The choice to use store bought baby food versus. making your own (or a combination of the two) is a personal choice.  Either option will allow your child to get the nutrition they need, to grow and to thrive.

The best time to start with solid food is the same whether the food comes from the supermarket in a jar or as raw ingredients that you mash. When your baby is sitting up with little support, able to maintain good head control, shows an interest when you are eating and can close their mouth and turn their head when they have had enough or not interested, the baby is ready. This is usually when they are about 6 months old, but babies vary. Take your cues from your child and their doctor.

Pros of Homemade Baby Food:

  • Saves money
  • You control the quality
  • Convenience
  • Flexibility
  • More choice in what is in the food
  • Preservative free
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons of Homemade Baby Food:

  • Takes time to plan and make
  • Organic produce can be costly
  • Requires freezer and/or refrigerator space
  • Spoils quicker than store bought food
  • You must be careful about food quality.

 

You may be wondering how to start. Start with simple, bland foods with a pureed consistency.  Some doctors recommend that you start with vegetables instead of something sweeter like fruit. Easy to digest foods are squash, sweet potatoes, pears, avocados and bananas. Peel the fruit or vegetable if appropriate. Remove stems, pits and seeds. You may bake, steam, roast or microwave until tender. Baby food needs no added spice, butter, salt or pepper. You can thin the item with a little water, breast milk or infant formula to help puree it or mash it to the desired consistency. It is best to add one food at a time and wait 3-5 days before introducing something new. Do not give up if your baby doesn’t instantly like it.  Put it in the rotation of foods and try again later.

After introducing several foods to your child, you can start giving her combinations. Apples and sweet potatoes, plum and pear, peas and carrots – whatever you think they would like. When your baby is ready to try meats, be sure to remove the skin, fat, bone and connective tissue, and cook fully.

As you add in new foods, strive to feed a rainbow of colors. Eventually, your baby will be able to eat what you eat diced in tiny pieces. Your doctor is a great source for answers to any feeding questions you have. Happy Feeding!

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