Baby food…there are literally hundreds of options at the store, including all natural and organic options. But, did you know it’s super easy, convenient and less expensive to make your own? And perhaps the greatest benefit is that it’s far better for your baby’s development!
I know it sounds too good to be true, but here’s the deal: as moms, we pay so much attention and we are so careful with what we eat (and don’t eat) when we’re pregnant, because it’s what’s best for our baby. After the baby is born, we obsess over breastfeeding or formula because we want to do what’s right. Well, our baby’s first foods are just as important!
In fact, a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that optimal nutrition in the first 2 years of life is crucial to your baby’s brain development. Specifically, vitamins A, D, B6 and B12, as well as zinc, iron, and folate are essential for baby’s healthy brain. Knowing what’s in your baby’s food is important for their overall health. For me, making homemade baby food is not only about knowing and controlling what’s in your baby’s food, but also about what’s NOT– this includes preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and even added sugar that can be found in some commercially available food.
As a pediatrician, I recommend starting your baby on solid foods around 4-6 months, and when they’re developmentally ready. How do you know your baby is ready for “real” food? Look for these signs:
- Head control: Your baby should be able to sit upright in a high chair or feeding chair with good head control.
- Food cues: Your baby might be watching you eat, reaching for your food, or opening his/her mouth; all signs your baby might be ready to eat!
- Tongue thrust: Babies are usually ready for solids when they can successfully transfer food from the spoon into the back of his/her mouth. Be prepared, starting solids is MESSY! If your baby is dribbling too much, maybe wait a week or two and try again.
- Baby’s weight: In general, babies double their weight by about 4 months of age. Average weight of babies starting solid foods is somewhere around 13 pounds.
Making baby food can seem like an impossible task, I mean, who has time for that?! Well, let me tell you, the key to success – is having the right tools. I recommend to my moms the Baby Brezza One Step Food Maker Deluxe because it’s a gamechanger! It’s the only appliance that allows you to steam and blend fresh or frozen foods with the touch of a button and without having to transfer the food. It’s an all-in-one solution! You simply put the food (and veggies even come pre-cut now!) in the machine, push the button (go take a shower, relax, read a book-haha, like you have time for that!) and DONE! In about 10 minutes you have fresh, wholesome homemade baby food with minimal cleanup! Another huge benefit, you can save hundreds of dollars when compared to store-bought baby food.
Dr. Jacqueline Winkelmann is a well-known pediatrician in the USA with over 20 years of experience taking care of babies. She is currently a hospital pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Orange County and served previously as the hospitals Chief of Staff. She is also Mom to two beautiful children!