Next, make baby food out
of your food. Apple for breakfast? Cook one for baby.
Carrots for lunch? Steam some for baby. Potatoes for dinner?
Mash some for your little one. Just cook a little more
of what you are eating and store the extra.
Whenever possible, choose in-season fruits and vegetables.
If your baby starts solids in winter, begin with acorn
or butternut squash and pears. In spring, try peas. In
summer, treat your baby to zucchini, peaches, and green
beans. And in fall, offer apples, sweet potato, and pumpkin.
Since we don't know what effects pesticides may have on
developing babies, it is wise to choose organic produce
when you can.
Stay away from fruits and vegetables that can cause reactions
in young children: tomatoes, citrus fruits and berries,
until baby is close to a year old.
Prepare produce by
washing it well in water to rinse off dirt, bacteria and
pesticide residue. Use a scrub brush if you can. It's
easy to scrub carrots, potatoes and apples, but more difficult
with soft fruits like figs.
Peel things with tough skins like winter squash, apples,
and potatoes. Remove stems, pits and seeds. Cut the fruit
or vegetable into one-inch chunks.
Steam fruits and vegetables
in a metal steamer basket. Put about an inch of
water in a large saucepan along with the metal steamer
basket and the fruit or vegetable. Bring the water to
a boil (it will start to steam), then cover and steam
until the fruit or vegetable is very tender. The time
will depend on the variety—it may take five minutes for
ripe peaches but 15 minutes for carrots, and so on. Check
every five minutes and test for softness with a sharp
paring knife. When the paring knife easily pierces the
food all the way through, it is done.
Mash the food using
the right tool. For soft fruits and vegetables like pears
and potatoes, a fork may be all you need. For tougher
things like carrots and apricots, try a food mill. For
stringy or tough produce, like green beans and mango,
puree with a blender, an immersion blender, or a food
processor. Thin purees, and make them easy for young babies
to swallow, with a little of the cooking water, some breast
milk or formula.
Feed your baby seated
upright in your lap or in a highchair. You may need pillows
to prop him up at first. Use a small spoon and wait for
him to open his mouth before feeding. Never force his
mouth open and avoid using tricks like flying the airplane
into his mouth to get him to eat. Trust that he will eat
if he is hungry. Let him eat at his own pace, whether
it is fast or slow. Pay attention when he closes his mouth
or turns away to tell you he is done.
Store leftover baby food
in the fridge, but throw away any food baby's spoon
has touched. His saliva contains bacteria which can contaminate
food. Freeze baby food in ice cube trays, then store the
frozen chunks in a plastic bag or airtight container.
Another way to freeze baby food is to “blob” it onto a
parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, freeze the blobs,
and then transfer them to a bag. Defrost baby food in
Progress to chunkier
foods and finger foods. By nine or ten months,
most babies love to feed themselves finger foods like:
- soft bits of avocado or cooked carrot
- bits of ripe pear or banana
- tiny pasta shapes like orzo
- cut up kidney beans
- ground cooked meats
- grated cheese