Stage 1 Baby Food and Beyond: What Do Those Labels Mean?
You’ve probably seen phrases like Stage 1 baby food on various products and parenting sites, but what do labels like these actually mean?
Plus, how do you know when your little one is ready to move from one stage to the next?
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has broken down the most common baby food stages:
Stage 1 Baby Food: Usually served to babies between 4 and 6 months old. This stage includes liquified purres that should be given one to two tablespoons at a time. Stage 2 Baby Food: Normally served to babies between 6 and 9 months old. Stage 2 foods tend to be thicker purees babies can eat in two to four tablespoon increments. Stage 3 Baby Food: Often served to babies between 10 and 12 months old (sometimes sooner.) You can begin to replace traditional purees with soft, chewable chunks of food or finger foods they can easily pick up and feed themselves with.
How to Make Baby Food (Made Easy!)
Now that you understand the benefits of homemade baby food, it’s time to start talking about the main event – how to make baby food!
We’ve created several different sections to help you figure out the process one step at a time.
1. Equipment You’ll Need
Other than the actual ingredients you choose for your homemade baby food, you won’t need much else in the way of equipment. Our top recommendations include:
If you’re interested in a more advanced all-in-one baby food making system that steams and blends produce, many parents like this
baby food maker from EVLA’s.
2. Preparing Your Ingredients
Once you’ve cleaned your workstation and thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water (don’t forget to
sing Happy Birthday two times!), it’s time to prep your ingredients.
If you’re using various oats, rice, or grains, cook them based on the package instructions.
For produce, you’ll want to wash them thoroughly first. From there, if you’re dealing with hard foods, such t as sweet potatoes, apples, or carrots, you can roast, steam, or boil them. For softer foods, such as bananas, you’ll need to remove peels and/or seeds if they have them.
3. Making Your Homemade Baby Food
After you’ve finished preparing your ingredients, the baby food-making process can begin. Simply use a strainer, masher, or food processor to puree each item.
You can add formula, breast milk, or water to thin them out if the consistency seems too thick for your little one. It’s okay to have
small chunks in your homemade baby food, as long as your fingers can easily smash them.
Once you finish your puree, let it cool down, if necessary, before serving it to your little one or beginning the homemade baby food storage process.
4. Homemade Baby Food Storage
If you’re making big batches of homemade baby food at a time, one of the easiest ways to store it is to make ice cube-sized amounts.
Let your purees cool, and then fill each section of an ice cube tray with the blended mix. Place it in the freezer until it’s hard. From there, pop out each cube and store it in a storage container or Ziploc bag.
Be sure to label each container with the type of food and date before putting it in your freezer.
5. Serving Tips
When you’re ready to use one of your homemade baby food cubes, just take it out and let it thaw before use. You can warm up the food in the microwave, on the stove, or in a smaller bowl that’s submerged in a larger bowl of warm water.
Don’t forget to check the temperature before serving it to your little one! You should heat previously frozen baby food to approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit .
Is There Still a Way to Use Baby Food Pouches?
We know what you’re thinking – isn’t there a convenient way to make some sort of homemade baby food pouches? We don’t blame your curiosity. After all, I’m pretty sure those baby food pouches are one of the best and most convenient inventions of all time.
You’ll be happy to hear that you can still serve homemade baby food in pouch form!
If this is something you’re interested in, add a product like the
Infantino Squeeze Station to your “How to make baby food” equipment list. This will let you reap the benefits of making your own baby food and still allow you to use handy homemade baby food pouches.
Try not to worry if your baby makes weird faces at new foods! They are simply experiencing brand new textures and flavors.
Homemade Baby Food Recipes: 6 to 8 Months
Once your little ones hit their
six month birthday, it’s time to start introducing them to the wide world of solid foods. While baby oatmeal and rice cereal are always great places to start, they don’t provide a lot of flavor exposure.
So, as you’re figuring out how to make baby food, why not consider these baby food ideas for little ones between 6 to 8 months?
To start, you might want to try simple purees that include one ingredient at a time. The best options for new eaters include:
Smashed Avocado Pureed Sweet Potato Smashed Banana Unsweetened Apple Sauce Mashed Potatoes Pureed Butternut Squash Pureed Carrots Pureed Green Peas
Once you’ve introduced a good selection of ingredients, you can begin making combinations. Some favorites in our household included:
Peas and Carrots Sweet Potato and Apples Butternut Squash and Carrots Avocado and Banana Blueberries and Banana Broccoli and Sweet Potato
And don’t forget, you can also add in simple herbs, such as thyme, cinnamon, or basil, to accent your combinations. Just steer clear of things like salt and butter.
What Foods Should You Avoid for Your Baby?
While the world is your oyster in terms of exposing your baby to different types of homemade baby food, it’s essential to realize that certain ingredients aren’t good for little ones or can be choking hazards .
Stay away from things like:
Sugar Honey Undercooked Eggs Hot Dogs Popcorn Hard Candy Marshmallows Nuts Peanut Butter Dried Fruits Uncut Grapes
Learning How to Make Baby Food is as Easy as 1,2,3!
So there you have it; while making homemade baby food might seem like a challenge, it’s much simpler than you’d think. All it takes is a little time, planning, and a few pieces of equipment to make your baby the healthy, beneficial food you’ve been hoping for.
Have you ever considered learning how to make baby food? Do you feel ready to give it a try?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.