“Dr. Linda, how can I make homemade baby food?”

Be sure to check out other articles here on the when, how, and what, to advancing your baby’s diet:

 

Homemade baby food - easier than you think...and MANY advantages! Click To Tweet

 

Making homemade  baby food has some great advantages:

  • The very best nutrition for your baby!
  • The food you give your baby is fresh.
  • It is cheaper than buying commercially made baby food.
  • You  have the comfort of knowing exactly what is in your baby’s food.

Make sure that you are very careful as you prepare the homemade baby food. Babies are very sensitive and can get food poisoning easily.

As always, whenever you are doing something for you or your baby, I recommend that you take three deep breaths and come in to the present moment. When you are calm and fully present you have access to your inner wisdom which allows you to make the best decisions both for you and for your beloved baby.

“Dr. Linda, what tools do I need to make homemade baby food?”

You can use any of the following to prepare homemade baby food:
  • A food processor,
  • A fine mesh strainer.
  • A blender.
  • A baby food grinder.
  • A food mill.

Keep it Clean

You want to minimize any chance of contamination of your baby’s food with germs that could cause food poisoning.

Make sure that you keep all the tools and utensils and storage containers very clean. Read the manufacturers instructions on how to keep the different parts of the tools clean.

Here are a few general guidelines:
  • Wash your hands very well before preparing and handling the food.
  • Make sure that all the utensils you use while making the food are very clean.
  • Do not put raw meat, poultry or fish anywhere near the food you are going to feed the baby.
  • Have separate cutting boards for meats and others for fruits and vegetables Do not use the same utensils that you have used on raw meats to cut and prepare fruits and vegetables, especially if you are going to serve them to your baby or child raw.

 

What foods and additives should you avoid in your homemade baby food?

  • Honey: It can cause botulism in babies less than a year old.
  • Added salt and sugar.
  • Chemical additives, colors, artificial sweeteners.
  • Nitrates.
  • Pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics and hormones.

Nitrates:

Nitrates should be avoided in babies less than 4-6 months old because they can cause “Blue baby syndrome” .

They are chemicals found in well water and certain types of root and leafy vegetables and cause Methemoglobinemia which prevents your baby’s blood from being able to carry enough oxygen to the tissues: Blue Baby Syndrome.

Where do Nitrates come from?

  1. The main source of nitrates that babies get exposed to is well water used to mix up formula. If you have a young baby (less than 6 months old) and you use well water, make sure that the water in your well has less than 10ppm(10mg/ml) of nitrates and less than 1mg/ml of nitrites, check your well once to twice a year.
  2. Certain juices: carrot, beetroot and radish juices may contain high levels of nitrates and nitrites and should be avoided.
  3. Certain vegetables such as spinach, green beans, squash, carrots and beets should not be given to babies younger than 4 months old.  Since baby food in general is not recommended at this age anyway, it should not be a big deal. Since meats and iron fortified cereals are the most recommended first foods, your baby will probably not start these vegetables till she is around 5-6 months old, when Methemoglobinemia is no longer a worry.

Pesticides:

These chemicals are known to cause cancer in humans. They may also cause inflammation and irritation in your baby’s body and intestinal tract so it is better to avoid the exposure when possible.  There is some research that associates babies’ exposure to these chemicals, even in small amounts, with cancer, neurologic and behavioral issues and ADHD.

If you can afford it, and have access to organic meats and produce, these are the healthiest choices for your homemade baby  baby. The  good news is, not all produce is equally contaminated.

The Environmental Working Group, EWG, has a list of what they call the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15.”

 

The Clean 15

These are 15 fruits and vegetables considered ‘safe’ to eat even when they are produced commercially.

Fruits:
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Avocado
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honey dew melon.
  • Grapefruit.

Vegetables:

  • Onions
  • Sweet peas.
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Frozen sweet corn.
  • Eggplant
  • Cauliflower.

 

The Dirty Dozen

The dirty dozen are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and the ones you should try to always buy organic when possible because they seem to contain large amounts of pesticide residues:

Fruits:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes, large and cherry tomatoes.

Vegetables:

  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers

 

The best produce for your homemade baby food is:

  • Fresh, organic and in-season.
  • The next best is fresh frozen.
  • You can also use canned if no other source is available: make sure the cans are intact and not dented. Always check the dates to make sure the food is not expired.

 

Other Concerns

Bisphenol (BPA)

“Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure.”
Read more about it at the mayo Clinic website:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331.

Most cans are lined with a layer containing BPA. So, when possible avoid canned goods.

Artificial sweeteners:

Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame can actually kill brain cells, cause irritability and decrease the levels of certain chemicals in the brain( serotonin). Giving these types of sweeteners is harmful to your baby’s rapidly growing brain.

Knowing what to avoid should  make it much easier for you to make decisions about which foods types of foods you want to offer your baby as homemade baby food.

My blog next week will go into more detail about the best ways to prepare, store and reheat homemade baby food.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you make your own baby food? Tell us about it!
Please post your comments and questions below.

To your Holistic health,

Ask Dr. Linda

 

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