Your bundle of joy has finally started eating solid food. Until now, you’ve been buying readymade baby food from the supermarket but you would like to try homemade food. No matter how good the supermarket brand is, it does have artificial preservatives, colors, and fragrance. It’s just a far better idea to cook fresh food and then puree it to suit your baby’s taste. In fact, you can literally cook anything at home and it will be good for your baby. However, since you are doing this for the first time, we do have a few tips on how to prepare healthy baby foods that will suit a growing baby and here is what you can do.
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Is your baby ready? — Before you start your baby on solid food, make sure you evaluate your baby to assess readiness for solid food. Top cues to look for include head control and swallowing reflex. For example, a baby who is ready to eat solid food will be already holding his head and nursing tops, up straight and moving his or her head to follow your movements. The extrusion reflex is also another point to watch out for. Most babies tend to push solid food out of the mouth but once they grown to 6-8 months, they lose the extrusion reflex and are ready for solid food. They also develop chewing motions and demonstrate a healthy appetite that is not satisfied with breast milk or formula.
Start With the Basics — Your baby’s first food should be a single-grain cereal. Start with rice as it is the most easily digested. You can also choose to start with a fruit or a vegetable puree. Make sure you try the same food for at least four days. This is necessary as the baby’s will learn to accept the taste and you can watch out for any food allergies or dietary problems. Once the baby has become accustomed to a single grain, you can move on to another grain, fruit or vegetable.
Foods to start with – The best fruits and vegetables to start with include carrots, bananas, green peas and butternut squash. You can also add sweet potato, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, spinach greens, and eggplant. Ideally, you don’t need to puree the foods. Just boil the vegetables and cut them into the smallest pieces possible. A six-month old baby will pick up and chew the pieces when they are hungry. Of course, for your peace of mind, you can puree the food and feed the baby with a spoon.
Adding proteins –Babies love protein. Once your baby is about seven to ten months old, you can add avocados, pureed or finely sliced chicken and hard-boiled eggs to your baby’s diet. Make sure you boil the protein properly and always add vegetables to the protein to balance out the dish. If you use spices, you can think about adding mild spices to the meal to start your baby on a variety of flavors. Just watch out for food allergies and digestive intolerance.
We hope that your baby will appreciate your efforts. Just make sure you follow the strictest hygiene standards while cooking and preparing the food and you should be fine. In fact, within a few months, you can literally set aside a little bit of your own meals for your baby and he will learn to eat the food you cook for yourself.