Baby Food 101
Now that you have your equipment and your little one is ready for solids, the first step is cereal. Yup, not particularly exciting stuff, but a necessary step. There are three basic cereals that most pediatricians recommend to start with: Rice, Oatmeal or Barley cereal. Please make sure that whichever one you chose, you buy a single grain cereal first. Gerber makes both Oatmeal and Rice cereals. They even have an organic oatmeal cereal. Earth’s Best has a wonderful organic oatmeal cereal that is iron fortified. I started with a simple rice cereal. I combined 2 tablespoons of the rice cereal with 4 tablespoons of formula. If you are breastfeeding, use breastmilk. Please follow preparation instructions carefully and always make sure the cereal is warm. Cold cereal will not be as welcomed by your little one as warm cereal and cold foods can cause belly aches sometimes.
Your little one will more than likely end up with most of the cereal on his/her bib than in his/her mouth. That’s totally normal. It will take your baby a good 4-7 tries before he/she gets the hang of it. Eventually, he/she will be ready for a bit of flavor.
I am a big believer that babies should be introduced to veggies first as they tend to be less sweet than fruits. But your baby may not agree with that direction. Babies in general LOVE sweet foods. That’s why most pediatricians ask parents to start their babies with applesauce. I started mine with green beans, he ate it, but was not a fan. So I moved on to peas, which he adored as peas are sweeter.
Here are some great first food starters. I mixed each one when I introduced them to my little man with his cereal. And eventually I served the fruit or veggie on it’s own. You can do it this way or go straight to serving the food on it’s own.
Creamy vegetable or fruit puree:
1 tablespoon rice cereal
3 tablespoons breastmilk, formula or whole milk
1/4 cup of any of the following vegetable or fruit purees
Mix rice cereal and milk together. Add puree and mix well. If mixture is a bit thick for your little one, add more milk until you reach the desired consistency.
Sweet Peas are a great source of Vitamins A, C, Niacin, Folate and Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorous, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc
Sweet baby Pea Puree:
1/4 cup of frozen Organic Baby Peas
2 tablespoons breastmilk, formula or if your baby is 6 months+ whole milk.
Steam frozen peas for about 5-10 minutes, until tender. Place peas and 1 tablespoon of the water left from steaming into the blender. Puree until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of breastmilk/formula or whole milk to puree and blitz once again.
Apples are a wonderful source of vitamins A, C, Folate and Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium.
1 apple (I love Gala, Braeburn, Lady Crisps and if you can find them Honey Crisps)
Cinnamon (if you decide to introduce this spice, wait four days of serving just plain applesauce before adding it)
Place peeled, cored and chopped apple in steamer. Steam for 15 minutes. Place apple and some of the steaming liquid into the blender and puree. You could also add a bit of breastmilk or formula to make the puree a bit richer and creamier.
Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B1, B6, Folate as well as Potassium, Sodium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium
1 medium carrot
Optional: a bit of unsalted butter (according to Annabel Karmel, author of Top 100 Baby Purees, carrots are more nutritious after being cooked and a bit of butter or other fat (even breastmilk would be great) helps the body absorb the beta-carotene more readily).
Place peeled and chopped carrot in steamer and steam for about 15 minutes. Drain, do not use the steaming liquid as it contains nitrates, puree carrots. If the puree is too thick, add a bit of water to smooth it out. If you are adding butter, add it now and puree again. Serve nice a warm.
1 Pear (Bartletts are great)
Wonderful source of FIBER, vitamin C and K, and copper.
Peel, core and chop the pear. Steam briefly for about 5 minutes. Place steamed pear in blender. You probably won’t need to use the steaming liquid to loosen up the puree as pears have a lot of water. But if so, pour in a bit of the steaming liquid.
Note: Pears are wonderful to relieve constipation.
Great source of vitamin A, C, B6, B3, B5, B1 and Folate. As well as Potassium, fiber, manganese, omega 3 fatty acids and copper
1 small butternut squash.
Peel and remove seeds of the squash. Cut into 1 inch thick chunks. Place squash pieces into the steamer and steam for 20 minutes or until tender. You can also cut the non-peeled (but cleaned of seeds) squash in half and bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes (or until tender). Scoop out the flesh , place in blender and puree. Or if steaming, place steamed squash in blender and puree. To lighten the puree, try adding water, breastmilk, formula or whole milk (which ever your infant is drinking).
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