When it comes time to transition your little one from breast milk or formula to solids, you may want to try your hand at homemade purees. We have some tips to help get you started as well as some suggestions for first foods to try.
Making homemade purees can be a commitment as far as supplies needed, preparation time and storage. But with some simple organization, it will be worth it for your little one.
Photo: Saffron & Sage
Let’s begin with the why. What are the benefits of making homemade purees for your baby over purchasing prepackaged purees?
- You know exactly what your little one is eating
- Purees made from fresh fruits and veggies will have more nutrition than prepackaged purees with preservatives
- Your little one will learn to like the taste of fruits and veggies, making him/her more likely to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables later in life
Next, let’s talk planning. What supplies will you need and how does it work?
- Make sure you have a steamer insert for pots and pans, a blender and a masher. Steaming or roasting fruits and vegetables helps make them soft so that they are easy to puree. We suggest committing 2-3 hours including time to clean up.
- Think about how you will store the purees. We suggest small 4-ounce containers for packaging individual servings. For easy labeling, purchase a roll of masking tape and use them to write what’s in each container and the date packaged.
- If you have room in your freezer, your best bet is to prepare a month’s worth of food at one time to maximize your effort.
- Your purees will last up to 3 months in the freezer and should be used within 48 hours of being in the refrigerator.
We also have some tips and tricks. How can you organize the process of making purees so that it doesn’t take over your day and leave your kitchen a mess? And, most importantly, have your baby take to pureed food as easily as possible?
- Clean your workspace and clear counters so you have plenty of room to work. Also, make sure that your sink is empty so you can clean as you go.
- Prepare all of your fruits and vegetables at once. This may include cleaning, peeling or chopping up larger items. Don’t get overzealous on any one item. Remember that two sweet potatoes may fill 8-10 4-ounce containers.
- For the first couples of months, mix the purees with breast milk if you are breastfeeding. If you are formula feeding, plan on adding a little bit of formula right before feeding the puree to your baby. The familiar taste of breast milk or formula will help them adjust to these new foods.
- As time goes on, make the purees chunkier so that your little one begins to get used to the natural textures of fruits and veggies.
- Remember, if the purees turn out too watery, you can always add a spoonful of oatmeal or rice cereal to thicken it up.
Finally, let’s talk options. What are some good “first” foods for your little one?
- Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, or vitamin A
- Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
- Butternut squash is naturally smooth and easy to digest
- Blueberries have vitamin C and antioxidants
- Apples are easy to digest and full of fiber
- Bananas offer sustained energy since the sugars break down slowly and are a good source of potassium