Introducing Kate to solid foods was probably the first thing that really had me rattled as a parent. We waited until Kate was 6 months old before she had her first “solid” (super soupy rice cereal) and after that I had no clue what to do! Should we start with veggies? Fruits? Which ones? How much? And how in the world do you prepare these things??
I decided before Kate was born that I was going to make all her pureed baby food from scratch when the time came. The only problem was I had no idea what the hell I was doing! I asked for a food processor for Christmas and that seemed like a pretty good start…
My next step was to ask my friend Jill to come with me to our local grocery co-op and teach me how to shop the produce section.
(I’m not joking. That really happened.)
If you haven’t already picked up on it, my point is this: If I can make baby food from scratch, anyone can.
Prior to diving into this little project, I couldn’t tell a lime from an avocado from a mango. I’m the girl that asked the produce guy at Whole Foods to help me find a butternut squash…in the middle of summer. (He laughed at me.) I had to YouTube how to cut an avocado, for crying out loud!
Since that time I’ve learned a lot about how to prepare wholesome, nutritious foods for Kate, and my biggest resource–especially when it came to learning about homemade purees–was WholesomeBabyFood.com. This website covers a wide variety of topics such as Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Food?, How Much Food Should My Baby Eat?, food allergies, forbidden baby foods, how to puree and store, and my favorite–food charts based on age, and recipes based on stages.
I know it can seem incredibly overwhelming at first–especially if you’re starting out with as little knowledge of how to prepare fruits and vegetables as I had!–so I’m going to share how I generally tackled things.
First, I started with the Wholesome Baby Food age-based food charts. Keep in mind these age ranges are just general guidelines that you should adjust as needed based on your child. For example, we waited until Kate was 6 months old to start her on her first solids, but we still used the “4-6 Month Chart” as our guide (versus the 6-8 Month Chart) because that was the stage we were in. It’s also very important to consult with your child’s pediatrician about introducing new foods for your baby. This post (and the website I’m referencing) are not meant to be substitutions for your pediatrician’s recommendations and your own research and judgement of what’s best for your child.
|4-6 Months Food Chart
|6-8 Months Food Chart
|8-10 Months Food Chart
|10-12 Months Food Chart
After referencing the appropriate food chart, I chose one food item that I was going to introduce to Kate, and I did my research on how to select, store, and prepare that item. Working with one food item at a time helped me feel less overwhelmed and also slowed down the urgency I felt to introduce Kate to everything and get my freezer stocked with 20 different purees. Remember, this is not a race–it’s okay to take your time. The “4 day wait rule” also helps because it forces you to slow things down and not rush the process.
Once you’ve chosen your food item–let’s use sweet potatoes for this example–hover your mouse over “Vegetables” in the green menu bar at the top of the site and select “Sweet Potato” from the orange drop-down box that appears:
This brings you to the Sweet Potato page, which covers pretty much everything you could ever want to know about sweet potatoes–their nutritional value, how to properly select and store them, the best ways to cook them for baby food, and of course, lots of related baby food recipes!
Every couple of days I choose a new food item to make for Kate until we had worked our way through the food charts and I had a freezer full of nutritious goodness!
One last bit of advice–don’t go too overboard on stocking your freezer with purees for your little one because you never know how long they’ll be at that stage. Once we introduced Kate to finger foods she no longer had an interest in her purees, so she was really only in that stage for about two months. Luckily I was able to get creative and incorporate my stockpile of purees into finger food recipes, but if I knew then what I know now I could’ve saved myself a lot of time!