August 22, 2011

Guide for new mommies: Make your own baby food!

Why make your own baby food?
Making baby food at home helps you to:
Save money! Offer a greater variety of food (little variety of jarred baby food is available). Make the change from puréed to mashed foods easier. Teach children at an early age that home-made foods are the first choice,and not to rely on processed foods when they are hungry. Mix home-made baby food with breastmilk or formula (jarred baby food is mixed with water). Introduce food related traditions to your baby. Control what is added to your child’s food.
Cook and store food safely. Clean your hands with warm soapy water before making any food. Clean all utensils (strainer, cutting board, spoon, etc.) in a dishwasher or hand wash them using hot, soapy water. Rinse and allow to air dry. Cover the food once it has been cooked and put in the fridge or freeze right away.

Storing Home-made Baby Food
Home-made baby food can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Home-made Purée Storage Time in Freezer Vegetables 6-8 months
Fruits 6-8 months
Meat,poultry or fish (cooked) 10 weeks
Mixed Vegetable & Meat 10 weeks
Purée containing milk   6 weeks

To make and freeze your own baby food, use the “Cube Method” or the “Drop Method”.

Cube Method
• Place about 2 tablespoons of puréed food in each cube of a plastic “pop out” ice cube tray.
• Put in freezer.
• When frozen (1-2 hours), “pop” out the frozen cubes of food and place in freezer bags.
• Write the name of the food and the date it was made on the bag with a waterproof marker.
• When you want to use the food, take out one frozen cube and defrost it in the fridge or put it in a plastic bag and place in warm water.

Drop Method
• Drop spoonfuls of puréed food onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. They will land on the baking sheet in a “drop” shape.
• Put in the freezer.
• When frozen (1-2 hours), remove food from the cookie sheet and transfer puréed “drops” to a freezer bag.
• Write the name of the food and the date it was made on the bag with a waterproof marker.
• When you want to use the food, take out one frozen drop and defrost it in the fridge or put it in a plastic bag and place in warm water.

Warming Baby Food
You can thaw frozen food in the refrigerator. An egg poacher, double boiler or a dish in hot water are good ways to warm baby food. Be sure to stir the food and test the temperature on the back of your hand before serving it to your baby. What feels warm to you may feel hot to your baby. 

Microwave Safety
Do NOT use a microwave to heat baby food.
• Drops of water in puréed food heat up quickly and can form pockets of steam. These pockets may cause burns when the food is eaten.
• Do not use baby food jars or other small jars to heat food in the microwave. The jar may break from a build-up of steam.

The following vegetables contain nitrates:

You may have heard to avoid giving your baby some vegetables because they contain nitrates. When some vegetables are boiled, such as those listed above, nitrates become concentrated in the cooking water. Babies can become very sick if they eat a high amount of nitrates. This can happen if the cooking water is used to puree the cooked vegetables. The concern about nitrates in some vegetables applies to
babies less than 6 months of age. Once a baby turns 6 months old, the risk is much less and it is okay to use the cooking water.
Current infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. Solid foods, including vegetables, do not need to be offered to babies until after they are 6 months of age (whether they are breastfed or formula fed).

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