Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homemade Baby Food Recipes - Stage 1 (4-6 months)

Recently, I have received several emails from my blogger friends and readers about posting some Baby Food Recipes online. For those who don't know, I have an 11-month old, who's been eating Solid since 5 months, and unlike most kids, is NOT a picky eater! Thank Heavens for that! I always knew I would make my own baby food, maybe this feeling is ingrained in the Indian culture, or maybe its just because that's how our parents fed us, and the influence carries on. Please remember that I have nothing against feeding ready-made baby food - in fact, I did start with a bottle of Gerber puree, but my little one just did not like the taste. Maybe she guessed her Mommy was a great cook, and she wanted a taste of my culinary skills too!:)

Anyways, I ended up making baby food at home and freezing it in ice-trays, so you just have to pop it in the microwave before feeding it to her. We love this arrangement, it gives me the satisfaction that I am feeding her food that's free of any preservatives, and also I know precisely what goes into each meal. And it also gives me a chance to experiment with several flavors at a time - I mix a variety of foods and she's been enjoying it all quite well. Contrary to what some may think, making Homemade baby Food is simple, easy and not as time-consuming as you might think! So here I share my most favorite baby food recipes with you. I'll divide it in Stage1, Stage2 and Toddler foods, just so we can target the correct age group. A part of the information provided below comes from 2 of my favorite Baby Food sites called Wholesome Baby Food and Homemade Baby Food Recipes. They have great information about the topic, and I'm sure you'll find an answer to many of your questions in these two places. Now, over to the recipes.

Stage 1 Baby Foods (6-8 Months)
Stage 1 Baby Food is a term that applies to baby foods that are highly pureed and strained. These foods are appropriate for babies who are just being introduced to solid foods. The foods in this range are targeted to babies who are between the ages of (4) 6 to 8 months old. Baby cereal and soft cooked thinly pureed fruits and veggies should be baby's first solid food experiences. Single ingredients only and at a space of 4 days apart with introducing each new food. You may skip the cereal and begin with a fruit like avocado or begin with a veggie like butternut squash or sweet potato as your ideal first solid food. Here are some commonly used fruits and veggies that are deemed safe enough for an infant's growing digestive system.

Apples | Avocados | Apricots | Bananas | Mangoes | Peaches | Papaya | Pears | Plums | Prunes | Pumpkin

Green Beans | Carrots | Peas | Sweet Potato | Squash

Rice | Oatmeal | Barley

You can use any of the above ingredients by peeling them, boiling/steaming them as appropriate, and pureeing them in a blender with a little bit of water. I usually freeze the purees in ice-cube trays. Then transfer the cubes to a zip-lock bag and freeze them. remove one cube, as needed, microwave it for about 10 seconds, more if needed, but in sets of 10 seconds each. Then mix some water or breastmilk before feeding to the baby. Allow it to come to room temperature so you don't burn your baby's mouth!

Important: Follow the 4-day Rule while introducing new foods to your baby - means give him a new food, then wait for 4 days to introduce any other new ingredient, and watch for allergies or signs of discomfort to know if this suits your baby's body or not. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call your Ped's office right away:) Also, do not use any dditives like Sugar, Salt, Spices for the Stage 1 foods.

Here are 5 of my favorite Stage1 Recipes:

1. Avocado Delight
Peel Avocados and remove just the meat/flesh, taking care not to scrape the ones too close to the skin. Then blend it with a little bit of water and make avocado Puree. For a fruity version, you can blend Avocado with any choice of fruit - pear, peach or banana. Make a smooth puree and freeze in ice cube trays.
Note: Do not mix 2 types of foods unless you have fed them separately to your baby and he has taken to them without any allergies.

2. AppleSauce/PlumSauce
Peel and boil Apples or Plums - you could even steam them in the microwave, then blend them with a little bit of water to form fresh fruit sauce. Both Plums and Apples have high fiber content which will help your baby stay away from constipation.

3. Peas Puree
Fresh or frozen peas that are washed and steam cooked are great finger foods for your baby. However, its advisable to puree them for the first feeding. T enhance flavor, you can add a pinch of nutmeg or some fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or mint to your green peas puree.

4. Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup
This is one of my personal favorites - Sweet potatoes have a lovely sweet flavor, and are quite healthier than the regular potatoes. After you have tried feeding sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots to your baby individually, you can combine them to make this delicious soup. Peel and boil the vegetables - add a pinch of nutmeg, cilantro and one fresh tomato to the mixture and bring to a boil. Then blend it all together, strain the puree to remove tomato seeds, and freeze as directed. This tasty soup will help your baby get accustomed to different flavors and the concept of mixed meals.

5. Butternut Squash & Oatmeal
Last but not the least, we take to a healthy puree made from Butternut squash. it has a fleshy texture and a sweeter taste. Boil the squash and blend it with water to make a puree. Freeze the cubes. When ready to serve, defrost the cube, add some water to it, then mix in some baby oatmeal and serve to your baby for a filling meal.

Introducing Solids to your baby is exciting, and should be fun for both you and your baby. Don't rush into the process, wait at least until 5-6 months before giving him his first taste of Cereal, definitely not before he can sit unassisted in his high-chair - then try these simple but delicious homemade recipes and you'll have your little one licking the bowl and the spoon in no time!

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