It’s easy today to get lost in the Instagram squares of beautiful kitchens and perfect families, but the reality of #momlife is usually far from the tidy countertops we see on social media. For any of you moms making homemade baby food – you know just how messy the kitchen can get!
Homemade baby food is the golden standard when it comes to feeding your infant, but it can be intimidating when you first start solids with your baby. When your baby is given the okay to start solids, often times there are so many questions that come up:
- What are the best baby food combinations for my 6 month old?
- What’s the right texture for my baby?
- How long is homemade baby food good for?
- How to make easy homemade babyfood recipes?
These are just some of the questions you may think about when starting your journey to solids with your baby. This is why the founder of Amara baby food, Jessica, came up with 5 tips for making homemade baby food when you’re in a rush.
1. Make big batches to freeze
Cooking in blocks (ie Sunday cook) makes it easier to manage when the middle of your week gets busy. Make enough homemade baby food for several weeks and put it into freezer trays. You can keep each recipe or baby food blend separate and be sure to label and date it.
Pro tip: Once you prepare homemade baby food, you either want to freeze it right away (it should last up to 3 months in your freezer) or keep it in the refrigerator and eat it within 48-72 hours.
2. Store or freeze right into reusable pouches
Freezing some of your homemade baby food ahead of time in the actual reusable pouches that your baby will eat from is a huge time saving hack. This way you can take them out as you need them and don’t have extra dishes to wash.
The Baby Brezza pouches are the perfect solution to storing, freezing, and serving your child’s homemade baby food. They’re easy to pour in, clean, and dispense.
Can’t decide what reusable pouch to use? We did a deep dive on the comparisons between all the different kinds of homemade baby food storage here.
3. Stick to simple blends
Your baby doesn’t have too many taste buds yet and sticking to simple blend of fruits or veggies will still give them a great idea for tasting solids. This will also make preparing homemade baby food much easier for you!
Simply using just a puree of sweet potatoes, carrots, or peas will go a long way. You can add spices or texture when you’re ready to serve it to your baby to give it some variety or even combine different blends. However, this doesn’t need to be done in the initial prep stage.
Some spices you add to homemade baby food are: cinnamon, mint, or parsley. You don’t want to shock them with a huge amount of spice and seasonings, but a small pinch can introduce your baby to a whole new world of flavor.
4. Use a rice cooker or slow cooker for easy steaming
You don’t need a fancy baby food making machine. Just use a kitchen gadget that you already have at home.
Using a rice cooker to steam your veggies makes it easy to chop your ingredients and place them in to get cooked. Set a timer and forget about them while you do something else!
Best Baby Food Recipe Combinations for a 6 Month Old + Baby
As stated before, chop, cook, puree, and freeze all of your ingredients separately. This way you can create different combinations of blends for various homemade baby food recipes at different times.
These homemade baby food recipes are really easy to make quickly because a lot of the vegetables you can find cut and frozen in the supermarket. Just make sure to lightly steam or blanch the vegetables before you blend them.
Now that you know how to make homemade baby food, fast and easy, here are my personal best homemade baby food recipe combinations:
- Sweet potato and a berry (raspberry, blueberry or strawberry are great) – the savory sweet potato combines perfectly with the tart taste of a berry
- Peas with mint – you can buy frozen peas and lightly steam them with mint herbs to create a delicious savory baby food recipe for your little. If you’re making it at home – I would use 1-2 leaves of mint, hopefully organic if you can.
- Pumpkin and pear – this savory vegetable makes a great first vegetable for your baby. You can combine it with a bit of fruit to create a really nice smooth texture. If you want to introduce spices for your baby – you can also add a pinch of cinnamon spice in the blend.
Check out some of these no-cook homemade baby food recipes here or recipes for homemade baby food with carrots and other veggies here.
How do I know if my baby is ready for solid foods?
Most babies are ready to start baby food when they are about 6 months old and show the signs of readiness, including the ability to sit up without support, being ready and willing to chew, have lost the tongue thrust reflex, eager to participate in meal time, and has a developed a pincer grasp for picking up small table foods.
What is the right texture of homemade baby food for my baby?
One of the big reasons why homemade baby food is better than store bought baby food is the texture you’re able to introduce your baby to with homemade baby food. Real food has different textures, but store bought brands are generally all similar, smooth textures.
As you’re blending homemade baby food – you want to make sure that you’re getting the right texture.
If your baby is 6 months old, you want to leave the puree more runny as your baby is just starting to learn how to swallow. As you make baby food specifically for your 7 month or 8 month old baby, you will start to make the puree a bit thicker as they will already have experience with foods and swallowing textures.
Don’t forget to watch your baby as they are eating to understand how comfortable they are with swallowing and with eating different textures. It can take up to 10 tries to introduce a different flavor or texture, so start slow but don’t give up!
As your baby gets older to 9 months old or greater, the texture of your homemade baby food will start to get thicker and more developed.
It’s critical to introduce your baby to the taste, texture and smells of real food early so they can develop healthy eating habits later in life.
How long is homemade baby food good for?
Homemade baby food can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Homemade baby food made with vegetables and fruits can stay in the refrigerator for up to 48-72 hours. If you’re making baby food with meat, poultry, or fish, they should be eaten within 24 hours of cooking and refrigerated very soon after cooking.
Try Amara Pre-Made Homemade Baby Food!
Don’t have the time or resources for all this prep work, but still feel guilty giving your baby food from a jar on the store shelf? Amara Baby Food has made homemade baby food possible for everyone!
Amara brings all the benefits of fresh, homemade solids – ready in seconds. We’ve done all the prep work for you and guarantee that it’s fresh. Just mix with breastmilk, water or formula and your nutrient rich meal is ready to go.
When we started Amara, we wanted to bridge the gap between homemade baby food and the super processed jars and pouches we found at the grocery stores. Homemade baby food was more of a dream than a reality for us because of the time that went into it. However, we know that there were so many benefits to homemade baby food that we had to find a better way to get the best of both worlds.
At Amara, we know sometimes homemade is more of a dream than reality. That’s why Amara baby food brings you all the benefits of fresh, without starting from scratch. Shop our organic, 100% whole fruit, vegetable and plant based protein meals here. Designed for an easy transition from boob to spoon – just mix with breastmilk, formula or water. We got you.
So, whether you’re making homemade baby food (you super mom you) or, like 99% of us – using a mix of convenient baby food purees and homemade – we hope this helps make homemade baby food easier (and faster!).
At Amara, we use a nutrient protection technology that locks in the taste, texture and nutrients of fresh and brings you all the benefits of homemade without starting from scratch. Just mix breastmilk, formula or water and your nutrient rich meal is ready to go.
Written by: Jessica Sturzenegger, Founder @Amarababyfood