remember that you want something to steam the food – a pot or an Instant Pot – and something to puree your baby’s food.
A Steamer is a Must
Many foods must be steamed before being pureed for your baby’s stage 1 purees. This is because steaming is an excellent way to keep all of the nutrients in the fruits and veggies you prepare while making them soft enough to finely puree.
You may wish to steam your child’s fruits and veggies using a basic pot with steamer basker. This is most certainly the most economical way, as many of us already have steamers on hand!
Many parents love using their Instant Pot for steaming baby food. The Instant Pot’s large size allows for you to steam a bulk amount of food fast.! All you need is a steamer basket insert.
A Food Processor
To be honest, I have tried both a blender and a food processor to puree my baby’s food. Don’t even bother trying a blender – even with the foods diced and steamed, the cubes tend to get stuck. There will be a lot of chunks mixed in a soup of food. So, use a food processor.
My husband and I have this Hamilton Beach 10-cup Food Processor and it’s been great. My husband has even finely processed mixtures of nuts for keto porridges.
Silicone Trays to Mold and Store Your Baby’s Food
Did you know that you can freeze your baby’s Stage 1 purees for up to 4-6 months in the freezer if done properly? That’s why it is highly recommended to get silicone molds for your baby’s foods. Once pureed, you can pour your stage 1 baby food into the molds and let them freeze.
If you use the WeeSprout trays, you can keep your baby’s food in the tray until you are ready for them to try it. However, I pop the cubes out of the molds and store them in labeled ziplock bags so I can use the trays and build my baby’s food stash!
Pro tip: Label the bag with the food and the date prepared!
Glass Jars to Prepare the Day’s Meals
During my nightly cleanup, I prepare my baby’s food in these Weesprout glass baby food jars. What I do, is I grab a cube or two of our desired foods and allow them to thaw out in the fridge.
Our Nightly Food Preparation
I love using the freezer cube method for several reasons. Firstly, it is recommended to introduce a child to a single food and allow them about three days to react to it. If they handle the food well, it can be added to the repertoire of meals. Once you have multiple foods, you can begin mixing them!
For example, my son loves chicken and sweet potato! I also plan on pureeing shrimp and making that a mango and shrimp combo while we add that allergen into his diet.
Introduce new flavors
Starting with a single ingredient, you can do so much for your baby’s palate by mixing ingredients. Besides mixing two cubes for flavor combinations, you can also introduce seasonings, such as cinammon or curry. This helps develop your child’s palate.
I personally purchased The Big Book of Organic Baby Food for this reason. Not only does this cookbook by Stephanie Middleberg tell me how to cook and prepare foods for my baby, but it also recommends flavor pairings!
For example, if I look under Avocado, she recommends pairing it with lime or lemon zest, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground nutmeg, cumin, or coriander!
Besides that, The Big Book of Organic Baby Food grows with your family – she has plenty of recipes for toddlers (and therefore, mom) too!
Making Your Baby’s Food Is Easier Than You Think!
My husband told me just yesterday that his coworkers were impressed that we were making Baby G’s foods ourselves. I personally love being able to make his foods. I know that I am providing my baby with the best start that we can. The longest part is waiting for the foods to steam!
I don’t cook at all. In fact, my husband jokes that I burn eggs. However, I can prepare my baby’s food, which means that you can too!