Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Easy-Peezy Homemade Baby Food and Purees - FAQs

New to the world of homemade baby food and purees? Here are a few frequently asked questions that I had myself, and have been asked many times! Email me at sweetleighmama@gmail.com with any additional questions that I can help with! I'm not an expert per se, but I've made homemade baby food and purees for both my children and have done a lot of research on the subject! I guess that's as close to an expert on the subject as you can get, right? : )

  • When is the best time to start feeding my baby solids? Pediatricians recommend to start introducing babies to solid foods (purees) between 4 and 6 months of age. I started my daughter at 4 months old because she was ready. My son didn’t seem ready until nearly 5 months old. Some parents decided to feed a strict liquid diet until 6 months of age. All of it is ok – it really depends on your preference and your child’s interest.

  • I’m confused – should I start with a single-grain cereal, fruit or veggies? I’ve heard so many different things! Every person you speak to on this topic will have a different answer. One person will start strictly with single grain cereal. Another will skip the cereal and start with pureed bananas. And a third person will start with pureed carrots. What that tells me is that it doesn’t really matter. As long as all three – single grain cereal, fruits and vegetables – are a part of your baby’s diet, it doesn’t really matter in which order you introduce them. My daughter wanted nothing to do with plain rice cereal, so I decided to mix some pea puree into it and she gobbled it up. My son on the other hand LOVED the oatmeal cereal and still eats it plain some days. The key is to get a good variety and try to include an iron-fortified single grain cereal (i.e. rice, oatmeal, barley) into their meals at least once each day – either mixed with a puree or served separately.

  • My four/five month old pushes the puree out of his mouth – does he not like the flavor? Not necessarily. At four months old, some infants still regain their tongue reflex and automatically push solids out of their mouth as a safety mechanism of sorts. You may need to hold off on solids for a week or two and then try again. Another possibility is that your purees are too chunky. At 4-5 months, purees need to be soupy and thin – almost like water – with no chunks. Flavor doesn’t really become a factor until 9 – 12 months of age.

  • Do I need to alternate green and orange foods? There is no hard and fast rule about this, but I do try and introduce a variety of foods of all different colors – both fruits and vegetables. Some say too much orange food will turn your child’s skin orange – luckily I’ve never seen this happen to either of my children!

  • What are signs my baby is allergic to one of the purees? Common signs of an allergic reaction include (but are not limited to): Rash, hives, diarrhea, gassiness, vomiting, wheezing, difficulty breathing. Stage 1 of introducing solids is all about determining if your child has any allergies or sensitivities to a particular food. It’s important to introduce only one food at a time, so that if in fact your child has an allergic reaction, you can immediately pinpoint the culprit. Some food allergies may not show up immediately – be sure to wait at least three days in between introducing new foods to allow for a delayed allergic reaction.

  • What if my baby has an allergic reaction? If your child appears to be having an allergic reaction after one of his feedings, call your pediatrician immediately. If it is a severe reaction, call 911.

  • How big is a serving size? Does it differ in each stage? An average serving size in approximately ¼ cup (or 4 tablespoons) of puree.  When you infants first begins eating solids, don’t be surprised if he only eats a single tablespoon at a sitting. At this point solids are a supplement to his regular liquid feedings (breast or bottle) and not a substitute. By the time he is 8 months old, he may be eating 2-3 servings of puree at a single sitting. At this point, solids have replaced a liquid feeding – approximately 2-3 less liquid feedings (6 oz each) per day at 8 months vs. 4 months.

  • How much puree should I feed my baby in one sitting? Let your baby be the judge and use your instincts. Start off slow with 1 tablespoon at 4 months, then build based on what he ate the day before. There is no harm in taking a break after a few tablespoons to let your baby digest a bit and determine if he is still hungry.  At 6 months, my son was eating 1 serving (4 tablespoons) at one sitting – once per day. Now, at 8 months, he is eating 2 servings (8 tablespoons) at one sitting – 2 times per day.

  • Can I mix fruits and vegetables together, or should I keep the two separate? After you move past Stage 1 and determine your child’s food sensitivities or allergies, you can mix and match however you’d like. I often mix fruits and vegetables into one puree to vary flavors and textures.

  • When can I introduce meats? How would I puree them? Meats are typically introduced after 9 months of age. Proteins – like beans – can be introduced at early as 7 months. But meats – like chicken, turkey, lamb – should only be introduced once the baby’s digestive system has matured a bit and they are able to eat chunkier foods. All meat should be cooked until they are opaque throughout – no pink! Some parents choose to cut meat into tiny pieces that can be picked up and chewed vs. pureeing. I prefer to puree to avoid a choking hazard. To puree meat, cook thoroughly and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in blender with a few tablespoons of liquid such as chicken or vegetable stock. Puree on high until no chunks of meat are present. Meat tends to be a bit dry – even as a puree – so I recommend mixing it with a fruit or vegetable puree to make it easier to eat.

  • What about eggs? Fully-cooked egg yolks can typically be introduced at 9 months of age. However, it is recommended to hold off on feeding your infant egg whites due to risk of common egg allergies. Fully cooked egg yolks can be added to a puree mixture, or served separately in small pieces. Be sure to monitor your child closely to avoid choking.

  • Should I be adding seasoning to my purees – like salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon or oregano? The first two stages of purees should not be seasoned. You want to be able to judge a child’s sensitivities to a single food vs. a food with seasoning. At nine months, you can begin experimenting with seasonings, but not too much. An infant doesn’t have the same tastes or tolerance for salty, spicy and sweet stuff as we do. A tiny sprinkle of cinnamon, cumin or other mild spice is ok – but stay away from salt, sugar and spicy additives.

  • What are signs that my baby is full? I don’t want to feed him too much! Use your best judgment – every child is unique.  Keep in mind that a child’s appetite may change from day to day – what fills him up on Monday may leave him wanting more on Tuesday. General signs of fullness in infants include: refusing to open his mouth, turning his head or leaning away from the spoon, or playing with his food.

  • I’m traveling and won’t be able to bring along my purees – is it ok to your store bought baby food? Of course it’s ok! Do what you need to do, mama! I try to bring my purees along with me when I travel, but if I happen to be planning a long trip or staying somewhere without the appropriate cooling/heating utilities, I pick up some pre-made baby food that doesn’t require refrigeration or heating. I actually always have one or two servings on hand in case of emergency!
Be sure to click here - http://sweetleighmama.blogspot.com/p/easy-peezy-homemade-baby-food-and.html - to read all the posts on making your own baby food and purees! It will be an easy way to keep track and look for new updates!

Or follow the links below to all previous posts on making homemade baby food and purees:
Easy-Peezy Purees - What You Need to Get Started:

The Basics of Making Homemade Baby Food - How to Puree: http://sweetleighmama.blogspot.com/2012/03/basics-of-making-your-own-baby-food-and_02.html

Easy-Peezy Purees - The Essential 17 Fruits and Veggies Every Mama Needs to Know: http://sweetleighmama.blogspot.com/2012/03/easy-peezy-purees-essential-17-fruits.html

Easy-Peezy Homemade Baby Food and Purees - Foods to Avoid: http://sweetleighmama.blogspot.com/2012/03/easy-peezy-homemade-baby-food-and-puree.html

The Whys and Hows of Transitioning Your Little One to Solids: http://sweetleighmama.blogspot.com/2012/03/easy-peezy-purees-whys-and-hows-of.html