— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.
If your baby is about to celebrate their half-birthday, it’s time to think aboutintroducing solid foods.
While many continue tobreastfeedor formula feed for the first year or two, when an infant has reached six months theiron storesthey developed in the womb start to deplete. It's a perfect time to start supplementing with iron-rich foods.
Six months is also a time when their GI system has matured, they are receptive tonew tastes and textures, and they're probably eyeing thefood you’re eating.
This week theFDA releaseda draft proposal that would reduce the legal limits of allowed lead in processed foods for babies and children under the age of 2. While these trace leads are likely nothing to worry about, if learning this has made you consider making your own homemade baby food, we want you to know that it's a lot easier to pull off than you think.
Make smart choices without hours of googling. Subscribe to The Checklist newsletter for expert product advice and recommendations.
Should I make my own homemade baby food?
I'm an atypical proselytizer of baby food making: I loved my epidural and Enfamil was my best friend during my son's first year. The truth is, I found making my own baby food to be a whole lot easier than figuring out the baby food aisle. Plus, it was a whole lot cheaper.
Homemade organic baby foodis estimated to be45% less expensivethan store-bought. Non-organic homemade baby food will save you even more.
It really doesn’t take any special equipment, know-how, or skills and it takes less culinary prowess than cooking for the adults in your life. Before you embark, here are a few things that are helpful to know.
How can I make homemade baby food?
You can more or less turn anything into a baby food purée forstage 1eaters, and once they are nibbling at small bites it gets even easier. There are some rules to follow, however.
Keep things super clean
Babies have a weaker immune system than older children and adults. Be sure to up your cleaning game before prepping baby food. Only prepare foods on a very clean surface and with freshly cleaned equipment. Now is the time to sing the Happy Birthday song two full times when you wash your hands.
Be wise about diluting
Since babies can’t drink cow’s milk until they are 1 year old, don’t use it in your homemade baby food. Breast milk, formula, or plainfiltered waterare better choices to thin out purées. Keep in mind that too much liquid makes for runny food, so add a little bit at a time.
You can also add a few teaspoons of olive oil for a little bit of flavor and to help with constipation. If you’re tempted to use coconut oil it’s important to know that it should be added with caution as it could potentially reveal asulfate allergy.
Keep allergies in mind
Before introducing your child to any foods with typical allergens, including dairy products, eggs, and nuts, consult with your child’s pediatrician.
Hold the honey
Honey and maple syrup are off-limits for babies under 12 months of age. Not only can these ingredients cause issues with glucose levels, but there can also be small traces of botulism in each of these ingredients. Don’t give them to your baby until they are 1 year old, but it's recommended you wait until age 2 before givingsweetenersof any kind.
While you’re at it, also hold the salt and be sure to only use mild spices, like basil, oregano, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cumin, fennel, and dill in your baby’s food.
When can I give my baby solids?
TheCenters for Disease Controland theAmerican Academy of Pediatricssay that when children are 6 months of age they can be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula. “Solids” refers to any food that isn’t breast milk or baby formula. The purées you buy or will make at home are considered first solids for babies.
Is my baby ready for solids?
If your baby has good head and neck control, is able to sit up, and is showing an interest in food by leaning forward and/or opening their mouth when food is near, they are likely ready to start eating solids. If you're not sure if they are truly ready, you should double-check with your pediatrician.
What foods should I Introduce first?
While mashed bananas and avocados are typical first foods, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that most children do not need to be introduced to foods in acertain order, though there are some foods that are easier for little bellies to manage than others.
We highly recommend the first foods database bySolid Starts. It breaks down every food, the earliest age you can introduce it to babies, common allergens, and methods for safe preparation.
Visit the Solid Starts database
What do I need to make homemade baby food?
You really don’t need a lot and you probably already have what you need in your kitchen.
If you’d like to investigate ababy food maker, my family felt like they made things more manageable, they made cleanup easier, and they made baby food-making a bit more fun.
We had the babyNutribullet Babyand loved it. It was easy to use, easy to clean, and it allowed me to quickly blend up small, unseasoned parts of meals I was making for myself. I never had to worry about storage or spoilage and it took up very little space on my counter.
Parenting editor, Anna Lane, had theBeaba Babycookand says she loved how it steamed and puréed all in one.
If you don’t want to go the baby food maker route, you can definitely usehousehold itemsyou probably already have, including a blender that can blend through tough, fibrous foods, like broccoli, carrots, or beets.
Here is a list of what you’ll need:
- A hand-heldimmersion blender
- AVitamix(These are best if you want to also make your own rice cereals)
- Asieve or strainer(to remove seeds and larger bits of food)
- A pot andsteamer basketto steam vegetables, fruits, and meats.
How to store homemade baby food
First, be sure to only serve your baby a couple of tablespoons of purées at a time. Once a spoon has gone into the food, it essentially has contaminated it, making it unsuitable to be saved for later (this goes for store-bought baby food, too).
Once prepared, homemade purées can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two days or in the freezer for up to two months. Try spooning them into single-serving containers or freezing them in ice cube trays for small, easy-to-serve portions. We recommendcovered ice cube trays(to keep it sanitary) that are made from silicon, so it's easier to pop portions out one by one.
Heat up leftovers by warming them on the stove or in the microwave and then let them cool until room temperature. Never serve a baby hot food.
For microwaved foods, make sure to thoroughly stir and check that there aren’t any hot spots.
There you go! Easier than getting dressed and making a trip to the grocery store. And if all of this is too much, there is alwaysbaby-led weaning!
The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews and more.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
How do you make baby food step by step? ›
- Wash and peel produce and remove any seeds or pits. ...
- Cook food until it's very tender. ...
- Puree or mash fresh fruit or fruit canned in its own juice. ...
- Make sure the texture and temperature are appropriate. ...
- Cook eggs, meats and poultry until well done. ...
- For convenience, freeze prepared baby food for later use.
Add Liquids: You may have to add extra liquids like water, fresh breast milk, or formula into the blender or food processor in order to get the blender really going. Hard root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, etc., often take at least 1-2 cups of liquids because they do not have high water content.What to avoid in homemade baby food? ›
High-Nitrate Vegetables to Limit: A baby under six months old should not eat home-prepared high-nitrate vegetables, including: beets; broccoli; cabbage; carrots; celery; collard greens; lettuce; spinach and turnips. It is best to wait until your child is a year old before feeding them these vegetables.What is the main ingredients in baby food? ›
The most commonly used infant formulas contain purified cow's milk whey and casein as a protein source, a blend of vegetable oils as a fat source, lactose as a carbohydrate source, a vitamin-mineral mix, and other ingredients depending on the manufacturer.What is the best starter food for babies? ›
Solid foods may be introduced in any order. However, puréed meats, poultry, beans and iron-fortified cereals are recommended as first foods, especially if your baby has been primarily breastfed, since they provide key nutrients.Is it cheaper to make your own baby food? ›
Homemade organic is nearly 45% cheaper than store-bought organic. And homemade non-organic is almost 43% cheaper than store-bought non-organic. My daughter is up to four servings a day and she's only seven months old, so by making my own baby food, I'm currently saving $1.20 per day, or $438 per year.What pureed foods to start with? ›
Solid foods can be introduced in any order, but most pediatricians recommend starting with a single-ingredient food that is easy to digest like pureed sweet potato, carrot, banana and/or avocado. Other options include pureed meats, poultry, beans and iron-fortified baby cereals like rice cereal or oatmeal.Do you serve baby puree warm or cold? ›
Baby purees are often best served at room temperature, but don't be tempted to partially reheat food for your baby to avoid having to wait for it to cool. Unless served cold straight from the fridge, baby purees should always be reheated until piping hot, which means steaming throughout, to kill off bacteria.How long does homemade baby food last in jars? ›
Homemade baby foods will keep for one to two days in the refrigerator and three to four months in the freezer. Please remember that once commercial formulas or foods are opened you need to use them immediately and refrigerate the unused portion quickly after you are done.Can I just blend my food for my baby? ›
At first, babies should have finely puréed single-ingredient foods. (Just applesauce, for example, not apples and pears mixed together.) After your baby is eating individual foods, it's OK to offer a puréed mix of two foods. As babies get older, they will learn to eat a greater variety of tastes and textures.
What foods are toxic to babies? ›
- Salt. Babies should not eat much salt, as it's not good for their kidneys. ...
- Sugar. Your baby does not need sugar. ...
- Saturated fat. ...
- Honey. ...
- Whole nuts and peanuts. ...
- Some cheeses. ...
- Raw and lightly cooked eggs. ...
- Rice drinks.
Homemade baby food is generally more nutritious and tastier than commercially processed food if it is fresh and made from whole foods and nothing else. When cooked in bulk, it is cheaper than commercial options. And you can control the quality of ingredients when you make your own.Which food makes baby healthiest? ›
In addition to grains and potatoes, be sure your baby has vegetables and fruits, legumes and seeds, a little energy-rich oil or fat, and – especially – animal foods (dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry) every day. Eating a variety of foods every day gives your baby the best chance of getting all the nutrients he needs.What ingredients can babies not have? ›
- Honey. ...
- Cow's milk. ...
- Fruit juice. ...
- Sugary treats. ...
- Unpasteurized foods. ...
- Smoked and cured meats. ...
- High-mercury fish. ...
- Refined grains.
Homemade baby food ingredients
First foods should be rich in iron. Try iron-fortified cereal and cooked beef, lamb, pork, chicken, tofu, legumes or egg. Include other healthy foods like vegetables, fruit, grains and dairy. For example, try banana, avocado, pear, pumpkin, peas, oats or yoghurt.
Breast milk is the only food or drink babies need in the first 6 months of their life. It's best to carry on breastfeeding alongside an increasingly varied diet once you introduce solid foods. Infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk in the first 12 months of your baby's life.What is the best first vegetable for baby? ›
- Carrots. Bugs Bunny's fave orange veggies are a baby food staple for good reason. ...
- Spinach. Speaking of cartoon characters' favorite vegetables, remember Popeye's love for spinach? ...
- Pumpkin. ...
- Avocados. ...
- Sweet potatoes. ...
If your baby is under 6 months old, they only need to drink breastmilk or infant formula. From 6 months of age, you can give your baby small amounts of water, if needed, in addition to their breastmilk or formula feeds.What baby food is easiest on stomach? ›
Barley, rice and oatmeal tend to be light on the stomach. Mix them with infant formula or breast milk before feeding them to your sick baby. Start by mixing a single tablespoon of cereal with three tablespoons of infant formula or breast milk.How Long Will homemade baby food keep? ›
The rule of thumb is pureed homemade baby food can be stored up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Many food safety authorities say that 72 hours is fine too. This time limit decreases the likelihood of bacteria growth in the puree. Plus, it keeps that icky “taste of the fridge” out of your tasty meals.
What percentage of parents make baby food? ›
According to Beech-Nut's research, 70 percent of parents have taken to making some of their baby food at home.How can I save money on baby food? ›
- Do not buy just one type of baby bottle at first. ...
- Buy powdered formula. ...
- Use cow's milk formula, unless your pediatrician says you shouldn't. ...
- Buy in bulk, you will save money. ...
- Comparison shop. ...
- Save formula coupons and free samples, even if you plan to breastfeed.
You can start weaning with single vegetables and fruits – try blended, mashed, or soft cooked sticks of parsnip, broccoli, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear. You could also try baby rice mixed with your baby's usual milk. Make sure any cooked food has cooled right down before offering it to your baby.When can I start mixing foods for baby? ›
In terms of age, many babies start Stage 2 combo baby purees around 8 months, but try not to fret too much over the exact timeline. Just like with the introduction of Stage 1, your baby will let you know when they're ready!What foods Cannot be pureed? ›
|Avoid While on a Puréed Food Diet|
|Milk and Dairy Products||Solid cheeses, regular cottage cheese, farmer cheese, and pot cheese.|
|Vegetables||All others, even well-cooked and fresh vegetables that don't require a lot of chewing.|
|Fruits||All others, including mashed banana and canned fruits.|
What exactly are Stage 3 Baby Purees? Well, put simply, Stage 3 baby foods are a puree with small chewable chunks inside. Having small manageable chunks in a puree gets your baby ready for finger foods by having them explore similar tastes that they are used to but with completely different texture profiles.What time of day should I start puree? ›
There's no "perfect" time of day to feed your baby — it's whenever works for you. If you're breastfeeding, you might offer solids when your milk supply is at its lowest (probably late afternoon or early evening). On the other hand, babies who wake up bright-eyed and eager might be happy to sample solids for breakfast.What order should I introduce purees? ›
- 4 to 6 months: Single-grain cereals. The level of iron that's stored in utero drops after birth, and a baby reaches an all-time low at around 9 months. ...
- 4 to 8 months: Pureed veggies, fruits, and meats. ...
- 6 to 8 months: Single-ingredient finger foods. ...
- 9 to 12 months: Chopped, ground, or mashed foods.
Meat Puree for Baby
You can serve baby pureed chicken, beef, or turkey puree. The key to making delicious pureed meat is to keep the meat tender during the cooking process. I like to simmer the meat in a low or no-sodium broth until just cooked before letting it cool and then blending until smooth.
Is it better to store baby food in glass or plastic? You can use either. If using plastic, look for BPA-free plastic and avoid putting it into the microwave or dishwasher to help the plastic stay in tact.
Can I use mason jars for baby food? ›
If you are choosing to store your homemade baby food in the refrigerator for a short amount of time, you can use small, glass canning jars (sometimes referred to as little mason jars)!What baby purees can you freeze? ›
Some vegetables that are easy to prepare and freeze as baby food include sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, parsnip, broccoli, peas, potato, zucchini, cauliflower. Fruit suggestions include mashed/cooked/pureed fruits such as avocado, apple, banana and pear.How to make baby purees at home? ›
- Cook it: Prep your food — wash and peel (if applicable), and chop it up into manageable pieces. ...
- Puree it: Toss your cooked food in your blender/food processor (check out our recommendations for that here), and puree away. ...
- Store it: It's most convenient to store your puree in small portions… ...
- Use it:
You don't need a separate baby food maker or baby food processor if you have some basic kitchen equipment like a pot or steamer, a kitchen range or microwave, and of course—a food processor. You can finely puree a wide range of ingredients with results perfect for baby food using a food processor.