- Choose your machine: There are variety of options out there such as popular baby food makers that will steam and then puree your baby food and other more basic options such as a baby food grinder or food mill that will chop or puree. Popular baby food makers include the Beaba ($115-$150), Magic Bullet ($60), Baby Breeza ($145), Cruisinart ($100), Lil’ Jumbl ($130), Nuk ($30), Sage Spoonfuls ($35), Hamilton Beach ($70), and Bella ($40) brands. There is a wide price range for these machines based on their abilities and reputation. If you are looking for a less costly, more basic way of pureeing your baby’s first foods, look to the food grinders, food mills, or use your household food processor or blender. Some popular brands include Kidco ($15-60), Oxo ($25), Boon ($115), Cruisinart ($60), Munchkin ($10), Fit and Fresh ($13). You will also want baby food size storage containers so that food can be prepared in bulk and frozen into single servings for later use. Ice cube trays can also be used (see below).
- Choose your produce: Choose organic or locally grown fresh produce when available. Frozen produce is also a great option if fresh is unavailable. Start with fruits, vegetables, and grains first. Common first fruits and vegetables include avocado, apple, pear, banana, peach, apricot, mango, berries, sweet potato, peas, winter squash (pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, banana squash), summer squash, carrots, and green beans. When introducing grains, choose whole grain infant cereals such as brown rice cereal, oatmeal, and barely. Other grains such as amaranth, millet, and quinoa can also be pureed to add some variety to your little one’s diet.
- Get to work: Use ripe produce as soon as possible to optimize the nutrition content of fresh fruits and vegetables. Prep your produce by thoroughly washing and remove peels or seeds if needed. Steam, bake, or boil until it is soft and easily blended. Baby food makers with the capability of steaming come in handy here! First foods should be pureed without any chunks to avoid choking. Add water, breast milk, or formula if needed to create the optimal consistency. Freeze in baby food containers or ice cube trays (after frozen transfer to freezer bags). Be sure to label with the date prepared. Food can be stored in the freezer for 6 months or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Time to Eat: New foods are generally introduced one at a time, every 2-3 days in order to identify food allergies and intolerances (signs include vomiting, rash, and diarrhea). Once several foods have been introduced, get creative by mixing fruits and vegetables to add variety. Do not add salt, sugar, or honey to baby foods.
When you make your own baby food, you know you are serving your baby fresh, wholesome first foods!