The first four to six months with a baby goes by fast! As they say: the days are long and the years are short with kids. Just when you’ve gotten the hang of breastfeeding or making bottles, it’s time to introduce actual food.
Is your baby ready to transition to solid foods? Your pediatrician would give you the best guidance on that, based on your child’s development. If you have the go-ahead, then you may be wondering how to make your own baby food at home.
We’ve got all the steps covered here.
I love the idea of homemade baby food because I can choose exactly what ingredients to use. Once you get a good system down, it’s super gratifying to make baby food at home. Plus, it actually saves money!
Baby food from scratch means you can serve truly tasty and nutritious food. You’re able to choose the freshest, healthiest ingredients that you know appeal to your baby.
In addition, you can make sure the bad stuff — preservatives, pesticides, and additives — stay out of your baby’s belly.
Making your own baby foods has the added benefit of exposing your baby to more flavors, ensuring he or she becomes an adventurous eater later in life.
This article will help you learn how to make your own baby food, including:
- Baby food ingredient prep
- Cooking, pureeing and storing baby food
- Baby food recipes for 6-12 months of age
- Tools and baby food recipe books
Let’s dive into the world of homemade baby food!
How to Make Baby Food
Here’s the scoop on how to make your own baby food, DIY-style.
First, you’ll need to know when to start solid foods with your child.
Doctors say that most babies are ready for solid foods between four and six months of age. Talk to your pediatrician first.
You still have plenty of time to gather equipment and research baby food recipes before you have to launch your home baby food assembly line. Hence, this article and Amazon Prime. 😉
All you’ll need to make baby food at home is:
- a blender, food processor, or stick blender
- a few ice cube trays
- freezer containers or bags
- fresh, wholesome food
When you’re ready to begin, there are just a few steps to learn before you’re on your way to preparing delicious, nutritious, easy-to-make baby food.
Let’s go over each step in order.
Making Baby Food for Age 6 Months and Up
These steps are for the simplest purees that first-time solid food eaters would enjoy.
While preparation and storage will remain the same for all ages, older babies can handle more texture and flavor in their foods. Therefore, some recipes for older babies will include spices for seasoning.
1. Baby Food Prep
The best way to make your own baby food is to start with organic, wholesome ingredients. For all produce, you’ll need to:
- carefully wash it,
- peel it, and
- remove any seeds or pits.
Choose organic produce when possible for making baby food, especially for the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables. These are the ones determined for 2019 to contain the most pesticides:
Any fruits or vegetables that are grown close to the ground should be handled with special care, since they could also have Clostridium botulinum spores or be contaminated with other harmful bacteria from the soil.
I always use an organic produce wash like Fit Organic Fruit and Vegetable Wash. It removes 98% more pesticides and waxes than water alone.
If you’re preparing meats, remove all skin, bones, gristle and fat before processing.
2. How to Cook Baby Food
All baby foods should be cooked until very tender. In order to retain the greatest number of vitamins and minerals, steaming and microwaving with just a little water is the best practice.
If you’re cooking fish, meat, poultry, or eggs, be sure to cook everything to the proper temperature. Well-done is a good standard. Babies are more susceptible to food poisoning contracted from undercooked foods.
Make sure to remove and prepare the baby’s portion separately from the rest of the family’s food.
Babies are sensitive to salt and spices, so you’ll want to keep these to a minimum or remove them entirely, in the case of younger babies.
3. How to Puree Baby Food
Let your food cool a bit first, then puree. For pureeing, you can use a stick or immersion blender for the fastest clean-up and ease of use.
Of course, a food processor will work as well, or a traditional blender, depending on which you have handy. I use our Ninja Professional to make baby food. Plus, it gets a ton of use for smoothies that my older toddlers drink (gotta hide those veggies somewhere!).
If you’re serious and plan on consistently making fresh baby food for your little ones (current and future), consider investing in one of these baby food makers.
When pureeing fresh fruit, its own juice is enough to add sweetness. Never add corn syrup, sugar, or any other sweetener to your homemade baby food. Honey is especially a no-no for babies under age 1, because of the risk of botulism.
You can add breast milk or formula if you like, and it’s fine to puree two foods together, such as apples and sweet potatoes.
After you’ve pureed your food, it’s time to store it if you’re not going to feed it to your baby immediately.
4. How to Store Homemade Baby Food
The easiest way to store homemade baby food is in the freezer. Using a clean ice-cube tray, freeze the puree in small portions, covered with plastic wrap.
Once the food is frozen, pop the cubes out and place them into freezer-safe, airtight, food-safe containers. Each cube is about one ounce of food.
You could also plop portions of puree onto a lined cookie sheet with a tablespoon or cookie scoop, freeze, then transfer to food-safe freezer containers to store in your freezer.
I love these handy and highly-rated silicone molds for storing homemade baby food. These are the best baby food freezer trays.
All frozen baby food should be used within one month of freezing, so be sure to label your containers.
Need to take baby food on-the-go? These baby food pouches from Infantino are so convenient and easy to use!
Now that you know how to make your own baby food, let’s look at some simple, but delicious recipes that will make your hungry little one smile!
Best Baby Food Recipes
Below are some of the best baby food recipes from around the web for you to try with your own little one. To make it easy, I’ve divided them into “Stages,” just like the ones prepared foods use.
Just click the link and learn how to make each delicious baby food on the list!
Stage 1 Baby Food Recipes (4-5 Months)
Stage 1 foods are the first step in solid foods, a pretty thin puree that’s good for 4-6 months of age:
These recipes are a great start for baby. They’re fresh and wholesome without added spices, salt, or sweeteners.
Stage 2 Baby Food Recipes (6-8 Months)
Stage 2 covers 6-8 months and adds a bit more thickness to encourage chewing:
These recipes add a bit more interest to baby’s food choices. You’ll see we’ve added grains into this batch, and baby is exploring other flavors like subtle spices and textures, like avocado.
Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes (9-12 Months)
Stage 3 foods can be eaten from 9-12 months. These have more texture, added spices, and even tiny chunks to keep baby’s taste buds alive and interested:
These recipes are the last baby food before your little one starts eating their “big girl” or “big boy” foods fit for toddlers. Time flies!
Making Your Own Baby Food Books
Looking to have oodles of yummy baby food recipes on hand? Take a look at these top-rated recipe books:
- The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purées, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage
- Real Baby Food: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler
- Fast & Fresh Baby Food Cookbook: 120 Ridiculously Simple and Naturally Wholesome Baby Food Recipes
Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Food — For Both Baby and You!
Learning how to make your own baby food is not only good for baby. Making fresh, nutritious meals for your little one ensures no pesticides, preservatives, or other additives are on the menu.
Making your baby food at home also saves you a lot of money. In fact, it can save you about 50%, no matter whether you’re buying organic or non-organic food.
When you’ve got children at home, your budget is important.
Learning how to make baby food can contribute to savings and provide the peace of mind that knowing how your baby’s food is sourced, prepared, and stored can bring.
What is your favorite recipe? Do you have any great tips on how to make baby food?
Share in the comments below!