Homemade Baby Food – Pros, Cons and Recipes

Homemade Baby Food

There is no rush to start feeding your baby solid foods, but when it is time, you will have to consider several options. While there are nutritious and safe commercial foods available, homemade baby food is something that is feasible indeed. Understand the various pros and cons of homemade baby food and find out some nutritious and delicious recipes to feed your little one.



When to Introduce Solids to Infants?

Doctors usually recommend waiting until your child is six months old before you give him solid foods, but this can be earlier in some cases. According to some studies, babies who began eating solid foods at around four months of age had a lowered risk of developing asthma and allergies. Further, babies who are underdeveloped or premature could benefit from starting a solid food regimen early, but it is essential to consult with your paediatrician before doing so.



Benefits of Homemade Baby Food

There are several benefits to giving your baby homemade food. They include:

1. Homemade food is less processed

Homemade food mainly consists of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and don’t go through refinement processes as the store-bought food does.




2. Homemade food has a wider variety

Packaged foods come in limited textures and flavours, and there usually isn’t much when it comes to options. Homemade food, on the other hand, can taste different each time.

3. Home cooked food is nutritious

This is expected from homemade food, as you can pick and choose the right items to give your child depending on their nutritive value. Further, packaged foods are pasteurised and preserved to kill any microbes, but these processes lower the nutrient content of the food.





4. Reduces the child’s fussiness

Babies tend to be quite fussy about eating. Introducing your baby to a variety of food flavours, textures and aromas will lower his likelihood of developing picky eating habits over time.

5. Inexpensive and pocket-friendly

Instead of splurging on store-bought food or fancy organic food, you can simply buy ingredients at your local farmer’s market and make it yourself. You can easily evade unnecessary manufacturing, processing and packaging expenses this way.




Mother preparing baby food

Drawbacks of Making Baby Food at Home

There are a few disadvantages to making homemade baby food. Some of them are:

1. Less time

It is much simpler to buy premade baby food and feed it to your baby than taking the time to buy individual ingredients and cook them.





2. Storing

It is easy to store commercially bought food as they contain preservatives to keep food fresh.

3. Accessibility

Most commercial baby foods come in containers which are ready to serve, making it quite convenient.




How to Store Homemade Baby Food

As homemade baby food can spoil easily, it can be quite complicated to store. It is important to know that glass is a dangerous choice for freezing, as it can crack and burst when exposed to cold temperatures. Here are three easy methods for storage.

1. Refrigeration

This is the easiest and most convenient way to store homemade food. However, it is important you do not store any baby food for longer than two days to prevent the chances of bacterial or fungal contamination.





2. Ice Cube Method

Ice Cube Method

This method has the least amount of waste and the longest storage time. Once you prepare the baby food, keep any remaining amounts in ice cube trays and place them in the freezer. Keep the ice cubes in a freezer bag. When it is feeding time, you need only take a cube or two, heat until lukewarm and give it to your baby.

3. Wax Paper Method

Take the unused baby food purees and transfer them to wax paper sheets in clumps. Fold the sheet up and place it in the freezer. Once the clumps are frozen solid, transfer them to freezer bags for storage.




Things to Keep in Mind When You Start Giving Solid Food to Your Baby

Some important considerations before you start your child on a solid food diet are:

  • Keep an eye on allergic reactions. Foods like peanuts, dairy, and wheat contain potentially allergenic compounds. When you start your baby on a new food item, feed them the same meal for a few days and make a note of any changes.
  • Try sticking to organic food, as they are less likely to be covered in pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Don’t feed your child foods that tend to cause gas, as young babies find it quite uncomfortable. This means no legumes, dairy products, wheat and so on, for at least the first eight months.

Easy to Prepare Homemade Food Recipes for Babies

If you want to know how to make baby food at home, also keep in mind that the first few months of solid food should be in puree form as babies are unable to chew. The best options include green vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and so on.




For 4 – 6 Months Old Babies

The first attempts at feeding your baby solid food should be in a thin, runny puree form. This is because young babies find it difficult to swallow large chunks of food as they are only used to liquid milk until this point.

1. Pea Mash

Peas are a simple but nutritious treat, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.




Ingredients

  • One cup shelled peas
  • Half cup water

How to Make


Boil the peas until they cook thoroughly. Strain the water, then mix the peas with half a cup of fresh water and blend until you get a consistent paste.

2. Banana Puree

Bananas are gentle on the baby’s digestive system and have a host of nutrients such as potassium and fibre.

Ingredients

  • Half cup ripe yellow bananas, peeled and sliced
  • One cup of water

How to Make


Combine both ingredients in a mixer until you get a runny mixture.

Banana Puree

3. Whole Grain Puree

Introducing whole grains at this age is beneficial due to their vitamin A and iron content.

Ingredients

  • Half cup cooked brown rice/ragi/oats
  • Half cup water

How to Make


Mix both the ingredients in a blender until you get a watery gruel.

4. Avocado Mash

Avocados are delicious and rich in healthy fats required for growth and development.

Ingredients

  • Half cup avocado, cored, peeled, and diced
  • One cup of water

How to Make


Combine the above in a mixer and blend until you obtain a smooth custard-like texture.

Avocado Mash

5. Mashed Sweet Potato

Unlike potatoes, sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin A and several minerals in addition to carbohydrates.

Ingredients

  • Half cup sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Boil the sweet potatoes until they cook well. Mix them with water in a blender until you get a consistent puree. Water can be substituted by breast milk in this recipe.

For 7- 9 Months Old Babies

At this age, you can start making meals with two ingredients, as your baby will be better at digesting more foods and open to newer flavour combinations. You can start giving your baby thicker purees as well. Homemade baby food recipes for 6-9 months old babies include:

1. Sago Pumpkin Mash

Both these ingredients are rich in a host of vital nutrients, from vitamins and minerals to proteins and healthy fats.

Ingredients

  • One cup pumpkin, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup sago
  • One cup of water

How to Make

Cook the pumpkin and sago separately. Combine them along with water in a mixer and blend until you get a puree.

2. Banana Avocado Puree

This is an excellent homemade baby food recipe for 8-month-old babies. Bananas and avocados are creamy, easy to digest and full of healthy nutrients.

Ingredients

  • Half cup bananas, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup avocados, cored, peeled and sliced
  • One tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Blend the ingredients to form a smooth paste. Apple cider vinegar can be added to prevent the paste from going brown.

Banana Avocado Puree

3. Papaya Mash

This is a basic homemade food recipe for 7-month-old babies. Papayas are rich in carotenoids and other antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, folates and pantothenic acid.

Ingredients

  • One cup papayas, peeled, deseeded and sliced
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Mix the ingredients in a blender until you get a smooth paste.

4. Pear and Pumpkin Puree

Pears are rich in vitamin K and vitamin C and healthy fruit sugars, while pumpkins contain essential minerals like copper and manganese.

Ingredients

  • Half cup pears, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and sliced
  • One cup of water

How to Make

Blend the ingredients to get a thick puree.

Pear and Pumpkin Puree

5. Berry and Beetroot Puree

Both berries and beetroots contain powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which are immunity boosting.

Ingredients

  • One cup beet, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup seasonal berries
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Cook the beets until soft. Blend all the ingredients for a delicious puree. You can replace water with breast milk for a thicker puree.

For 10 -12 Months Old Babies

At this age, you can start giving your baby more complex meals to prepare them for a wholly solid food diet.

1. Ragi Ratatouille

This is a delicious blended recipe, which will give your child a whole host of nutrients as well as an introduction to multi-flavoured food.

Ingredients

  • One cup sliced vegetables like onions, brinjals, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and broccoli
  • One tbsp olive oil
  • One tsp ginger garlic paste
  • Four tbsp ragi
  • Half cup soup broth
  • Half tsp dried herbs (optional)
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until golden. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about twenty minutes until the vegetables become tender. Once it cools, mix in the dried herbs. Finally, blend it until you get the consistency you want. This is a great Indian recipe for homemade baby food.

2. Fish, Spinach and Carrot Mash

Fish is rich in healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach contains iron while carrots have vitamin A and vitamin C.

Ingredients

  • Half cup fish fillet
  • Half cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • Half cup spinach leaves
  • Half cup water

How to Make

In a saucepan, boil water and place the carrot, spinach and fish to steam for about twenty minutes. Move the ingredients to a mixer and blend until you get the desired texture.

Fish, Spinach & Carrot Mash

3. Banana Brown Rice Puree

Combining bananas and brown rice is a great option to give your child a whole lot of nutrients from phosphorus, vitamin C, fibre and complex carbs.

Ingredients

  • Half cup bananas, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup brown rice, cooked
  • One tbsp greek yoghurt
  • Half cup water
  • Cinnamon to taste

How to Make

Combine the ingredients in a mixer and blend well to get a delicious puree.

4. Creamy Chicken Puree

Chicken is rich in essential proteins, while the cheese and yoghurt in this recipe contain Vitamin A and riboflavin.

Ingredients

  • One cup chicken breast, diced
  • Half cup vegetable broth
  • One tbsp olive oil
  • One tsp cheese
  • Two tbsp greek yoghurt
  • One tsp dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano
  • One cup of water

How to Make

Cook the chicken in olive oil for around five to ten minutes until it becomes a rich golden brown colour. Ensure the chicken is cooked adequately as undercooked chicken can cause problems. Cool for a few minutes, then add the chicken along with the remaining ingredients into a blender until you obtain the desired texture.

Creamy Chicken Puree

5. Banana Apricot Mash

The apricots in this recipe are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, copper, and various antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • One cup bananas, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup apricots, cored, peeled and sliced
  • Half cup water

How to Make

Mix in a blender until you get the desired texture. You can spice up this dish with a little bit of cinnamon and honey for flavour.

Nutrition is the key to proper growth and development in children. Giving your kids homemade baby food is a step closer to keeping them healthy.

Also Read: Healthy Foods for Babies