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Making baby food the healthy way

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I am really exited about this! I’ve been making my own baby food for a couple of months now and I am surprised at how easy it is once you get started.  Making my own food gives me the control over knowing what food is going into his mouth and how much he is eating each day. Plus there are no additives or preservatives, and I can choose to buy organic fruit and veg if I am that way inclined as well.

It’s quick, easy and super healthy for bub.

WHEN DO I FIRST GIVE MY BABY SOLIDS?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends babies are breast fed exclusively for the first six months.  However, many doctors and nurses advise you can start to give solids from four months due to a decreased risk of allergies developing.  But of course you should speak to your doctor or nurse about what is best for your baby.  Your bub will start to show signs they are ready by opening and closing their mouth when food approaches, showing interest in food by looking at you eating or trying to grab what you eat.  Other signs they are getting ready include a baby having sufficient head and neck control to hold up and turn their head, being aware of their hands and fingers, can sit up right with support, and had a reduce tongue reflex (their tongue pushes the food out the mouth).

FIRST SOLIDS

appleGiving you baby solids for the first time is a little scary as you are not sure how they are going to handle it.  But it’s important to realize that most of
the food you give them initially is to prepare bubby for the different textures of the food. Make sure your baby is happy when first starting out and maybe keeping them busy with a toy may help too.  Make sure they are sitting upright. Most people start with a teaspoon of food and gradually increase over the next few weeks.  And of course you can use a small spoon with soft edges, although I was so nervous I used my finger to being with.  It wasn’t long before bub was having bigger spoons full though.  It’s always good to get into the habit of giving your baby a little bit of water after solids as this prevents constipation.  Water should be boiled for five minutes then completely cooled before bub can have it.  First solids are slightly running, warm and smooth in texture (the poached pear recipe below is a good start).  You can initially offer your baby solids once a day.  You can introduce a new food every other day making sure they are not intolerant or allergic to a food before introducing another.  If your baby is not ready for food, they will reject it.  Some recommend continuing to offer it to them as it can take up to ten or more tastes for them to get used to it.  When they are full most babies will close their mouth and turn their head away.  If you think your baby has had a reaction to food (rash or vomiting for example), take them to the doctor.

As milk should be where your baby gets their nutrients from the most, solids don’t replace milk initially.  Instead some people give their baby milk then solids afterwards.  It is important not to give your baby solids in their bottle as they need to differentiate between drinking and eating.

It is recommended by nurses that the first foods can be iron fortified rice cereal or farax.  As the iron levels in breast milk decrease significantly when your baby reaches six months of age, it is important you baby gets their iron from other sources.  This can include rice cereal.  Some mums milk breast milk with rice cereal as a start, or mix it with poached pear, or cooled boiled water.  Other first foods can include vegetables that when cooked can be made into a smooth puree or mash.  This includes pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot etc.  Fruit can include poached pear, apple, bananas and avocado.  Nurses recommended babies are introduced to meat, or similar products, at around six months of age.  This can include pureed chicken, beef, beef, tofu, legumes etc.  Meat needs to be cooked well and then pureed.

CHANGING THE TEXTURE

As your bub has settled into eating purred food, you can begin to make the texture more lumpy.  For example, instead of blending poached pear, pumpkin or sweet potato,
simply mash it with the back of fork into a bowl.  This makes it super easy when travelling as you can take a banana or avocado away with you and chew it up a little bit in your mouth before giving it to them as it doesn’t have to be super smooth in texture.  It is vital for your baby’s development that they learn to chew as delaying this may lead to feeding and chewing issues for them later on in life.

We started to introduce broccoli when we increased the lumpiness of bubby’s food.  We steamed the broccoli as we would our own food and chopped it up really small and mixed it in with the pureed pumpkin or sweet potato.  At first he spat out a few mouthfuls but it wasn’t long before he started to love it.  As he enjoyed it more we increased the lumpiness of the food, that is, didn’t cut the broccoli up so small.  At about six and a half months of age, we introduced our babe to baby led weaning.

BABY FOOD RECIPES:

Vegetable Puree

Pear Puree

Green Pea Puree

About Lauren Jackman (160 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook