Feeding your baby was likely simple up until the time when solid foods entered the equation. Breastfeeding or even formula feeding require little preparation and from day one, most infants will happily take a bottle or breast. When transitioning to solid foods -- especially when you are a working mother -- deciding what and how to feed your baby might present a challenge. Whether from the baby food aisle or your own kitchen, baby food no longer needs to be a complicated mystery.
1. Commercial Baby Food
While figuring out what type of baby food that green mush really is in the jar might have been a fun game at your baby shower, commercial baby food has come a long way in the past decade making it an easy choice for a working mother. If you are concerned about additives, allergens or your family has certain food restrictive diets -- vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free -- there are still choices for you in the baby food aisle of your local grocer. Choose baby food products that contain one ingredient to start your baby off such as a pureed fruit or vegetable. Check the label to make sure that the first ingredient is the actual puree you are purchasing and that there is no added sugar, salt or starch. Once your baby has mastered the purees, you can move to step two foods, which has chunks of fruit, veggies and some meats.
2. Making Your Own
If you are uncomfortable with purchasing a jar of unrecognizable food from the store or you cannot find the puree you are looking for, making your own baby food might be a better option. At home, you are able to make baby food out of any fruit, vegetable or meat you choose with the use of some handy appliances. Consider purchasing a quality food processor or blender to help puree the food and ice cube trays, freezer safe glass jars or commercial grade plastic storage containers to keep the food fresh. While making your own baby food might seem time consuming for your already busy schedule, it takes just a few hours on your days off to prepare the foods and store the items in the freezer for an easy to grab food source throughout the week.
Start your baby off with easy to make purees of the fruits and vegetables you already serve to the other members of your family. For simple, no-cook baby food preparation, remove an avocado from its skin and discard the seed. Mash the avocado with a fork or puree in a food processor for a smooth texture; add iron-fortified cereal and breast milk or formula to create a creamy consistency. Bananas also require little preparation and you can mash them with a fork or puree the bananas for a sweet addition to your baby food repertoire. Squash and sweet potatoes can be cut into small cubes, steamed until tender then pureed in large batches.
4. Storing Baby Food
Commercial baby food can remain in the container in a cool, dry place until use. Check the top of the lid to ensure the safety seal has not popped and never reuse the same jar for more than one feeding. If your baby will not finish the entire jar in one sitting, pour the amount of food needed into a separate container, store the remaining food in the refrigerator for no more than three days, and feed your baby from the separate container. Saliva will contaminate the uneaten food. Freeze homemade baby food by pouring the puree into clean ice-cube containers and cover with plastic wrap until frozen. When solid, transfer the frozen cubes into plastic storage bags and remove only as many cubes as you will need for the next feeding. Thaw the cubes in the refrigerator or by setting the bag in a container of warm water. Homemade baby food should not remain in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours.