Making Baby Food

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Making-Baby-Food_cBy making baby food yourself, you can be sure of using only the best quality ingredients without the need for thickeners or additives. It also works out much cheaper to make baby food at home rather than buying commercial brands. Introducing a wide range of foods is important in establishing a varied and healthy diet and you can make up your own combinations to suit your baby. You have the choice of organic fruit and vegetables if you like.

 

Judging quantities

It is difficult to predict how much a baby will eat since all babies appetites and needs are different. As a very rough guide you will probably find that at the beginning your baby will only take one or two teaspoons of puree so allow about one tablespoon or one ice-cube portion. As your baby develops, probably the best advice is to offer your baby a couple of teaspoons of puree and keep going until her interest starts to wane. Provided your baby is gaining weight and has plenty of energy you can rest assured that she is doing fine. If your baby has an insatiable appetite and you are worried that she is overweight, then seek professional advice.

Texture

To begin with, purees should be quite runny, resembling the consistency of a thick soup, and made up of only one or two ingredients. Your baby's purees should not be made up with tap water that has not been boiled but only with the water from the bottom of the steamer or the cooking liquid if boiling vegetables in a saucepan. You can thin purees by adding extra cooking liquid or milk and thicken purees by stirring in a little baby rice.

What temperature?

A baby's mouth is more sensitive to heat than ours and food should be given at room temperature or lukewarm. If re-heating in a microwave, heat until piping hot all the way through, allow to cool, then stir thoroughly to get rid of any hot spots and check the temperature before giving it to your baby.

Hygiene

Very young babies are particularly vulnerable to the effects of food poisoning so you should take great care in the storage and preparation of your baby's food. Warm milk is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so scrupulously wash and sterilise bottles, teats and feeding cup spouts for the first year, weaning spoons should be sterilised for the first nine months. However, once your baby is crawling around and exploring objects in his mouth, there is little point in sterilising anything other than bottles and teats. Your baby's bowls can be washed in a dishwasher but should be wiped with a clean tea towel most popular methods of sterilising are a microwave or steam steriliser or tablets or solution.

Methods of cooking

Boiling: Use the minimum amount of water and be careful not to overcook the vegetables and fruits. Add enough of the cooking liquid to make a smooth puree.

Microwaving: Chop the vegetables or fruit and put in a suitable dish. Add a little water, cover leaving an air vent and cook on full power until tender. Puree to the desired consistency but take care to stir well and check that it is not too hot to serve to your baby.

Steaming: This is the best way to preserve the fresh taste and vitamins in vegetables and fruits. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble and can easily be destroyed by overcooking, especially when fruits and vegetables are boiled in water.

Freezing

You will find that if you try to make very small portions of baby purees, it will be difficult to blend them to a very smooth texture. So it is much less time consuming to prepare your baby's food in batches and freeze individual portions in ice-cube trays or small freezer containers. Freeze the food as soon as it has cooled down.

Thaw foods by either taking them out of the freezer several hours before a meal, heating gently in a saucepan or defrosting in a microwave. Always re-heat foods thoroughly, allow to cool and test the temperature of the food before giving it to your baby. If re-heating in a microwave, make sure that you stir the food to get rid of any hot spots.

Never re-freeze meals that have already been frozen and do not re-heat foods more than once. However, commercially frozen foods like frozen peas can be re-frozen once they have been cooked.

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