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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child from the first moment you hold him in your arms. One of the many exciting milestones your baby will pass during the first year of life is the introduction of solid foods into the diet. Long before this milestone approaches, you’ll probably find yourself weighing the pros and cons of commercially made baby food versus homemade baby food. Parents that choose to make their own baby food often do so because they want to know exactly what’s in the food they’re feeding their baby while avoiding chemicals, preservatives and additives. Making your own baby food isn’t that hard, and it can be very rewarding.

Foods to start with

Fruits and vegetables should be introduced to a child’s diet around 6 months of age. Avoid chemicals and other toxins by using fresh, organic produce that’s not been exposed to pesticides. Apples, bananas, blueberries, peaches, carrots, avocados and sweet potatoes are good choices to begin with. Have filtered water on-hand, as well, because when a baby food recipe calls for water, you want to make sure it’s clean and pure.

Fast food

There are a variety of ways to make your little one’s baby food, ranging from methods that require special equipment and those that use kitchen supplies you already have. If you want to keep it simple, or you’re in a hurry, steam or boil the produce in a pot until very soft. Once the food is cool, puree it in a blender with a little water or mash it with a fork. You can also use a food processor or hand-cranked baby food grinder.

Make sure the food you make is thoroughly pureed and contains no chunks. It takes babies quite some time to get used to the texture of baby food and, it also takes time for them to learn to chew. Likewise, you should only introduce one new food every three to four days so it’s easy to tell if something you’ve just introduced is causing an allergic reaction.

The complete process

  • Wash the produce, even if it’s organic.
  • Blanch the produce in boiling water for a few minutes, and then place it in cold water to remove the skin.
  • Steam or boil until very soft.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Add water to get desired consistency and puree.

You’ll quickly find out the tastes and textures your baby likes and dislikes, and you can use this knowledge to make delicious, healthy baby food you know your little one will enjoy. As you discover foods your baby likes, you can make larger batches and freeze individual servings so it’s easy to bring your homemade food to your child’s daycare, or to grandma’s house. If raising a child who has healthy eating habits is important to you, there’s no better way to begin than by making your own delicious, nutritionally rich baby food. As an added benefit, you’ll find that making baby food at home saves you quite a bit of money at the grocery store.

Image courtesy of stevendepolo

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who are thinking of making their own baby food.