Homemade baby food
Food safety is a top concern for many mothers. Who doesn’t go crazy if baby gets a tummy ache from the food they ate? The moment you decide it is the right time to start baby with solid food, is also the best time to learn about food safety.
Many parents are discovering that homemade baby foods can be a nutritious option. Plus they often result in more savings than regularly buying store bought baby food. To ensure that your homemade baby food is safe for your growing infant, follow these simple steps for selecting, preparing, storing and warming homage baby food.
Carefully Select Ingredients
Always begin with good quality ingredients. It’s best to use fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. But you can also use frozen or canned foods. If you’re using processed fruits and vegetables, try to find products without added sugar. You should especially avoid canned fruit packed in syrup.
Use fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkin, bananas, sweet potato and creamy avocado for nutritious baby meals.
Before You Start
The best time for baby to start on solid food is at six months. If you choose to start your baby on solids before six months you should take extra care. However, never start a baby on solids before they are 4 months. They are still getting all the nutrition they need from your breast milk or formula.
Aside from carefully selecting ingredients, you will need to sterilise feeding spoons until your baby is six months old. Wash your baby’s bowls and feeding equipment in a dishwasher or very hot water. Use a clean tea towel or paper towels to dry them.
A good option is to buy pre-sterilised and ready to use food pouches. Cherub Baby’s On The Go Food Pouches are reusable baby food pouches which are an extremely portable, and easy way to store, freeze, warm and serve homemade baby food. Entirely Biosphenol-A (BPA Free) and microwave, bottle and food warmer, and freezer safe, these reusable food pouches are tamper proof and have a generous 150ml capacity making them the perfect size for single meals when on the go with the baby.
Preparing Homemade Baby Food
When preparing baby food, you don’t need to make your kitchen totally sterile. There’s even evidence that our houses are too clean these days! However, it makes sense to follow basic hygiene rules by always washing your hands before you start. Also wash highchairs, bibs, and eating areas in hot, soapy water. If your baby is eating finger foods or eating with his hands, wash their hands before they eat their meals. Remember to change kitchen cloths and tea towels often too.
Preparing homemade baby food is very simple. Cook the food, let it cool a bit, toss it into a blender or food processor and puree away. You can also use a stick mixer or an immersion blender. Cherub Baby has a Steamer Blender Food Preparation Unit which works wonders in preparing homemade baby food. The Cherub Baby Natriblend Steamer Blender Baby Food Preparation Unit will steam, cook and blend your food as well as sterilising your bottles and accessories. With an LCD screen the Natriblend gives you maximum control over how you prepare your baby’s food, and all in one place without having to use any separate appliances.
Puree and blend your baby food as your creativity and your baby’s age allows. Don’t be afraid to puree sweet potatoes together with apples for example. And don’t be afraid to add breast milk and/or formula. These ingredients will give a nutritional boost as well as offer baby a familiar taste.
The best option on baby food preparation is steaming vegetables and even some fruits. This softens them, makes them easier to chew, and preserves more of the vitamins and minerals than boiling. No need to add salt or sugar. Try a bit of lemon juice as both a preservative and a natural flavor enhancer for the homemade baby food you are making. Avoid deep-frying, which adds unhealthy fats to foods.
Freezing Baby Food
In order for your baby’s meal to have variety, freezing baby food is important. Freezing homemade baby food means that your baby can get a good variety and of what you have prepared for eating for the rest of the week. Preparing homemade baby food is not a difficult task. But safely handling freshly made purees to freeze and eventually defrost is essential in keeping baby’s food safe.
Some tips include the following:
- Use bottles or better yet reusable food pouches, which have been washed at a high temperature to store and freeze homemade baby food.
- Add the food into food storage containers to cover a single meal, so there is less waste.
- Remember that food will expand as it freezes, so don’t overfill. Leave enough space if you’re freezing baby food.
- Label everything with the name of the food and the date of freezing. Many pureed fruits and vegetable look alike when they are in the freezer.
- Write on the date of freezing so you know when it needs to be eaten by. Rotate your stock.
- Put your homemade baby food towards the back of the fridge or freezer, where it is the coldest. This helps to maintain the texture of the food better, and it will freeze more quickly.
Reusable baby food pouches are a great option rather than using solid ice cube trays. They are easier to use and provide a mess-free way of feeding.
Most importantly, bear in mind that homemade baby food is best kept in the freezer. In the refrigerator or cooler it will only last 2 days. Frozen homemade baby food is best used within the first few weeks, although when frozen well homemade baby food can last up to an amazing 6 months!
Tips for Defrosting and Warming Baby Food
When heating your homemade baby food, it’s important to follow a few food safety rules. This will ensure that your baby’s meal is tasty and nutritious, and with no unwelcome bacteria that might cause a tummy ache or worse…food poisoning.
If you know your schedule it’s best to defrost your baby food overnight in the fridge. If you forgot, don’t worry you can use a bowl of hot water also know as a water bath.
Many parents make large batches of food in advance and then store the baby food for future use. When heating baby food, you need to ensure that it is piping hot throughout. Don’t be tempted to just partially warm the food, so that your baby will be able to eat it immediately – it needs to be thoroughly heated in order to destroy any bacteria that may be present. You should then set is aside and allow it to cool to a comfortable serving temperature.
Can I Use a Microwave to Heat Baby’s Food?
Whether you choose to use the microwave to warm your baby’s meals is for you to decide. Many parents love the convenience of the microwave – hungry babies aren’t known for their patience and using a microwave certainly cuts down on the waiting time. But make sure that your baby’s food doesn’t have any hot-spots that using a microwave is known for.
Firstly, make sure that the food container is safe to use in the microwave. Microwave-safe containers, such as Cherub Baby’s On the Go food Pouches, should be marked as such. Heating baby food in other types of plastic storage containers can cause potentially harmful chemicals and toxic substances such as BPA to leach into the food. Even microwave-safe plastic wrap should not be in direct contact with your baby’s food.
Another great way to heat food while on the go is through food pouch gel warmers. With Cherub Baby’s Travel Warmers you can heat your baby food when on the go. The Click n Go Travel warmer heats quickly and easily with no batteries or mains power required! Simply place your baby food pouch inside the gel warmer, click the metal disc and the gel instantly heats up warming baby’s food to the correct temperature – it will not overheat. The gel warmer does amazing things as it heats and makes your homemade baby food very comforting for baby. Designed in Australia for use with store bought baby food pouches and the Cherub Baby On the Go Food Pouches.
So there you go! It’s so easy to prepare homemade baby food without setting aside food safety!