Can I make homemade baby food?

Q: I just started my baby on solids. Can I make my own baby food?

A: Of course! Pureeing your own baby food from fruits and veggies is a healthy (and cheaper) alternative to store-bought jars. When deciding what to make, use the type of food sold in stores as a jumping-off point. You'll want to use a food processor or a hand blender to mush things up super-soft.

Make sure to be extra-careful about washing produce, since supermarket fruits and veggies may have been treated with pesticides or preservative sprays, or go for organic if you can afford it. It's also a good idea to stick to store-bought versions of carrots, beets, green beans, spinach, and squash; these veggies can be high in nitrates, chemicals found in soil and water. Baby food companies test for nitrate levels (and the jars you buy should be totally fine) but there's no easy way for you to know how safe the food you whip up at home is.

Once your baby's been eating rice cereal (which is least likely to trigger allergies) for a couple of weeks, you can introduce your DIY baby food. Wait a few days between each new food to give your baby's digestive system a chance to adjust. Remember that breast milk or formula is still your baby's primo source of nutrition for the first year, and he should only be eating a few tablespoons of solids a day at first, along with his usual intake of breast milk or formula.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.


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