Monday, July 25, 2005

Have You Considered Making Baby's Food?

There are numerous reasons why parents decide to make their own baby food when the newest member of the family is ready for solids. There are two reasons for choosing this route that stand out above others, however.

One of the major reasons this is chosen is for the sake of the family budget (it is much more economical to puree the vegetable or fruit the family is already having for dinner, for instance, than to stock up on countless jars of the same vegetable in baby food jars.

The other big reason many people make this decision is to have control over the ingredients that are fed to the baby. If the food is made right there in the family kitchen, there will not be concerns about too much salt, sugar, or preservatives being added to it.

By all means, wait until the baby's doctor says that it is time to put him or her on solid foods before beginning to feed anything besides breast milk or formula. Many times the plan will be to start with a little baby cereal and then fruits and vegetables. The order in which those three things are started varies from parent to parent and doctor to doctor.

Chances are that sometime around when the baby is in the 4 month to 6 month age range milestone, you will be able to start with the cereal, fruits, and vegetables. This, too, is a thing to make a decision about with the baby's doctor because some choose to wait even longer.

Store the fruits and vegetables you puree in cubes inside of freezer bags. Hard fruits and vegetables will have to be cooked before blending, mashing, pureeing, or however you are preparing the food. (Steaming or softening in the microwave will save more nutrients than cooking.) Ice cube trays work great for making the cubes of food. Do not reheat uneaten food that you have thawed.

When the baby gets a bit older, you will be introducing meats that will need to be ground or pureed until it's nearly smooth until the baby gets used to it in a couple of months. Grind the meat with a little liquid like apple juice or formula.

Sometime after the age of nine months, you will be introducing the meat and also mixed foods. This is when you will be able to offer baby some of the same foods that the rest of the family is having for dinner. Don't season it for the family until baby's portion is removed, though. Do not add spices or sugar to your baby food.

One word of advice whether you are using homemade or store bought baby foods is to wait a few days between introducing new foods. Your doctor will probably offer that same advice because it allows you to pick up on any food allergies right from the beginning.

When preparing homemade baby food, remember that certain things, egg whites, citrus fruits, beets, spinach, corn, and honey to name a few, should not to be given to a baby under 12 months of age according to many experts. Research those food limitations before beginning to prepare the meals for baby.