It is hard to believe Mr. Baby is six months old! Introducing foods has been a pretty easy process… so far. We make many of them homemade, which is surprisingly easy, and often more flavorful, especially in the case of green veggies. I thought we would make a post so all the busy moms can see that they too can be to make fresh whole foods available to their babies.
At our 4 month well-baby check our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing solids or the go-ahead to hold off until six months depending on our preference. Since Mr. Baby is tall and lean and rarely goes more than 2-2.5 hours between breast feedings, I decided to see if food could help him gain and maybe even extend the duration between feedings.
We chose oatmeal because it is tummy gentle like rice, but with more nutritional value. Each evening I would pump a few minutes to get 1/2 an once of breastmilk, mix in a bit of baby oatmeal cereal, and try to get Mr. Baby to eat it. The first week, he wore all of it. The second week, his tongue started pushing some of the food back instead of forward:) By the third week he was swallowing well and awaiting the spoon with anticipation! By week four he was wishing more was in the bowl, after the feeding was complete.
At five months, I began introducing veggies. As recommended by the pediatrician, we tried each new food three days in a row and watch for signs of allergy or intolerance. Now, after just six weeks, Mr. Baby eats a variety of fruits and veggies.
To save yourself the trouble, get one of each stage one puree from the grocery store and let baby try it, to see if they take to that food, before you invest the time to make a batch of homemade puree:)
Shopping for Ingredients
We’ve learned that some purees can be made from raw produce, while others are easier to make from frozen or canned states. Additionally, we keep The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen in mind while we shop.
Preparing Stage One Veggies (4-6 months)
We purchase fresh. We cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place it face down on a baking sheet, and bake it for about an 40 minutes at 350. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day. Scoop meaty bits of squash from skin before pureeing. In my opinion, baked squash has richer flavor and makes a thicker puree than its steamed counterpart.
When I don’t have baking time, I purchase fresh pre-cut or frozen butternut squash and steam it for 7-10 minutes until it is soft enough to puree.
We purchase fresh. We peel, chop, and steam 8-10 minutes until it is soft enough to puree. Baby carrots can be used to skip the peeling and chopping steps.
Fresh or frozen green beans are harder to puree than most food, because of their stringy fiber. They do best in the food processor. Blenders and stick blenders have a hard time unless the beans are overcooked and lose their vibrant green-ness. Steam frozen beans 5 minutes… fresh take a bit longer to soften enough for pureeing.
We purchase frozen and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight. Then puree without steaming. For fresh shelled peas, steam 2-3 minutes before pureeing.
We purchase fresh. Pierce each sweet potato skin a few times with a fork and bake them on a foil lined sheet for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 400. Stand until cool enough to handle, spoon in half longways, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon before pureeing. In my opinion, baked sweet potato has richer flavor and makes a thicker puree than its steamed counterpart.
When I don’t have baking time, I peel, chop, and steam the sweet potatoes 8-10 minutes before pureeing.
Preparing Stage One Fruits
Apples & Pears
We purchase organic and fresh. We peel, core, chop, and steam 10 minutes before pureeing.
In a pinch, I’ve also purchased organic unsweetened applesauce cups for traveling. I admit on busy Nanny weeks I have even purchase jared organic unsweetened applesauce and froze it in portions to save the time making it homemade.
We purchase fresh. We place about 1/4 of the peeled pitted fruit into a dish and puree it with a fork just before feeding time.
We purchase fresh. We place about 1/3 or the peeled fruit in a dish and puree it with a fork just before feeding time. Another great traveling food!
Mangos & Peaches
We purchase frozen mangos and organic peaches, because they weren’t in season, and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight. When in season, fresh mangos and organic peaches require no cooking: just peel, chop, and puree.
Pureeing & Straining
With the exception of banana, which we make fresh before each feeding, other fruit and veggies we prepare and freeze.
- A batter bowl or other high sided container to place cooked, thawed, or drained canned food into.
- A stick blender to quickly puree the food with easy clean up. A regular blender or food processor will work too, but they take longer to clean between uses. Some foods are thicker than others, if the blender is working to hard, thin with water as needed.
- A sieve, rubber scrapper, and bowl to strain the pureed food so that it is free of large pieces or fiber stands that can choke little babies.
- Spoon tablespoonfuls of puree into freezer trays. We prefer silicone brownie bite pans for portioning and freezing, but ice cube trays, or specialty baby food freezer containers work too.
- Once frozen, we transfer frozen puree cubed into labeled dated freezer bags.
What time of day you serve baby’s meal is a matter of convenience. Just be consistent! For example, at 5 months we were having 2 T puree at lunch time and 2 T cereal with breastmilk at dinner time. Once you’ve tolerance tested each singular food, it is safe to begin pairing flavor combinations, which works great for babies that don’t like to switch from fruit to veggie flavors in one feeding. Follow your babies hunger cues to know when they are ready for larger portions or additional meal times.
Apple pairs well with Avocado, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Mango, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.
Avocado pairs well with Apple, Banana, Mango, Peach, and Pear
Banana pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Mango, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.
Butternut Squash pairs well with Apple, Banana, Carrot, Green Bean, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.
Carrot pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Green Bean, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.
Green Bean pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Sweet Peas, Peach, Pears, Sweet Potato.
Mango pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Peach, and Pear.
Peach pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Green Bean, Mango, and Pear.
Pear pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Mango, Peach, Sweet Pea, Sweet Potato.
Sweet Pea pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Pear, and Sweet Potato.
Sweet Potato pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Pear, and Sweet Pea.
Each puree and puree combination has its own consistency. However I’ve discovered that a very specific consistency is idea for feeding. If the food is too liquid-y it tends to fall out of babies mouth or splatter during the eating process. We mix in cereal a sprinkle at a time, until we reach the desired consistency.
Happy Baby Feeding!
DIY Stage Two Foods
Introducing Yogurt & Meats