It is natural to feel a bit lost about how and where to start. But more than anything, I hope you are feeling the excitement of reaching this milestone!
I’ve put together this post to try and provide you with what you need to get started on making your own baby puree without stressing over it.
If you can’t wait to get started, feel free to jump straight to the recipes section below!
Why make your own homemade baby food?
Making your own baby food is the best way to feed your baby wholesome quality food.
First of all, you have full control of what goes into the purees. Food tastes best and nutritional values are at the highest, when the ingredients are fresh. And you can be certain that there’s no added preservatives and flavorings.
Every child is different. What works for one child may not work for another. If you are making your own puree, you have full control to tweak the texture and taste according to your baby’s taste buds.
You can make the tweaks or variations day-to-day or even meal-to-meal till you find the sweet spot for your little one, without having to wait till the next trip to the supermarket.
And I promise… it is cheaper to make your own baby puree than to buy them off the shelves. Less wastage too!
At first glance, cooking your own baby food may seem like an added new task to the never ending list of chores to do. But it is actually not that much of a hassle nor a daunting task.
Once you get the hang of it, it can be a very enjoyable process trying to introduce your baby a variety of new food and texture… and watching how they react to your new recipes.
Also, baby puree recipes can also make great side dishes or smoothie ideas for the rest of the family to enjoy? Curious to find out more?
How to make your own baby food?
The easiest way to get started is to establish a routine. What you can do is “freezer cooking” or “batch cooking” for the baby food.
That is to say… you prepare and cook a batch of ingredients, freeze them and Ta-Da… that will leave you with a lot of readily available options in the freeze.
You can choose to do so once a week or once a month. In one batch, you can easily cook up to 5-6 different food in 20-30 minutes.
When stored properly, they can last you for weeks or months.
You can store the baby food individually as single ingredient purees. Later on, you can simply mix and match them in different combinations according to the various recipes.
Alternatively, if you are sure about serving the puree in a certain combo of ingredients, you can mix them before freezing and storing. In this way, the food is ready to go as soon as possible when your hungry baby cries.
You can check out our list of favorite kitchen tools and baby food storage options here!
I do like to keep a ready stock of baby purees in the fridge or freezer so that I can easily heat it up for feeding, especially when time is tight or when I’m feeling really tired and needed something quick.
But you can also try to feed your baby as much of the same food as you are having for the meal.
From time to time, when you are cooking vegetables or serving fruits for the rest of the family, simply set aside a portion to puree for your baby. Just think of it as your baby eating a softened version of what the rest of the family is eating.
How long can homemade baby puree be stored?
According to the US FDA, refrigerated homemade baby food should be consumed within 48 hours while frozen ones can be kept up to 3-4 months.
Hence, it’s important to label everything properly with the dates. The baby food should also be kept in an air-tight food safe storage containers.
Important: If you are feeding your baby directly from a food jar, do not put it back to the refrigerator if it is not finished. It is always best to throw it away as bacteria and germs may contaminate and grow on the remaining food.
It is therefore always advisable to freeze and store the baby food in a single-serving size.
What are the stages of baby food?
Stage 1 baby food generally refers to purees for the 4-8 months old, which are thin and watery.
They tend to be fruits and vegetables that are easier to digest and lower on the scale of allergenic foods.
Examples of the first foods to introduce to your baby at this stage includes:
- Fruits – Avocado, Banana, Apple, Pear, Prunes, Peach, Mango
- Veggies – Grean beans, Carrot, Peas, Sweet Potato, Winter or Butternut Squash, Pumpkin
- Grains – Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
1st stage baby puree need not be made of just 1 single ingredient. However, when introducing new food to the baby, it should be done 1 ingredient at a time with a space of 3-5 days to monitor for any allergic reaction.
Stage 2 purees refers to thicker puree that has more texture, generally suitable for 7-10 months.
At this stage, you can introduce spices, raw fruits, meats, pasta and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.
As the baby’s molars are not grown yet, the food should still be softly cooked, and mashed or chopped/ground into very fine pieces.
Stage 3 baby food refers to a more chunky thick puree, as well as table solids.
I found this really nice food chart that shows the appropriate age to introduce the different types of food to your baby.
Do remember that these are all just guidelines. Every child is different. Some may start on solids earlier, some may start later.
It’s important not to worry too much, and if unsure, it’s always good to have a chat with your paediatrician.
There are also parents who are adopting a more baby-led weaning approach and skipping the runny purees. Most importantly, it is to introduce age-appropriate food in a variety of texture and tailoring to your baby feeding approach.
It’s not a one size fits all approach, so pay attention to what your baby is interested and enjoy the process together!
How to cook baby food?
Here’s a quick simple overview of the steps to make your own baby puree:
1. Buy the fresh produce.
2. Prep the ingredients. Wash and scrub the fruit or vegetable in water, peel and cut the ingredients into chunks if necessary.
3. Cook the ingredients until soft.
But do you know that steaming is not the only way to cook baby foods? Simmering and roasting in an oven are also great ways.
For example if you are roasting cauliflower or carrots for the family dinner, go ahead and use the roasted cauliflower for your baby’s puree. P.S Cauliflower tastes better when roasted. And there’s no reason why your little one shouldn’t enjoy the same tasty food as we do.
4. Blend or puree the food into the desired consistency. You may need to add some liquid, such as water or breast milk.
Should you get a dedicated baby food processor, a counter-top blender or a hand immersion blender? Compare the options here.
5. Let the food cool and feed your baby.
6. If you are batch cooking, store the purees in food jars or freezer-safe trays and label the ingredients and dates.
You can portion out what’s to be consumed within 48 hours and store them in the refrigerator in single-serving sizes before freezing the rest.
I like to use the Silicone Baby Food Freezer Tray by WeeSprout as it allows me to freeze the puree in 1-1.5 oz single-serve portions. They come with air-tight lids, which makes it really easy and neat to stack the trays in the freezer. And it’s easy to pop out the different ingredients I need according to the recipes.
Another good storage option is the Sage Spoonfuls Glass Storage Jars as you can heat it up and feed directly from the food jar.
Do also check out our post to find out more about our favourite homemade baby food storage and feeding supplies.
7. Thawing and heating the baby food for feeding time.
My Go-To Homemade Baby Puree Recipes That You and Your Baby Will Love
There are loads of great baby food recipes online, and here are some of my favorite baby food recipes.
Babyfoode is one of my go-to cookbook for baby food, or I should say encyclopaedia.
They’ve got recipes covering a wide range of ingredients and cooking methods for the different stages of feeding. You will learn how 1 single ingredient can be used in 8 different ways from stage 1 baby food all the way to Baby-Led Weaning!
You will also find that a lot of their puree recipes include spices. Who says baby food has to be bland?
Have fun exploring these recipes:
Stage 1 – 10 Super Starter Purees
Stage 2 – 18 Stage 2 Baby Purees
For the stage 1 purees, I highly recommend the zesty Carrot + Ginger Baby Food Puree. I love this combination as ginger works great for calming the stomach.
2. Avocado Puree by Picky Eater Blog
Avocado are one of the best first foods to be introduced to the baby. They do not need any cooking or processor. Simply mash it with your fork. The creamy and smooth texture is perfect and it is high in nutritional value. Similarly, banana is also easy to prepare, and a great combo to go with avocado.
3. 40 recipes for batch cooking by Urban Mom Tales
If you are new to batch cooking, do check out this out as Shantall guides you through 40 recipes, preparing 1 months’ worth of homemade baby food in just 1 hour.
Here’s a collection of meatless baby puree recipes by Christine. Just look at the natural lovely colors of the veggie purees! One of my favorite is the cauliflower butternut puree.
This is a stage 2 puree recipe by Meredith, Steele House Kitchen. I like that you can even make this into a superfood smoothie for yourself.
6. Kiwi, Apple, Zucchini Puree by Simply Whisked
This is a really fast and delicious recipe. It will be a really enjoyable puree, especially for babies who likes fruits more than vegetables.
7. Four vegetable purees that can be doubled great side dishes by My Fussy Eater
Great recipes that allow your baby and the rest of the family to enjoy the same food, without extra effort! Just portion out and season to our own taste!
Hope you have enjoyed the post and have fun trying out the homemade baby puree recipes! And do have a taste at your own baby food too! I’m sure many of the homemade baby food recipes shared above are something that both you and your baby can enjoy together.