During the first six months from birth, the child gets all the necessary nutrients from the mother’s milk. When she approaches 4 months, she should be introduced to semi solid foods, slowly graduating to solid foods when she turns to 6 months.
This is an important transition stage in the child’s development and most of the mothers prefer to give their child foods that are safely and freshly prepared in their own kitchen. That way you can rest assured what is going inside your child’s system.
They can also be safely preserved in the freezer and save a lot of time. Homemade baby foods cost less, yet they are the healthiest food choice for the sensitive digestive system of your child.
The Baby Food List
According to standard schedule of baby nutrition, you can give your child cereals like iron-fortified baby rice, barley or oatmeal when she is 4 to 5 months old.
5 to 6 months is the time to introduce her to the vegetables like potatoes, spinach, carrots, peas, or squash.
After 6 months, introduce oven-dried and strained fruits, toasted wheat bread without butter and high protein dry cereals.
In the age of 7 to 8 months you can safely start with strained meats, liver, chicken and egg yolks, cooked dried beans without skins.
When she is 8 to 10 months old, add cheese, plain yogurt, and types of finger foods like meatloaf, crumbled hamburger, cottage cheese, spaghetti etc to her diet.
10 to 12 months are the time for starting variety of finger foods like whole egg, macaroni, banana slices, pear slices, cheese slices, crackers, peach slices and watermelon.
The vegetables like spinach, beets, carrots and turnip or collard greens are usually tolerated by 5 months old babies.
But those, who are sensitive to high nitrate levels, are recommended only strained vegetables. As a general rule, you should start with as little as one spoon full of mashed vegetables and then increase the amount slowly to match the baby’s tolerance level. Do not offer corns to babies.
Preparation and Equipments
Making baby foods at home is simple and inexpensive and they are much more hygienic than the jarred baby foods added with plenty of additives.
To make the safe and healthy baby food you will need the following equipments:
Fork, strainer, steamer, knife, blender and a food mill.
When you are cooking vegetables, you have the options of boiling, steaming or baking them. Then mash them with a fork or blend in a food mill. To thicken the mixture, add any cereal preferably baby rice cereal and if the mixture happens to be too thick, add fruit juice, or vegetable stock to lighten it. Take care to remove all the lumps. No need to add salt, sugar or extra fat; babies do not need them.
With fruits you have the option of offering them fresh or in the baked or cooked form, or as frozen fruits.
Before cooking fruits, wash and peel their skin and allow them to remain in boiling water until they become tender. Make a puree of this by fork or flat spatula and then stain to remove any trace of lumps, seeds or skins.
First make a smooth puree of fruits and freeze them in clean ice cube trays. Pop out the frozen cubes to store them in sealed freezer bags and discard the remaining after two months.
Peel out the skin and mash the fruits before serving to your baby. Ripe banana, prunes, apricots, pears, peaches and ripe cantaloupe are the fruits ideal for the babies under one year.
Cook the minced meat or chicken until very soft and then blend it in food processor. To make it thin, add vegetable stock or a little formula.
Do not add salt to the mixture. Liver that has rich iron contents can be prepared following the same method.
To serve an egg, hard boil it for 20 minutes. Take out the yoke and mash it with a fork and serve. Do not give the egg white to the babies under one year for allergic considerations.
Cleanliness is the precondition for making hygienic baby foods. Properly wash your hands before getting started. Also thoroughly rinse the equipments with hot water. Begin with clean hands. While using Refrigerated foods follow the recommended time limit of using them.
Always throw away the residues of meals that are very much prone to bacterial invasion.
Maintain a one-week gap between the introductions of new foods to get your baby accustomed to them. It will also help you to find out whether the child is allergic to a particular food.
Give enough time to get your baby habituated to a variety of fruits or vegetables before graduating to animal proteins.