Baby food…there are literally hundreds of options at the store, including all natural and organic options. But, did you know it’s super easy, convenient and less expensive to make your own? And perhaps the greatest benefit is that it’s far better for your baby’s development!
I know it sounds too good to be true, but here’s the deal: as moms, we pay so much attention and we are so careful with what we eat (and don’t eat) when we’re pregnant, because it’s what’s best for our baby. After the baby is born, we obsess over breastfeeding or formula because we want to do what’s right. Well, our baby’s first foods are just as important!
In fact, a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that optimal nutrition in the first 2 years of life is crucial to your baby’s brain development. Specifically, vitamins A, D, B6 and B12, as well as zinc, iron, and folate are essential for baby’s healthy brain. Knowing what’s in your baby’s food is important for their overall health. For me, making homemade baby food is not only about knowing and controlling what’s in your baby’s food, but also about what’s NOT– this includes preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and even added sugar that can be found in some commercially available food.
As a pediatrician, I recommend starting your baby on solid foods around 4-6 months, and when they’re developmentally ready. How do you know your baby is ready for “real” food? Look for these signs:
- Head control: Your baby should be able to sit upright in a high chair or feeding chair with good head control.
- Food cues: Your baby might be watching you eat, reaching for your food, or opening his/her mouth; all signs your baby might be ready to eat! Food cues are nature’s way of a baby telling herself she’s ready to take on more bites, and her way of letting her parents know it’s time, too!
- Tongue thrust: Babies are usually ready for solids when they can successfully transfer food from the spoon into the back of his/her mouth. Be prepared, starting solids is MESSY! If your baby is dribbling too much, maybe wait a week or two and try again.
- Baby’s weight: In general, babies double their weight by about 4 months of age. Average weight of babies starting solid foods is somewhere around 13 pounds.
Making baby food can seem like an impossible task, I mean, who has time for that?! Well, let me tell you, the key to success – is having the right tools. I recommend to my moms the Baby Brezza One Step Food Maker Deluxe because it’s a gamechanger! It’s the only appliance that allows you to steam and blend fresh or frozen foods with the touch of a button and without having to transfer the food. It’s an all-in-one solution! You simply put the food (and veggies even come pre-cut now!) in the machine, push the button (go take a shower, relax, read a book-haha, like you have time for that!) and DONE! In about 10 minutes you have fresh, wholesome homemade baby food with minimal cleanup! Another huge benefit, you can save hundreds of dollars when compared to store-bought baby food.
And if you’re looking for a great way to transport and feed your baby or toddler on the go, try Baby Brezza Reusable Food Pouches! They’re easy to fill, dishwasher safe, and great for the environment! Homemade, nutrient-rich food for your baby at home or on the go could not be more time-efficient and effortless. This would have made my life SO MUCH easier when I had my babies!
When do babies get head control?
Typically speaking, babies start holding their heads up and moving them around on their own at around the 3 month mark. You can begin testing this by exercising their neck little by little; the most common way this is practiced between parents and newborns is by placing your little one on their belly, allowing them to pick their head up and look around. You can also sit baby upright in order to allow her to look around more freely. Soon enough, once head control is completely established, you’ll know your little one is gearing up to eat homemade baby food.
Why is tongue thrusting important for babies?
Tongue thrust is not only important for babies, but everyone– and luckily, we learn it at a very young age! Being able to quickly move food away from our throats is our natural response to choking hazards, and becomes an essential part of eating solids and semi-solid foods. It’s important to keep up with how your baby’s tongue thrust is improving– feeding them solids too early can cause an unnecessary risk.
Why is steaming food better than cooking or baking?
The two main reasons that steaming baby food is the best option for your little one are nutrient retention and the ability to fully soften each of the foods. Steaming fully breaks down solids into a creamy, blendable state, while not overcooking to the point where all of those healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are cooked out of the ingredients. This is why having a high-quality baby food processor and steamer is a major advantage for new parents, making mealtimes and prep even easier.