There are many jars of baby food available which are good for convenience. However, they do become expensive and many of them add things like sugar and salt which are not recommended for babies. Personally, I don’t think it’s particularly difficult to make your own baby food. In fact, even if you’re a hopeless cook, you can probably still manage to cook a few carrots and whizz them together. Jamie Oliver would be proud! Equip yourself with a little food blender (about £10-£15) and all will be plain sailing. You don’t need one of those specific baby ones, they’re much more expensive. Just a normal hand-held one will do (it needs to have a little chamber attachment).
The first things to try are simple food such as fruit or vegetable purée. Try apple, pear or banana. With the apple and pear, you need to stew it first. Just peel it, chop it up, add a little water and heat until soft. Then throw it in the whizzer. Sometimes, I have to confess, I don’t even peel them, it’s going to get whizzed up anyhow. Don’t be tempted to add sugar or honey. The banana doesn’t need cooking, but to begin with, I would whizz it up so that there are no lumps. Banana is a great food, but it’s quite slippery and some babies find it difficult to keep in their mouths to begin with (or in their fingers later on.) Also, be warned that it turns black in the washing machine and makes poo look like black worms.
If you want to try vegetables, think about potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnip, swede, pumpkin or squash. You can boil or roast the vegetable then give them a whizz and hey presto! Be a bit careful whizzing potato as you can break down the starch if you whizz too much and it becomes quite thick. You can still give it to your baby though. Sweet potato and cinnamon is favourite of many babies. If you are cooking something like squash or pumpkin, it can be a little watery and runny. You can always add a little baby rice to thicken it.
When you whizz foods, you have to have a certain amount in the whizzer otherwise it doesn’t work. If it looks too thick, add a little boiled water to thin it out. You can freeze the rest in little ice trays. To begin with, a baby will only need one ice cube but as they get older they will progress to 2 or more. You can then mix and match your vegetables and fruit….carrot and parsnip, carrot and squash, potato and carrot, apple and pear…whatever you like.
When you serve the food, it should be luke warm. In reality, it tends to get cold before it’s eaten. It can always be zapped for a few seconds to reheat it, but make sure it’s not too hot otherwise you’ll upset your baby. Babies have very sensitive mouths so test the temperature on your wrist or your lip before you put it in your baby's mouth.
The start of weaning is a very exciting time for both you and your baby. Be warned, it is messy. (I must have had a premonition when I decided to paint my kitchen orange when I was 38 weeks pregnant.) Anyhow, it's a great opportunity for photos, some future xmas pressies for grandparents.
Next time....Progressing with weaning.
Previous weaning blogs:
How to start weaning
Weaning and when to start