How do I prepare my own baby food?
Cooking your own baby food can be satisfying as well as fun. But it’s important that you follow some basic hygiene rules to help ensure your baby’s food is safe and healthy. Take a look at the practical advice we’ve put together to help you prepare nutritious meals for your baby
Start with good kitchen hygiene
Before you start preparing food for your baby, always wash your hands with hot water and soap or handwash, and dry them with a clean towel.
You also need to make sure your cooking equipment and your baby’s bowls, cutlery, bottles, and cups are all as clean as possible. If your baby is younger than 6 months, their feeding equipment should also be sterilised.
Buying and preparing ingredients
- Fruit and veg – choose the freshest produce you can find. Wash and peel as necessary, and take care to remove any seeds or stones, which can be a choking hazard for babies. Then dice into bite sized pieces before cooking.
- Meat – opt for tender cuts of beef, lamb, or poultry. Remove any fat before cooking, and once cooked, remove any bone or gristle that could be a choking hazard.
- Fish – select fish that’s as fresh as possible and ask the fishmonger to remove all skin, scales and bones, so that it’s safe for your baby to eat. Once cooked, check again for any bones or bits of skin that may have been missed.
Some foods are not suitable for babies and are best avoided – read our weaning stage 4+ months plus article for more details.
Cooking your baby’s food
- Salt and sugar – you shouldn’t have to add any salt or sugar to your baby’s food. Most foods already contain natural levels of salt, so there is no need to add any yourself, as it may put a strain on their kidneys, which are still developing. Extra sugar can also cause tooth decay and may give your baby a ‘sweet tooth’. Naturally sweet fruit and vegetables are better alternatives.
- Meat and fish – these can be steamed, grilled or microwaved. They can also be fried or roasted. Always make sure that meat is cooked thoroughly, with no pink bits. Fish should be firm and flaky – if it’s still a bit squidgy, it’s not cooked through. An ideal way to cook fish for babies is to bake it in foil, because even when it’s cooked thoroughly, it’s still tender and easy to chew.
- Fruit and vegetables – try these steamed, boiled or microwaved. But steaming is the best option as it retains the most nutrients. If you don’t have a steamer, simply use a metal colander in a covered saucepan of boiling water. You could also oven-cook fruits, such as apples and pears with a little sugar.
Serving your baby’s food
During the first stage of weaning, your baby’s food should be blended to a smooth purée. As your baby gets older, you can gradually introduce more and more texture. If you don’t have a blender, use a potato masher or fork to create the right texture.
Once your baby’s food is cooked and piping hot, allow it to cool to a comfortably warm temperature before serving as hot food should never be served to your baby.
If you have any questions about preparing your own baby food, our Careline team is on hand to help. Call us on 800 6458 6262 (UAE)/ +971 4 420 9489 (Other countries) between the hours of 9am and 6pm Saturday to Thursday.