You have spent the first six months (or longer) filling your little one’s tummy with nutritious milk. But she keeps grabbing for your spoon while you have your morning oatmeal or reaching for food while you’re eating dinner together.
Is it time to start feeding her solids? What should you feed her? And what are the best baby food makers?
Pureed baby food is a great way to introduce your baby to different tastes, textures, and flavors. Food before one is just for fun, so don’t stress if your baby isn’t interested in eating too many solid foods. Breastmilk is sufficient nutrition for infants up through one year. Baby food makers, however, make it easy to introduce your baby to healthy, nutritious foods with different textures and flavors without the added sugars or preservatives of store-bought and processed baby foods. With your own baby food maker, you can be sure of exactly what is being put into your baby’s first foods without worry.
When Should You Start Solid Foods?
As mentioned above, baby food before one is just for fun, so you really do not have to introduce your baby to “solid foods” (i.e., pureed foods) until they are older than one year old. Breastmilk is sufficient in nutrients and vitamins until their first birthday. Even after one-year-old, your child should continue to get breastmilk as it provides plenty of benefits even after they turn one year old.
However, if you decide to start trying different foods with your little one, you should wait until they are able to sit up on their own completely independently, and never before they are six months old as their stomachs are not able to digest more complex foods before that age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children wait to be introduced to foods other than breast milk until they are about6 months old and developmentally ready:
- Your child can sit with little or no support.
- Your child has good head control.
- Your child opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered.
Many parents will start with something like fortified baby cereal as they believe it is easily digestible for a baby who is first being introduced to new foods. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that children should be able to digest foods from all different food groups by 7 to 8 months old.
It is also recommended that when you try new foods on your baby, you try one food at a time in order to keep an eye out for allergies. When you try a new food, wait 3 to 5 days to see if there is any allergic reaction. Do not give your baby any blended recipes until you are sure they are not allergic to any of the foods in the recipe.
When you are sure that your baby is able to tolerate solid foods, you can start with some of the more popular first baby foods:
- Sweet potato
- Green bean
There are three different stages of baby food. The first stage is simple, one-ingredient foods. Babies can usually start this stage at around 6 to 8 months. The second stage is blended recipes with two or more ingredient foods. Babies can usually start this stage around 8 to 9 months. The third stage is small finger foods, which usually begins around 11 months old or even over one.
You do not have to wait until your child has teeth to feed them finger foods. Many babies can gum soft foods without teeth as soon as they have the hand-eye coordination to do so. You can start with soft foods like steamed carrots, avocado, or banana as their first finger foods until they get a few teeth and/or are able to handle harder or more texturized foods more easily.
Here are some things to remember when feeding your baby solids for the first time:
- Start with half a spoonful or less
- Talk with your baby as they eat- eating is a great time to teach your baby social cues
- This will be a messy process, especially if your baby is older and wants to try doing it themselves. Allow them to do so- a mess is part of the learning process and will help your baby with hand-eye coordination.
- Do not force your baby to eat. Food before one is just for fun. Try it and if they like it, then continue. If they don’t, give it a few days and try again.
Why You Should Make Your Own Baby Food
Store-bought baby food is filled with added sugars, preservatives, and unnatural ingredients. Baby food companies do this in order to make the food taste “better” thereby prompting parents to purchase that same food and the same brand. However, you will want to make your baby’s first foods as natural as possible so that they do not become accustomed to foods that are high in sugar content and are able to more readily try different flavors as they truly taste.
Homemade baby food can be made with any ingredient you choose, which means that you will know exactly what is going inside your baby’s first foods. When making your baby’s first foods, make sure that you’re choosing ingredients that are:
- Whole foods
- High in vitamins and minerals
- Free from pesticides and GMO-free
Many children may experience constipation after trying new foods. If your child experiences constipation, stop feeding solid foods for a few weeks to a month to allow their stomachs and digestive systems to mature. It is a good idea to keep a food journal to keep track of any foods that make them feel constipated or that they like, dislike, or cause an allergic reaction. Some good foods to relieve constipation are:
Some Good Baby Food Recipes
Simple, one ingredient baby foods are the best ones to start out with when you are trying first foods with your baby. When you choose a new food to try, you will want to remove the skin or peel, chop the food into cubes, and steam the foods before you blend or puree them. Water is often needed to be added to help create a smoother blend. Be sure that the foods are completely pureed for new solid food eaters. You can allow more chunks and texture as your baby grows, becomes more adept at swallowing, and is more equipped to swallow larger portions.
Looking for some good baby food recipes to try? Here are some that most babies will love:
The Best Baby Food Makers
Are you ready to become a gourmet baby food chef? Here are some of the best baby food makers that will make it easier to make your own baby food at home.
The Evla Baby Food Maker helps you to create fresh, healthy, and homemade baby food at the touch of a button. Everything can be steamed and processed with just one machine, eliminating the need for multiple pots and pans. The Evla Baby Food Maker is able to steam, blend, reheat, defrost, and sterilize. It even self-cleans! All you have to do is add some water, and the sterilize function takes care of the rest. For any stubborn food particles, you can place the stirring cup into your dishwasher. The unique steaming cycle locks in nutrients, flavors, and vitamins ensuring your little one benefits from tasty and healthy homemade food. It also has a touch screen control panel that allows you to easily select the precise meal consistency from purees to solid. You are able to cook vegetables, fruit, and meat including chicken and fish in this stylish, modern, and sleek baby food maker.
The Whale’s Love Baby Food Maker and Food Processor is a five-function steamer, steam-blender, blender, milk warmer, and self-cleaning food processor. It can steam, puree, chop, blend, and warm your baby’s bottle all in one device. The one-touch steam and blend mode will steam your baby’s food quickly and then automatically blend it perfectly. It is great for small batch baby food and the bottle warmer can also be used to reheat or defrost baby food. The large touchscreen makes it easy to not only make the perfect baby food but also clean with the self-cleaning option. All the parts are easily detachable so you are able to do more thorough cleanings when necessary. All parts are also dishwasher safe and are made of food-grade non-toxic ABS, 304 stainless steel hardware, BPA free, and odorless.
Some parents don’t love using plastic for their baby’s food, so this glass container baby food maker by BEABA Babycook Neo is perfect. It has a glass bowl and steel steam basket, making it food safe and completely BPA-free. There are four cook settings, including steam cook, blend, reheat, and defrost all in one appliance. It is a great option for those looking to make large batches of baby food as the glass bowl holds 5.2 cups of food at a time. The easily accessible reservoir has a large opening for easy cleaning, too.
Easily one of the most popular baby food makers, the Magic Baby Bullet can make large quantities of baby food in just 5 minutes. It does not have a steam option, but the blender makes large batches that are easy to store with all of the accessories which include 6-date dial storage cups, spatula, one short cup, one stay fresh resealable lid, tip-proof tray, a recipe book, and pocket nutritions. All parts are made from non-toxic, BPA-free plastic and contain no phthalates. The Magic Baby Bullet is a great way to make large batches of baby food and makes storing the baby food even easier without having to purchase additional accessories or storage containers.
The Homia Dansa 8-in-1 Baby Food Maker, Chopper, and Food Processor does everything you need to make healthy, nutritious, and delicious baby food all in one appliance. It can steam, cook, chop, puree, juice, warm, defrost, and sterilize all in one. You can even cook up to three different baby foods or make different blends at the same time with the 3-tier basket. The touch control interface makes it easy to use- with just a push of a button you can utilize all the different functions. The collection and stirring cup is made from tritan plastic which is BPA, phthalate, and lead-free. The Homia Dansa 8-in-1 Baby Food Maker is FDA certified and dishwasher safe.
Although this is not a baby food maker in and of itself, the Infantino Fresh Squeezed Squeezing Station is a great accessory to have on hand to create baby food on the go. It is a budget-friendly way to make your own homemade baby food pouches to take along with you to run errands or while traveling. Simply place pureed baby food into the squeeze station and it will dispense the baby food into the squeeze pouches. It comes with three different tubes to easily make blended recipes and 10 squeeze pouches. Each pouch can hold up to 4 ounces of a homemade puree.
Another option for those who prefer a glass baby food maker, the Baby Breeza Glass Baby Food Maker steams and automatically blends your food with a push of a button. There are three settings which include steam only, blend only, or the combination of blend and steam. It can make homemade baby food in as little as ten minutes. The BPA- and plastic-free bowl is able to hold up to 4 cups of food at a time, making it a great option for large batches of baby food. The Baby Breeza Glass Baby Food Maker is easy to clean- you can remove the steam tank, bowl, and blade and place it in your dishwasher for simple clean up. It is a simple machine that works well to create healthy homemade baby food for your little one.
The IKARE Self-Cleaning Baby Food Maker is able to steam, sterilize, juice, puree, and chop with just the touch of a button on the touchscreen design. Fruits, vegetables, meat, or fish can be cooked from raw to any stage baby and toddler food in as little at 15 minutes. You can even use it to grind up oats for baby cereal or biscuits. You don’t have to sit and watch it either- there is an auto-shutoff function that stops when it is done with the cooking process. The steam basket is easy to detach and clean, preventing mold buildup over time. All of the parts of the IKARE Self-Cleaning Baby Food Maker are BPA, lead, and phthalate-free and made from food-grade 304 stainless steel.
The Elechomes 8-in-1 Baby Food Maker offers eight powerful features like steam, mix, blender, reheat, and defrost. There is a two-layer basket that allows you to cook different foods at the same time. The included timer lets you know when cooking is finished and the pulsing blender makes it easy to puree the foods into the perfect blend. The Elechomes 8-in-1 Baby Food Maker is FDA-approved and made with materials that are free from BPA, phthalates, and that are lead-free. The large-caliber stainless steel water tank is easy to clean and the blade can be removed for more thorough cleaning. There is also a bonus recipe book included that will help you find delicious recipes that your little one will love.
The Nuby Garden Fresh Mighty Blender not only has steam, blend, and fine milling functions but it also has additional accessories that make it easy to store your baby food. The steamer basket accessory makes it easy to soften fruits and vegetables before they are blended with one of the two different types of blades for blending (one for blending and one for fine milling). There are two different baskets to make different amounts of baby food- a large one for large quantities and a smaller one for small quantities. The small one is perfect for trying new recipes!
We all want to give our babies the best, and that includes their first new foods after breastmilk. Food before one is just for fun, so use your new baby food makers to introduce your little one to different flavors, textures, and tastes. There are a great way to make your own organic, natural baby food purees without the added preservatives, sugars, and processed foods that you will find in store-bought baby foods.
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