As I've mentioned before I've been committed to making homemade baby food since before the birth of my son--and now that I've been doing it for a couple of months, I'm absolutely hooked. It takes very little time, money and effort to make delicious, fresh, organic purees each week. And I truly believe my committment has paid off--my son has devoured everything I've offered, from avocado and sweet potatoes to peas and oatmeal. Here I'll share a few recipes to get you started, no matter what age your baby is--it's never too late!
Sweet Potato Oatmeal Cereal (4 months+)
1/4 Cup old-fashioned oats, ground
2 Cups water
1 Large sweet potato, peeled
Cut sweet potatoes into cubes or disks and steam in a vegetable steamer or a small pot filled with an inch or two of water until fork tender. Place steamed potato into bowl of blender or food processor and puree until very smooth, if necessary, add water to thin out to the texture of store-bought applesauce. Set aside.
To grind oats, you can use a blender, food processor or coffee grinder. Process the oats until they are almost as fine as all-purpose flour.
Bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan then slowly whisk in oat powder. Continue to simmer on low while stirring continuously for about 10-15 minutes, until the oatmeal has thickened.
Stir together equal parts cooked oatmeal and sweet potato puree. At this age, food should be very runny--you can use expressed breast milk or formula to thin out the sweet potato oatmeal. Serve at room temperature or while slightly warm.
Pear Yogurt (6 months+)
1/4 Cup whole-milk yogurt
One pear, any variety
Set oven to 400°F. Peel, halve and core pear. Roast pear on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, until very tender.* Remove from oven and allow to cool. Puree pear as described in the recipe above. Stir two to three tablespoons of roasted pear puree into yogurt. Serve at room temperature.
*If you're short on time, pear can also be steamed.
Spiced Mango and Apple Puree (9 months+)
1 mango, very ripe
Peel and cube a very ripe mango. Puree in blender or food processor. Peel, core and cut apple into wedges. Steam as described above. Puree apple. At this age, I recommend leaving the purees a bit chunkier so that baby can become more accustomed to different textures. Combine equal parts mango and apple purees. Season to taste with a dash each of cinnamon and ginger.
It is very affordable to buy small quantities of organic produce and grains. If you can fit it into your budget, consider doing so. They are more flavorful and healthier than non-organic versions.
Cereal and leftover puree of any kind can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to 30 days. I recommended freezing in one- to two-ounce portions so that you can defrost only as much as your baby typically consumes at one meal. However, do not save leftover food from a container that your baby has eaten directly out of. Bacteria from his mouth will be present in the remaining food and could cause illness.
It is recommended that baby be introduced to new foods one at a time, with a minimum of three days in between so that you can identify any possible allergies. Please do not feed your child any of these combinations prior to doing so. Also, if you are just starting solid foods, be sure to follow your pediatrician's recommendations.
Image via Thinkstock
Do you have a favorite baby food recipe.