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Homemade Baby Food

Making your own baby food can sound like a daunting task, but not only can it be substantially more nutritious (and fresh!) for your little one, it can also be more economical.

The first thing you may be wondering is if organic foods will really be more beneficial to your child, and that choice can really end up being a very personal one, there are the facts: organic foods are healthier due to the lack of chemicals and synthetic pesticides.

To delve in a little deeper, I ended up reading a science based article on Time titled, "Why Organic Is the Right Choice for Parents", I learned:
"
While we can’t limit all of our children’s exposures to toxins in the environment, we do have a say in the food they eat. And one of the best ways to limit their exposure to these chemicals is to choose an organic diet ... Organic food is a healthy choice for all of us but especially for kids. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to chemicals, in part because their immune systems are still developing and in part because, pound for pound, they’re exposed to more chemical residues than adults. Another reason is that children and babies tend to eat a lot more of certain foods than adults — think bananas or apples."

But realistically, the choice to buy organic for a lot of people is based on where they live, their lifestyle choices, the availability of such products, and when it comes down to it: the cost of buying organic vs. non-organic.
You can absolutely choose to subsidize organic produce with some non-organic grains, or vice versa. The point is, choosing to make your own baby food (organic or non) is fresh, wholesome, and a great choice to understand exactly what you're feeding your child.

Here's some tips to get you started:

- Be aware of common allergens and gas-inducing foods.
Common allergens include eggs, milk, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish
Honey is also best avoided the first year because it can cause botulism.
Wait until your baby is ten to twelve months old before trying gas-inducing foods such as beans, broccoli, onions, fruit juice, wheat, cauliflower, garlic and dairy.
 
- Make sure the foods you're making are age appropriate:

4-6 Months:
Stick with thin, single-ingredient purees from low-acid fruits and sweet vegetables.

7-8 Months:
Start testing other fruits and vegetables and proteins such as lentils and meats in thicker purees.

9-12 Months:
Your baby is probably ready for chunkier purees, small pieces of soft cooked veggies, whole milk and dairy.

- Space new foods 4 days apart so you can spot and identify an allergy.

Most foods will need to be baked, cooked or steamed (the exception to this are bananas, avocados, melons, etc.) until they are soft. Once cooked through, put them in a blender to be pureed, add a little of the cooking water (some mothers also prefer to use breast milk in place of cooking water) to make them the necessary consistency.

- Steaming is the best way to keep the true taste of what you're cooking, and it also preserves nutrients.

- A food processor is a great tool to puree up large quantities of food, but if you don't have one, a hand blender works just as well (and are usually cheaper too!)
Only portion out what you think your baby will eat and refrigerate or freeze the rest of that delicious, homemade baby food! Remember to put a date on it, it should keep for about 6 weeks after freezing.

- Have fun and be creative! No one knows your baby better than you. You know what they like and what they don't like, so keep those common allergens in mind, but let your creative side go! You could be the next Gordon Ramsay of baby food!