When and how you introduce solids and make your own baby food will always come down to individual choice – every family and baby are different. For many moms, the process of starting solids is a daunting task, so I have put together a guide to help you understand some of the basics.
There are a few “signs” that you can look out for to gauge whether your baby could be ready for starting solids:
- You notice that your baby is very curious and interested in food while you and the rest of the family are eating
- Your baby can sit up comfortably on their own or while supported. What you also want to see is that baby can keep their head upright.
- Your baby has doubled their birth weight
The different stages of baby food
Stage 1 baby food: usually for babies 4-6 months
At first, introducing solids won’t be about filling your baby up, but rather about letting them experience and taste food for the first time. Between four and six months, breastmilk or formula is still the most important source of nutrition. Try to offer your baby a milk-feed before each solid meal.
During this introductory phase, you can expect the following:
- To feed your baby food that is pureed, with a runny thin texture, this will enable baby to easily digest it.
- To give your baby food with low allergic risks (in other words, no eggs, nuts and fish)
- To prepare each meal with a single ingredient, such as rice cereal or a single pureed fruit e.g. steamed apples, smashed avocados, steamed butternut, pumpkin, squash or sweet potato.
Stage 2 baby food: usually for babies between 7-9 months
As your baby gets used to the idea of eating solids and improving their “chewing” and swallowing skills, you can start having more fun with baby food by:
- Introducing new tastes by moving from a single ingredient to multiple ingredients in one
- meal, such as a carrot and apple puree or a butternut and chicken puree.
- Experimenting with thicker textures, in other words, the food will no longer have to have a runny texture.
Steaming the food and offering it to baby in small portions or cut up bits that they will manage to swallow safely.
Kgosi is still toothless but his gums are super powerful! We are really enjoying this stage.
Stage 3 baby food: Usually between 9-12 months
At this stage your baby will enjoy most of the food you eat as a family, including meat and healthy pastas. You would need to ensure that it is food is cooked soft, blended into a thicker consistency and/or cut up into small chewable chunks.
Making your own baby food
Here comes the fun! I find steaming and blending to be the best and easiest way to make baby food at home. Steaming enables you to preserve the nutrients and vitamins, while maintaining the taste and the blending gives you the suitable consistency for baby.
This process is a breeze with the new TommeeTippee Quick Cook Baby Food Maker, where the streaming and blending happens in one jug. I (still) don’t like spending lots of time in the kitchen and juggling three children, with three different preferences makes kitchen-time even more interesting! As a TommeeTippee brand ambassador, I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to try it for myself.
I usually dedicate Sunday afternoons to meal-prep for the week, but the Quick Cook Baby Food Maker still gives me the flexibility to prepare fresh, healthy meals as and when I need to.
Here are just some of the things I love about the TommeeTippee Quick Cook Baby Food Maker:
- It steams and blends homemade food for baby in just a few minutes. Once I’ve chosen my settings, there is no further intervention from my side until the food is ready.
- It gives me the comfort of knowing exactly what my baby is eating – I can make healthy and nutritious meals at the click of a button.
- It’s perfect for all stages of feeding, because you can customize and make food in your baby’s preferred texture. At the moment, Kgosi is enjoying food that is slightly chunkier, which happened quicker than I expected.
- It’s suitable for a diverse range of food, like fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.
- When required, I can steam-only or blend-only – I don’t always need to do both.
- The design is beautiful! It’s sleek, modern and fits right into my kitchen. For all it’s amazing powers, it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the kitchen.
- The Quick Cook is easy to clean because it comes with a few parts – like I said above, you do it all in one jug.
- The user manual comes with a guide that outlines the recommended times for each meal’s preparation, so I didn’t have to try and figure out everything on my own.
Everything happens in few easy steps:
- Clean and chop your vegetables
- Place them into the jug
- Set the timer for the steamer
- Set the timer for the blender
- Extract the jug once you hear the final beep indicating that your food is ready
Once the steamer is done, the TommeeTippee Quick Cook Baby Food Maker, will automatically blend the food according to the time you have set. Should you feel that further blending is required, you are able to use the blender option on it’s own as well.
I love that I can carry on with whatever else I need to do in the house while Kgosi’s healthy meals get prepared.
General tips for baby feeding:
- Give your baby rests between spoons/bites
- Follow your baby’s lead and pace. Be relaxed during meal times and don’t force use any force
- Keep trying new food and combinations to keep mealtimes fun as your baby grows
- Don’t add salt, sugar, *honey or spices to your baby’s food. *Honey is dangerous for children under the age of one
- Embrace the mess; for the most part meal times will be chaotic as your baby tries to feed themselves and discover the wonders of food
- Seek guidance from your paediatrician before introducing any allergens (eggs, nuts and fish) into your babies diet
This post will be followed up with a guide on storing, freezing and warming your baby food. TommeeTippee has some very useful products that we use for this process as well.
WIN a TommeeTippee Quick Cook Baby Food Maker
I would love to give a lucky mommy a chance to play personal chef and win this magical food maker:
Leave me a comment with your favourite feature.
Follow @TommeeTippeeZA on Instagram or Facebook
This giveaway will close on 28 February 2020. Full T’s and C’s are available on my website, under “giveaways”
Best of luck
Modern Zulu Mom