When breast milk alone is not able to meet the nutritional requirement of the baby, other foods and liquids are introduced along with it. This transition from exclusive breast milk feeds to other family food is known as complementary feeding.
6 months is an appropriate age when complementary foods or baby food are recommended to an infant(1). Some studies also indicated that the babies who started eating some type of food earlier than 6 months have reduced risk of allergies and asthma(2). But, it is always good to contact a pediatrician before giving solid food to your baby.
Important Tips When Starting Baby Food
There are few things which a parent should make a note of when the infant starts feeding on baby food.
- As a beginner, the infant might consume just a tablespoon or two. Do not forcefully feed the child.
- Check out if any food the baby is allergic to.
- Try and make eating a fun time, so that the child enjoys what he is eating.
5 Different Homemade Baby Foods
An infant eats food that is pureed and it is best if prepared at home. Various baby foods are available in the market but nothing is better than homemade baby food.
Here is a list of few simple homemade baby foods which can be easy to prepare and very healthy for your little one.
Peas are a rich source of nutrients and vitamins containing vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, protein, and calcium.
Steam peas and puree them with milk, preferably breast milk, until creamy. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the lumps.
Bananas are rich in potassium and fiber and a perfect beginner food. Almost all babies love to eat it.
Banana is also known as a natural antacid and is very light on the stomach.
Peel the banana and blend it with milk into a smooth consistency. You can also mash the banana with a fork, but remember this keeps the consistency a bit thick.
Avocado contains folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, iron, and healthy fats. It is very good for the brain and nervous system development. The creamy texture of the puree is loved by the babies.
Mash avocado with a fork or blend it in a food processor. You can add breast milk or formula milk or water to reach desired consistency.
To prevent the browning of avocado you can keep its puree in a refrigerator.
Sweet Potato Puree
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and are well-known for their numerous health benefits. Why not let our children benefit from it as well.
Simply puree a sweet potato with a touch of water or milk. Little ones really enjoy this yummy and nutritious delight.
Carrots have a sweet taste and a pleasant texture. They are a rich source of vitamin A, beta carotene and anti-oxidants.
Peel few carrots, and boil them for 25 minutes or longer. Puree it in a food processor.
Benefits of Homemade Baby Food
There are several benefits of giving the baby, homemade food.
- Homemade Food Is Less Processed: Homemade food does not undergo the refinement process the store made food does. It consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- You Can Have More Variety With Homemade Food: Packed food has limited variety and flavors which you can increase when you make something at home. You can add numerous flavors to help baby develop taste for most of the things.
- Homemade Food Is Nutritious: The packaged food is pasteurized and preserved to kill the microbes which kill the nutritive value as well. Homemade baby food is freshly made and whenever you want your child to have it you can instantly make it. There is no need of adding any preservative.
- Homemade Food Is Pocket-Friendly: Homemade food cuts the unnecessary expense of manufacturing, processing, and packaging. Instead of splurging on fancy store-bought organic food can pick the fresh local food from the food market.
- Reduces Child’s Fussiness: Babies are mostly fussy when food is introduced. Through a homemade variety of flavors, textures, and aroma, you can help those picky eaters to develop eating habits.