Play it Safe
Babies can be at a higher risk for food-borne illness because their immune system is still developing. Make sure your baby’s food is prepared safely with these tips:
- Wash hands, equipment, and any ingredients you plan on using before you get started.
- Use different cutting boards for meat and non-meat foods, like fruits and vegetables. Wash knives well before chopping different foods.
- Cook all the foods to the correct internal temperature to avoid food poisoning or other repercussions.
Avoid Using These Foods
- Home-canned foods
- Unpasteurized dairy (raw milk and some soft cheeses)
- Cow’s milk
It is recommended families avoid using spinach, beets, squash, carrots and green beans in homemade baby food until your infant is older than 9 months of age. These foods are often high in nitrates naturally, which can be detrimental to your baby’s development. Commercially prepared baby-food versions of these vegetables have monitored the amount of nitrates present.
Preparing Homemade Baby Food
- While you should choose fresh foods first, frozen and canned can work as well.
- Stick to the single ingredient foods when you get started.
- Use foods without added salt, sugar or seasoning.
- Use a blender or a food processor to puree your baby’s first meals. Machines that both steam and puree also work well.
- Match consistency and texture with your baby’s developmental stage. You may need to add formula or expressed breastmilk to thin the baby food down to the right consistency.
- Once cooked, refrigerate within 2 hours.
- Throw out any uneaten food from your baby’s dish.
- Homemade baby food can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours if its meat, poultry, fish and eggs and 48 hours for fruits and vegetables. Freeze for up to one month.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator. Avoid thawing at room temperature or sitting in water.
You can find many cookbooks and recipes online for this increasingly popular trend. If you are thinking of making homemade baby food, talk to your pediatrician about your baby’s stage of development and how their food should be pureed, mashed or stored!