Making homemade baby food is a great challenge for many mothers. This is mainly because the baby food prepared at home should have all the nutrients that are necessary for the growth of the baby.
Given below is a set of do’s and don’ts in making homemade baby food.
Do’s: Prepare food that can be digested easily by the baby, so start with single ingredient cereal. It is safe to introduce one new food in a week as this will help in detecting any allergens. It is necessary to introduce meat only after introducing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Use boiled water, breast milk, broth, cow’s milk formula, apple juice or yogurt as thinners. Likewise use cottage or farmer cheese, smashed sweet potato, smashed white potato, wheat germ, whole grain cereal, cooked egg yolks or yogurt as thickeners. Do not use leftover food after some time because bacteria form quickly in the leftover food, so it is advisable to discard it immediately.
Don’ts: Do not add salt, spices or sugar to baby food. Adding salt to baby food is not good as the baby’s kidneys will be too immature to deal with salt, so it may cause harmful effect on baby’s health like dehydration. Do not add spices to baby food because their tongues are not battered so they may not like spicy food. Sugar is not necessary for making baby food as it is got from breast milk, fruits, vegetables and formulas.
Do not use canned vegetables as they are loaded with additives and sodium. Do not boil vegetables and fruits because it may lose its natural vitamins and minerals. So it is better to microwave or steam vegetables and fruits for making baby food. It is not good to introduce honey before one year of age as it may contract infant botulism.
Similarly avoid beets, spinach, collards, turnip as they have high concentration of naturally occurring nitrates that can reduce baby’s hemoglobin levels. Eggs whites should be avoided as it has potential allergens.
Fruits such as tangerines, pineapple and oranges should be avoided as these are highly acidic as it may have ill effect on baby’s digestive system. Till two years of age it is better to avoid peanut butter, nuts, popcorn, raisins and raw vegetables and unpeeled fruits. Limit the intake of fat as it may hinder child’s development.