Benefits of Homemade Baby Food

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This website is to serve as a helpful tool to moms and dads who are interested in serving their babies the best baby food available. There is a great deal of literature on the internet and in journals discussing the benefits of making homemade baby food, as well as the downsides. The downsides mainly pertain to the lack of access and ease to which foods can be obtained, eaten, and stored. With these downsides set aside, there are numerous health benefits of homemade baby food that are hard to ignore. You know the ingredients being placed in your homemade baby food, you can control the consistency of the prepared foods, you can make and store baby foods for much less than you would pay at the store to feed your little one. As you progress down this page, there are numerous articles pertaining to the benefits of homemade baby food, as well as the few cons. I believe the benefits to outweigh the mentioned pitfalls, but decide for yourself. If you become fond of the idea of preparing your son or daughter’s food (which is probably why you are on this site), feel free to venture over to the “baby food basics” tab and explore our site from there! The following literature is very beneficial in understanding homemade baby food basics. Soak up as much as you can on this site to give your little one the best. Please feel free to comment and contact us with anything. Come back often to look for new recipes and blog topics.

Reuters

Babies who ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer packaged foods were less likely to develop food allergies in a new study that looked at overall diet patterns instead of just specific foods.

“We have been aware that certain diets seem to reduce the risk of allergy in infants,” said Dr. Magnus Wickman, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, who was not involved in the study.

“The mechanism behind that is that we think that different kinds of fatty acids and antioxidants, different kinds of vitamins and essential minerals are good for your health and also prevent allergy,” he said.

Researchers estimate that up to eight percent of children have a food allergy.

Parents are sometimes advised to avoid certain foods as a means of preventing food allergies from starting. But Kate Grimshaw, lead author of the new study and a researcher at the University of Southampton in the UK, said she’s been concerned that parents are reducing the nutritional diversity of their infants’ diet without there being a great deal of evidence to back it up.

To see how parents are feeding their infants, and whether that appears to have any influence on food allergies, Grimshaw and her colleagues collected food diaries from the parents of 1,140 babies.

The parents typically maintained the diet log for the first year of life, Grimshaw and her colleagues report in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

During that time, 41 children were diagnosed with a food allergy, and Grimshaw’s group compared these infants to 82 similar babies without an allergy.

The researchers scored the babies’ diets based on the combination of different foods they ate.

They found that babies without food allergies scored higher than babies with allergies on a diet that was rich in healthy, often homemade, foods – including fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish – and scant on processed foods such as pre-made meals, potato chips, cook-in sauces and bacon.

“The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two,” Grimshaw said.

“It’s not that they didn’t have commercially-made baby foods, it’s just that they did not have them predominantly in their diet,” she added.

The study could not determine why the fresher type of diet seemed to protect against food allergies. And the results do not prove that the dietary patterns caused the differences in allergy rates.

Wickman said that studies on diet and allergy are extremely difficult, and that it is a challenge for researchers to account for other factors that might influence what a child eats and his risk for developing a food allergy.

Still, it’s possible that the foods themselves are responsible.

“We know that there are nutrients in the diet that educate the immune system. And one could argue that if they’re not there in adequate amounts when the child’s immune system is developing, that may be one way that this is working,” Grimshaw said.

Wickman said that there is no evidence that avoiding allergenic foods, such as nuts, fish and eggs is beneficial in preventing food allergies.

She added, there is very little risk in recommending that parents focus on fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Healthy food has so many good things, and maybe it also can reduce the risk of food allergy in the child,” Wickman said.

Doctors and health officials already recommend that children get plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk foods.

Grimshaw said the results are just another reason for parents to feed their children fruits and vegetables and to try to serve home-made meals.

BENEFITS OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

8 HOMEMADE BABY FOOD SECRETS EVERY MOM SHOULD KNOW

 Sure, you’re no gourmet chef, but whipping up your baby’s food at home-yes, from scratch-

can be one of the best things you do for him or her. So whether you’re a puree pro, or eager to learn, here are 8 secrets you should know:

1. You’re in control.
“When you make your own homemade baby food, you decide exactly what goes into it so you know that it’s fresh and healthy,” according to Karen Ansel, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and co-author of The Baby & Toddler Cookbook. Homemade baby food also tastes much better than store-bought, which improves the likelihood that your baby will enjoy his food and the process will be a better experience for both of you.

2. It’s more nutritious.
Although store-bought food is cooked at extremely high heat to kill any bacteria, Ansel says it doesn’t kill vitamins but it might alter the mineral content. A recent study published in the journal Food Chemistry, store-bought baby food may contain less than 20 percent of the recommended levels of many minerals and micro-nutrients. Many of the store bought options also have starches, additives and preservatives, and don’t use organic ingredients, which exposes your baby to harmful pesticides.

3. There are more options.
Sure, some store-bought brands offer interesting combinations, but when you make it yourself, you have a wider selection of ingredients. If eating local, organic, in season, or antibiotic or hormone free is important to you, making it yourself can allow you to do so. You can also vary the texture of foods, and when your baby is 9 months old, you can add in a variety of herbs and spices to add some flavor.

“By exposing your baby at an early age to all those different flavors, you increase the chances that your baby is going to be a better eater by not giving them the same foods over and over so that their taste buds become more flexible,” Ansel said.

4. It doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Making your own baby food doesn’t have to be time-consuming. If you make it in bulk and freeze it, depending on your tools and storage, you’ll only be spending a few hours every week or less. And once your baby turns 7 months old, all fruit except for apples can be pureed or mashed without being cooked, unless your pediatrician tells you otherwise, according to Liza Huber, Founder of Sage Bears, LLC and creator of Sage Spoonfuls. There are also services like Petit Organics and Junior’s Fresh in New York City that will make fresh, homemade meals and deliver them to your door.

5. Your baby won’t be picky.
“By starting your baby on homemade baby food, you are greatly reducing the chance that they’re going to grow into a picky eater,” Huber said. Got a one year old who snubs food even if you’ve been making it all along? “As their growth slows down, they can afford to become more picky,” according to Ansel, who said that as long as you continue to offer your baby a variety of foods, your efforts will pay off in the long run.

6. You won’t have to sneak veggies.
“We don’t want a country full of 18 year olds who never realized they ate broccoli before,” said Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious.com, adding that the more you can get your baby to feel excited about eating fruits and vegetables, the more empowered he will feel to eat them in the future. “By tasting, seeing, and smelling the natural taste of homemade baby food, already a baby’s palette is being set up for fresh flavors,” she said.

7. Mealtime will be a happy event.
“Parents are the number one influence on their child’s eating habits,” said Ansel. So as your baby becomes a pre-toddler, you can make many of the same healthy meals for him that you do for the rest of the family, without becoming a short order cook. Eating at the same time isn’t always feasible, but if you can do it a few times a week or let your baby pick at just a few pieces, meals will be much easier later on.

8. Store bought is OK…sometimes.
It’s not always possible to have homemade all the time, so it’s OK to buy commercially prepared baby food if you’re short on time, away from home, or on vacation. Be sure to read labels as all brands are not created equally and look for organic to avoid pesticides. “If they’re eating something that has pesticides in it, per pound of body weight they are getting much, much more of those pesticides in their food,” Ansel said.

Julie Revelant is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, health, and women’s issues and a mom. 

BENEFITS OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

COMMERCIAL BABY FOODS FALL SHORT FOR NUTRITION

benefits of homemade baby food

MONDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) — Commercial baby foods don’t meet infants’ dietary needs when they are weaning, according to a new study.

That’s because commercial foods are predominately sweet foods that provide little extra nutritional benefit over breast or formula milk, the researchers said. They also said commercial baby foods are marketed for use in infants beginning at the age of 4 months, an age when they should still be breast-fed only.

“The most commonly used commercial foods considered in this study supply no more energy than breast or formula milk and yet they are promoted at an age when they will replace the breast or formula milk, which is all that babies under six months really need,” explained a team led by Dr. Charlotte Wright, of the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

One expert in the United States said the study brings up important issues.

“Weaning from milk-based diets to food-based diets in this age range should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Peter Richel, chief of the department of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “We must provide adequate nutrition to provide energy, consistent growth velocity and age-appropriate milestones in all areas of development,” he said.

In the new study, Wright’s team analyzed the nutritional content of all baby foods in the United Kingdom that can be used during weaning, a time when infants are introduced to a wider range of food textures and flavors in order to encourage them to try different foods and boost their energy and nutrient intake.

The 462 products included ready-made soft, wet foods; powdered meals that are reconstituted with milk or water; breakfast cereals; and finger foods, such as rusks.

The researchers found that 79 percent of the products were ready-made spoonable foods, 44 percent of which were marketed for infants aged 4 months and older.

The energy content of the spoonable foods was almost identical to that of breast milk and their protein content was only 40 percent higher than formula milk, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Products that contained meat had the highest iron content, but this was no higher than formula milk and not much higher than products that did not contain meat. Dry finger foods had much higher levels of energy and nutrients overall, but also had particularly high levels of sugar.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of the products were sweet foods. The team said repeat exposure to sweet foods during infancy can lead children to develop a preference for such foods.

The main point of weaning foods is to increase the energy content of the diet and provide richer sources of nutrients, such as iron, Wright’s team said.

“While it is understandable that parents may choose to use [these products] early in the weaning process, health professionals should be aware that such food will not add to the nutrient density of a milk diet,” they said.

And although the study focused on products sold in the United Kingdom, Richel said, American babies likely face the same nutritional issues.

“Offerings for infant foods [in the United States] are too sweet in general,” he said. “Parents should be aware of processed foods, artificial sweeteners in fruits and ‘baby-friendly’ yogurts and yogurt drinks. These products seem so nice and easy, with great marketing, packaging and convenience.”

The best baby foods, however, might be home-made. “In the early infant with first solids, it would be wonderful if parents took the time to prepare foods in their kitchen at home,” Richel said. “For example, for fruits and veggies, one simply blanches them, blends a bit of liquid (breast milk, formula or water) and voila! A puree is made. Helpings can be stored in ice-cube trays for easy access.”

Although home-made may be a bit less convenient, “the end result will be so worthwhile,” he added. “What could be more important than the health of our children?”

BENEFITS OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

A step-by-step guide to making and storing food for your baby.
By Gina Shaw
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Hansa Bhargava, MD
When you begin feeding your baby solid foods, it’s time to think about what foods you’re going to be feeding him. There are many healthy premade options, including organic baby food. But homemade baby food is a popular option for parents who want to know exactly what goes into their baby’s mouth — and making it may be easier than you think.

Homemade Baby Food: Advantages of Making It Yourself

Parents who prefer homemade baby food have many reasons for their choice.

  • They know exactly what they’re feeding their baby.
  • It’s more economical than buying pre-packaged foods (although some parents note that this is not always the case).
  • They can choose their own fruits, vegetables, and other foods for purees, instead of relying on the flavors chosen by manufacturers. You’re not going to find melons or avocados in the baby food section of the supermarket.
  • It gets the baby used to eating the same food as the rest of the family — just in puree form.

Myra Bartalos, the mother of a 20-month-old daughter in Brooklyn, N.Y, found that making her own baby food was easy and appealed to her concern for her daughter’s nutrition.

“What sealed the deal for me was finding out that jarred food is cooked at extremely high temperatures to kill bacteria for longer storage, at the same time taking out many of the food’s vitamins and nutrients and taste,” says Bartalos. “I would roast, steam, or boil veggies or fruit on the weekends and puree in a mini food processor. I’d make three or four different fruits and veggies at a time, so I had a month’s worth of food with each cooking weekend.”

“Making your own baby food does help you think more about what you’re feeding your child,” says Erika Radtke, the mother of a 4-year-old boy and newborn daughter in Carlsbad, Calif. “And it seems to pave the way for making healthier meals, even as he or she gets older.”

Making Baby Food: Disadvantages of the Homemade Approach

Some parents who’ve tried and given up on homemade baby food point out these disadvantages to making it:

  • Time. It takes time to make and prepare lots of little servings of homemade baby food. It’s much faster to pick up prepackaged servings.
  • Convenience. Prepackaged baby foods come in measured amounts and ready to serve.
  • Storage. Homemade baby foods may spoil more quickly and require refrigeration, which may take up room in your fridge or freezer if you make a lot of servings ahead of time. Prepackaged baby foods don’t need refrigerator storage until they’re opened.

Although Radtke made some of her son’s baby food, she admits, “It was a pain. I used to take a whole weekend to cook the foods, portion it out into ice cube trays, freeze them and store them. I didn’t have a problem using Gerber’s or Earth’s Best when I ran out, though.”

Making Baby Food: Disadvantages of the Homemade Approach continued…

If you’re daunted by the idea of making your own baby food, don’t feel that you’re neglecting your baby. “Foods intended for babies are so pure to begin with,” says Jennifer Shu, MD, a pediatrician in Atlanta and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality and Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup.

“If you’re really concerned about what your baby’s eating and don’t have the time to make your own baby food, focus your attention on what they’re eating once they begin table foods,” Shu tells WebMD. “It’s really a very short window of time when they are eating purees.”

Making Baby Food: What You’ll Need

If you decide to make your own baby food, says Shu, it’s not that difficult: “All you need is a food grinder and a way to steam the food.” (If you’re taking the time to make your own baby food, steaming is the best way to cook ingredients because it preserves the most nutrients.)

There are plenty of baby food makers on the market, from a French product that combines steaming, blending, warming, and defrosting,  to simple baby food processors, mills, and grinders. But you don’t need to buy any of these products; your own food processor will work just as well for making baby food. And if you don’t have one, just use a potato masher or blender, to make sure the food is soft and does not have chunks.

Many popular books offer hundreds of recipes for baby food purees, including Blender Baby Food, Top 100 Baby Purees, and the Petit Appetit Cookbook. These books can help you come up with new ideas to try with your baby and remind you of important nutrients to include, but as with baby food makers, they’re not a requirement for making your own baby food.

Healthy Homemade: How to Make Baby Food in 6 Easy Steps

  • Wash and rinse your hands and equipment.
  • Scrub and peel fruits and vegetables.
  • Bake, steam, roast, or microwave until tender (steaming and microwaving preserve the most nutrients).
  • Puree in a food processor with a little liquid (water, breast milk, or formula), or mash if your baby can handle more texture.
  • Store in the refrigerator or freezer, in airtight containers. (Packaged baby foods can be stored in the cupboard until they’re opened; because they’re fresh, homemade baby foods can’t.)
  • Rewarm when it’s time to eat and allow to cool.

There are a number of storage containers sold specifically for refrigerating and freezing small serving-sized amounts of baby food; you can also just use an ice cube tray.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can puree foods such as cooked meats (fully cooked, with no pink, and remove fat, skin, and connective tissue), beans, and cooked eggs.

Homemade Made Easy: 1-Step Baby Food

When you’re preparing some foods, you can actually cut the steps down to one. “Cutting up a very ripe pear, mashing a banana, mashing an avocado — that’s making your own baby food,” Shu tells WebMD. “Or, for example, when you make mashed potatoes for the family, set aside some that don’t have whole milk added. You can add a little butter or mild spices. As long as you’re eating healthy, you can give your baby a modified version of what you’re eating.”

 SOURCES:

Jennifer Shu, MD; co-author, Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality andFood Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup.

 

BENEFITS OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

6 REASONS TO FEED YOUR BABY HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

by Delilah Falcon

Making your own baby food helps ensure that your baby eats only natural ingredients. Some people feel that making your own baby food is inconvenient, others have embraced the process. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of homemade baby food.

Many parents today have become aware of the many benefits of using organic and natural products for themselves and their babies. Because of this surge in knowledge, many parents are choosing to make their own baby food. Making your own baby food is one way to ensure that your child is ingesting only natural ingredients.

benefits of homemade baby food

While some people may feel that making your own baby food is an inconvenience, others have embraced the process. If you are considering making food for your baby, weigh the advantages and disadvantages and make an informed decision.

Benefits Of Homemade Baby Food

Freshness

When you make your own baby food, you know exactly when it was prepared and when it was stored.  There is no way of knowing exactly when jarred baby food was prepared or how long it sat in a warehouse and then on your grocer’s shelf. With store-bought baby food, there is also no way to be sure that the food was not exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold, conditions that can alter the quality of the jarred food?

Nutritional Value

Making your own baby food ensures that the ingredients that you are using are of the best quality. When making your own baby food, there is no need to expose the food to high temperatures in order to kill bacteria that may be present in the jarred food. Food companies cook the food this way in order to lengthen its shelf life, however, this process can also destroy essential vitamins and minerals that are present in the foods, altering its nutritional value. At home you can steam the veggies, keeping the vitamins and minerals intact. Additionally, you won’t be adding any surprise ingredients or preservatives to your homemade food and you can choose the types of meats used as well, ensuring that they are lean and of the best quality.

Safety

When using jarred baby foods, which are mass-produced, you run the risk of feeding your baby food that has a possibility of contamination. While this danger may be rare, it is a very real risk and it can be potentially harmful to your baby. Over the past several years, manufacturers have recalled jarred baby foods due to contamination. Reports included instances of glass, bacteria and even arsenic as contamination culprits.

Taste

Homemade baby food simply tastes better. When we use fresh, homegrown or organic ingredients, the food tastes great. It is free of preservatives and pesticides, which can alter the true taste of food. If your baby grows accustomed to the taste of fresh, pure ingredients now, chances are, he or she will love them later in life as well.

Cost

Most people think that buying jarred baby food costs less than making it yourself, and though this may be true in the very beginning when your baby isn’t eating much, once your baby’s appetite increases, so will the cost of jarred baby food. The larger jars cost more, as do the ones containing meat. For example, you would need to by almost 7 jars of baby food bananas to equal one pound of fresh bananas. Buying one pound of fresh bananas would cost less and yield enough to make baby food and have extra bananas for the rest of the family to eat.

Variety

When you make your own baby foods, your child will be exposed to a larger variety of items. Ideally you could puree nearly all of the same food items that you’ve made your family for dinner. This will get your child accustomed to the foods that you prepare at home on any typical day, and it will widen the variety of choices you’re your baby will have when compared to jarred foods. Of course, there will be certain foods that may have to wait to be introduced until your child is a bit older, in this case it is beneficial to speak with your pediatrician regarding any dietary restrictions due to the child’s age or possible allergens.

BENEFITS OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD

4 ICKY THINGS HIDING IN STORE-BOUGHT BABY FOOD

Do you feed your child homemade baby food or store-bought baby food? The answer could say a lot about what kind of parent you are! Just kidding — we’re not going there today. I fed my baby homemade, but mostly out of laziness. It was just easier to mash up whatever was already on our plates (within reason) and feed that to our son. But in case you’re looking for an excuse to buy that expensive Babycook, science is on your side. There are some significant reasons why homemade food is better and they’re all in the form of icky additives found in prepared baby food. Here’s what you probablydon’t want to feed your baby.

Sugar: A 71-gram serving of banana puree may contain up to 13 grams of sugar. Compare this with the same amount of mashed-up fresh banana, which has just 8.7 grams of sugar. Baby food manufacturers may not add sugar, but since most are made from reconstituted concentrates, you get more sugar anyway.

Sodium: Looking at the banana puree again, the bottled version may have 5 milligrams of sodium. Fresh banana has less than 1 milligram of sodium. Again, this is due to the process of making commercial baby food. By the way, that process also removes some of the helpful fiber you do want.

Fillers: While many baby food makers don’t add sugar or salt, they may still add starchy fillers that make it less nutritious per volume than homemade.

Preservatives: Some baby food manufacturers “fortify” their baby food with vitamin C, but babies already get plenty of this vitamin from breast milk or formula. And it’s a little suspicious that vitamin C also happens to be a preservative. Why does it need to be in there at all, really?

Just keep in mind, baby food when your baby is under a year old is less about actually feeding your baby and more about getting them used to eating solids and experiencing new flavors. So if you’re interested in making your own, don’t over-think it. Start small — you know, take baby steps.