Homemade baby foods can helpyou provide low-cost nutritiousfoods for your little one. Com-mercial baby foods are conve-nient and safe, but they oftencontain more water, starch, andsugar than homemade ones.Most babies do not need solidfoods until they are about 4 to6 months of age. Before thatage most babies have notlearned to swallow solid foods.The sucking reflex pushes thetongue forward in the mouthand pushes out solid foods.You can force food down the baby’s throat but the baby isnot really swallowing. Startingsolids too soon may contributeto gagging and choking. If youwait to introduce solid foods,you will not need to make themtoo liquid. Babies will be ableto handle food that is slightlytextured and has small lumps.Baby’s first foods need to besoft. Some pediatricians recom-mend iron-fortified infant ricecereal mixed with breast milkor formula as a first solid food because rice is less likely thanother grains to cause allergicreactions. Foods can be soft-ened or mashed in a blender,food processor, food mill, orgrinder. Sometimes just mash-ing with a fork is sufficient. Ifyou are using foods fixed for afamily meal, take out baby’sportion before adding seasoningsand spices. Begin with singlefoods in case allergies arepresent. Later try combinations2. Prepare fresh fruits andvegetables by scrubbing, peeling,and removing pits or seeds.Remove all bones, skin, gristle,and fat from meats. Do not useleftovers to make baby food.3. Cook food in a smallamount of water until tender.Use the cooking water if therecipe calls for liquid. Foodalso may be steamed or baked.4. Don't add salt or seasonings.5. Don’t add sugar, honey, orany other form of sweetener.Babies do not need the sweetflavor. They like fruits andother foods just the way theyare. Honey and corn syrup arenot safe for infants under theage of 12 months because theymay carry botulism spores.The digestive system of a babycannot destroy these spores.6. Purée or mash cooked food.7. Package and label for refrig-erator or freezer storage.
How to store baby food
Making several servings is agood use of time, but it alsorequires careful storage. Oneto three extra servings may bestored in the refrigerator. Usecooked vegetables or fruitwithin three days. Raw fruitand meats should be used thenext day.To store more than three servings,freeze the prepared foods inice cube trays. After the food isfrozen, put the cubes in freezer
Making Baby Food
Pm 793 | Reprinted | June 1995
of fruits, vegetables, or vegetablesand meats.
When to introduce solid foods
Cereals4 to 6 monthsVegetables7 monthsFruits8 monthsMeats10 monthsEgg yolks10 monthsCheese10 to 12 monthsand Yogurt
Remember food safety
• Special care should be takenwhen preparing foods for babies because they are morevulnerable to germs than areolder children or adults.• Always wash your handsand equipment thoroughly before making baby food.• Raw food contains bacteria.Never let cooked food comeinto contact with raw food.Thoroughly wash cutting boards and utensils that have been used with raw foods toavoid the cross-contaminationthat is responsible for manyfoodborne illnesses (foodpoisoning).• Do not let baby food sit atroom temperature for morethan two hours. Harmful bacteria in the food grow verywell if given a chance. Refrig-erate or freeze baby food assoon as possible.
How to make baby food
1. Wash and rinse your handsand equipment thoroughly.