Preparing your baby's food at home is not just more economical, but has many other benefits. Find out more about it.
Sulekha is the mother of eight-month-old twins. When she wished to introduce them to solid food at the age of six months, she was not sure what would be best for them. She started them on commercial baby food brands, but soon realised that these were too expensive to buy on an everyday basis.
It was Sulekha's mother who gave her the idea of making her own baby food. Besides being more economical, it also gave the twins the opportunity to try out a whole new range of foods.
As a parent, these are some of the advantages of preparing your own baby food:
It is healthier, since it is made from fresh ingredients and does not contain preservatives.
You have much more control over what goes into your baby's food. This way you can avoid foods that do not seem to suit your baby.
Your baby gets used to eating a whole range of foods; this will help prevent fussy eating habits later on.
You can ensure that the quality of the raw materials you use to prepare the food is good.
How to prepare your own baby food:
There are a number of items you can use to prepare homemade baby food. The fruits and vegetables available in your kitchen may almost be all you would need. While organically grown produce may be best for your child, do not worry if you cannot provide them for your baby. Fruits you can use include apples, bananas, custard apples, chikus, mangos, pears, plums, etc. Vegetables that are ideal for your child include beetroots, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, French beans, green peas, lady's fingers, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, etc.
To make your own baby food:
Peel the fruits and vegetables, and remove the seeds. Also remove inedible or hard portions such as the stalk.
Apples, pears, carrots, cabbages and other harder foods may be softened by cooking. You can maintain the nutritional content of these foods by boiling or steaming them. Steaming is recommended since it preserves nutrients more efficiently.
Add a little boiled water to the ingredients you have and blend them into a paste or puree. Add adequate liquid to enable you to get a smoother, more liquid-like consistency in the beginning. Later, as your baby grows, you can lessen the quantity of water to make it harder. Once your baby is about 9 months old, you may also use milk instead of water as a base to blend the food.
Important Dos and Don'ts
At this vulnerable age, your baby is easily susceptible to infections and diseases. Guard against a chance infection by maintaining a strict level of hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your baby's food items or the utensils.
At this point there is no need to add sugar, salt, or any garnishing to your baby's food. Your baby may react adversely to even the slightest amount of spices, so it is important to avoid them.
Do not give your baby food that is either too hot or too cold. Food which is slightly warmer than room temperature is ideal for your baby.
Do not heat your baby's food in a microwave, as this may cause the food to warm unevenly, causing some portions to overheat and leaving others cold.
When introducing solid food, at around six to seven months, this food will only complement the baby's regular feeds with breast milk or formula. Only after about a year or even longer, should the baby be completely transitioned to solid food.
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