Around the time when your baby reaches six months old, they are likely to be showing signs that they are ready for solid food, and if you get the “okay” from your paediatrician — congratulations! Your little one has reached another key development milestone, and you can now start giving them solid foods.
But how do you get started? What are some of the tools you need and the baby food preparation pointers that you need to take note of? Here’s what you need to know about making your baby’s first food.
Baby Food Preparation Tools You’ll Need
When your baby is just getting started on solid food around 6 to 9 months old, it’s best to start with food that has a smooth and lumpy texture like puree, mashed fruits and vegetables, and porridge. This is because these foods are easier for your little one to swallow. To make these baby first foods at home, check if you have the following tools in your kitchen.
- Steamer: This is to steam your veggies and meat to make them soft and easier for your little one to consume.
- Fork: You can use it to mash up food like pumpkin, tofu, potato, banana etc.
- Blender: This comes in handy for making purees and fine chopping.
- Sieve or strainer: So that you can strain the puree and remove the bigger bits of food.
Alternatively, you can also get an all-in-one baby food maker, which usually offers the feature of steam-cooking and then finely blends the food to make it into a puree.
How to Make Baby Puree
Here’s a general guideline on how to make baby puree with some of the commonly used ingredients.
- Fruits: Puree it to a smooth and fine consistency, you can add some water or breast milk based on your desired consistency.
- Vegetables: Steam, blanch or bake the vegetables then blend it to make a vegetable puree, you can also add breast milk or water to adjust it to your desired consistency.
- Meat: Steam, boil or bake deboned and skinless meat without using any oil. When the meat is fully cooked, cut it into small pieces, and blend it with clear broth or water until it is smooth.
To monitor whether your baby has any allergic reactions to certain food, introduce one new food at a time every several days. Some common signs of allergies include swollen face, eyes, tongue, mouth and lips, vomiting, watery stools, hives and worsening eczema. If you have concerns about food allergies, discuss with your pediatrician on how to include them in your baby’s food.
Baby Food Preparation Health & Safety Tips
As your little one’s digestive system and immune system are still developing, it’s important for you to take note of these health and safety guides when preparing their food:
- Skip the Oil and Seasonings
Your baby’s delicate taste buds are just developing, so they don’t have a sweet tooth or a craving for salt yet. Hence, skip the salt, sugar and any other seasonings like soy sauce, oyster sauce and keep your baby’s food unseasoned. Also, be sure to prepare your baby’s food without oil — that means no stir-frying or grilling yet! Prepare your baby’s food with healthy, oil-free cooking methods like steaming, boiling, baking, or microwaving.
- Avoid Raw and Chunky Food
Make sure your baby’s food has a smooth and fine texture without chunky or hard pieces to prevent risk of choking, and do not mix raw food like meat with cooked food. If you are feeding your little one meat, please ensure that they are fully cooked to avoid risk of bacterial infection.
- Keep Your Kitchen & Utensils Clean
Allocate a designated space in the kitchen for food preparation, and make sure to clean the surface of the kitchen area before and after preparing food. As for your utensils, wash them thoroughly before and after using them. Moreover, do not use cracked or chipped utensils as the chipped areas tend to have a higher chance of retaining germs, and chipped pieces of the utensils might fall into the food without you noticing.
- Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
Keeping our hands germs-free is now more important than ever, so wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after preparing your baby’s meal. If you touch raw meat, fish, or eggs in the process, wash your hands again as these ingredients may harbour bacteria.
Baby Feeding Essentials You’ll Need
Food’s ready, it’s finally time to feed your baby! But hold on! Do you already have all these baby feeding essentials to make feeding a breeze?
- Baby Spoon: Baby spoons come with smaller spoon tips with rounded edges that are safer for your baby. Certain baby spoons also change colour to alert you when the food is too hot.
- Light & Easy-to-Hold Bowl: Using a bowl that is light and easy to hold makes it more comfortable for you to hold it throughout the feeding. BPA-free silicone bowls or plastic bowls are good choices. When your baby is older and ready to self-feed, you can get suction-based silicone bowls that stick to the table surface.
- High Chair: A high chair provides a safe and comfy place for your little one to feed. Remember to secure all the straps firmy to prevent your baby from standing up or climbing up.
- Baby Bib: A baby bib helps keep your baby’s clothes and the table surface mess-free. Silicone baby bibs with an open, structured pocket in front can help prevent food from falling on your baby’s pants and on the ground.
Storage of Baby Food
To store extra puree that you made, you can freeze fruit or vegetable purees in ice cube trays and keep them for up to a month. This is also convenient if both you and your partner live a busy lifestyle, just remember to label your baby’s food with the preparation date.
To heat the leftovers, pop the cubes out and warm them on the stove or in the microwave on a low heat. Once it’s done, stir and test the temperature before feeding it to your baby.
There you have it! You are now equipped with the basics of making homemade baby food for your little one. Food preparation and feeding skills aside, it’s important to learn your baby’s cues during feeding time, as well as understanding how to serve them a well-balanced and nutritious diet too. So stay tuned to our upcoming blogs for the following weeks as we cover these topics!
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