Between the ages of four and six months, your baby can finally move onto more solid foods—albeit with soft, blended ingredients. At the beginning, children require only one-ingredient foods like cereal and single-fruit or vegetable purées. Gradually, as they develop, they can move onto more complex flavour blends and chunkier textures.
Making baby food from scratch isn’t nearly half as time-consuming as you may think. In fact, the only kitchen utensils required are a saucepan and a blender. Plus, making large batches and storing them at home can be very economical.
An added bonus of steering away from commercial products is that you can directly track your baby’s nutrition. Even the best brands have been known to include unwanted additives in their products; by making your own food you can avoid these potential hazards entirely.
Encourage your child to love vegetables by starting them off with savoury flavours. Babies are naturally inclined to sweeter tastes, so we suggest initially introducing them to vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas and spinach.
Once they get a taste for these you can add sweeter vegetables to their repertoire such as carrots, corn, peppers and sweet potatoes. Finally, add fruit to their diet with apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, pears, peaches and plums.
This approach is an effective way to evade fussy eating and shape healthy food habits in later life. Variety is key when drawing up your baby’s menu—try to be imaginative and offer them a range of ingredients. Discovering new tastes and textures will all add to their enjoyment of mealtimes.
Blend & save
To make your own baby food, simply boil or steam the ingredients of your choice. Once soft and tender, they can be blended in a food processor until they reach a smooth consistency. For older children with developing teeth, quickly pulse the mixture to create a thicker consistency. Stop when you reach your desired texture. Softer fruits such as banana and avocado can bypass the steaming stage and be put straight into the blender.
When making large batches, store in sterilised containers in the fridge. Alternatively, spoon your mixture into ice cube trays and place in the freezer for future use. Retrieve your frozen portions as and when they are needed.
Frozen baby food can simply be left out to defrost or lightly heated on the hob. The experts at Braun say that parents ‘should use or dispose of frozen baby food within two months of freezing it. Always reheat foods until they are piping hot. Allow to cool and test the temperature yourself before serving it to your baby.’
See also: Your Baby’s First Six Months