Making Baby Food
MN WIC Program
Many parents choose to make at least some of the solid foods they feed their baby. Homemade baby foods are less expensive, contain no added fillers, and are as fresh and nutritious as the foods you serve the rest of your family.
Babies enjoy eating with the family. To save time, blend or grind foods from your family's meal.
Homemade Baby Food Tips
- Babies' digestive systems and development are not ready for solids until 5 to 6 months of age. Wait until then before starting solid foods.
- Follow food safety guidelines very carefully as babies are just developing immune systems to fight off bacteria and germs. To keep baby's food safe, do NOT give:
- uncooked luncheon meat,
- uncooked hot dogs, or
- uncooked tofu
- Leave added sugar, salt, oil, butter and gravy out of baby's food and baby's portions of family foods.
- Use single-ingredient foods at first. Give one new food at a time and wait 5-7 days before adding another new food.
Preparing Baby Food
- Equipment Needed
A blender or food processor works best for making early foods smooth. As your baby moves on to more textured foods, a fork or food grinder is often all that is needed. Inexpensive baby food grinders are available in the baby departments of discount stores and on the Internet. Make sure all equipment and work surfaces are clean before you start.
For soft ripe fruits such as bananas, peaches, pears and avocados, simply remove any seeds and peels; then purée, grind or mash.
For other fresh or frozen fruits:
- Wash, peel and cut into small pieces.
- Add 1 cup fruit to 1/4 cup boiling water in pan or microwave-safe container.
- Cover, reduce heat and cook slowly until tender.
- Next, purée, mash or grind the cooled fruit, adding water, juice, breastmilk or formula for desired consistency.
Peeled and chopped canned fruits packed in fruit juice can be prepared without additional cooking.
Wash, peel and slice fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables without added seasonings. Boil or microwave vegetables in covered container with 1/2 to 1 inch of water until they are tender.
Purée, grind or mash with some of the cooking water.
Remove skin, bone, fat and gristle. Cut in 1/2-inch cubes and place in cooking pan. Add water just to cover and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cook slowly until very tender. (High heat makes meat tough.)
Purée or grind, adding cooking liquid, breastmilk, formula or water for desired consistency.
For cooked egg, cooked fish or cooked dry beans, purée, grind or mash finely with a fork. Add liquid for desired consistency if needed.
Storing Baby Food
Store in tightly-covered containers and place in coldest part of the refrigerator for no more than 2 days. Meats, eggs, fish and chicken should be used within 1 day.
Food Cube Method - Place puréed/mashed food into ice cube trays or a paper cupcake liners.
"Plop" Method - "Plop" spoonfuls of puréed/mashed food onto a cookie sheet.
Cover food with plastic wrap or foil and freeze.
Once frozen, put food portions in labeled and dated freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Before Mealtime, take out the food you want to serve. Thaw it in the refrigerator or in a microwave on defrost setting.
Completely reheat refrigerated or frozen baby food to at least 165° before feeding. Allow food to cool to lukewarm. Stir the food and test its temperature to make sure it is not too hot before serving to baby. Throw out any uneaten leftover food in the baby's dish or the serving dish.
Sample Baby Food Recipes
- Carrots and Apples
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut in quarters
- 1/4 cup water
1 Combine carrots, apple and water in a baking dish or microwave-safe container.
2 Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350°F or microwave for 8 minutes on high, until tender.
3 Purée or mash with a fork, adding cooking liquid for desired consistency.
- Sweet Potato Chicken
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1/4 cup cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup breastmilk, water or prepared formula
1 Wash and bake sweet potato in oven 50 minutes at 425° or microwave for 5 minutes on high heat until soft throughout.
2 Peel and combine with chicken, rice and liquid (breastmilk, water or prepared formula).
3 Blend, mash or grind until as smooth as desired.
- Mix & Match Meal
- 1 cup cooked, cubed or diced meat
- 1/2 cup cooked rice, potato, noodles or macaroni
- 3/4 cup cooked, diced vegetables
- 3/4 cup breastmilk, water or prepared formula
1 Combine and blend, grind or mash until as smooth as desired.
Some good combinations are:
- Beef, peas, and potatoes
- Chicken, broccoli, and rice
- Beef, squash, and macaroni
- Babies like trying new combinations:
- Apples and sweet potato
- Banana and avocado
- Beef and barley
- Sweet potato and papaya
- Carrots and potato
- Butternut squash and corn
- Chicken and rice