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A Guide for Indian Moms: Making Baby Food Made Easy
After introduction of solid foods to your baby in a few weeks’ time your little one will need 4-5 feeds of solid food in a day. And making it every day becomes a very time consuming task. Surely you need ways to make it faster and tastier. Also baby should be given freshly cooked food every time so that you make sure everything you feed baby gives maximum possible nutrients. Let’s see how to cook the baby food quickly with some baby food gadgets and tips.
Baby food equipment for quicker and easier cooking
It is best to cook food just before you want to feed. Baby’s stomach is small and he needs small meals frequently e.g. a baby of 7 – 8 months old needs 5 feeds a day including fruits. So daily you will have to cook some baby meals separately. You don’t need to buy any fancy n costly equipment for making baby food. This useful list is of equipment given below will make baby food cooking faster and easier. Most of the items given in this list are already in your kitchen. You will need to change the equipment as baby grows. Starting with puree in 7th month to food in it’s proper state till baby is 1 year old.
1. Pressure Cooker:
For preparing baby food separately it is good idea to use small size i.e. 1.5 liters size pressure cooker. It cooks food faster. You can cook small quantity. You may also use steamer for cooking vegetables. One important note: After cooking vegetables in cooker use all of water in it. As this water has part of nutrients from vegetables and you don’t want to waste it. So it is important you put only required amount of water considering what consistency you want in baby food. You can also take portion from your food but baby food should be without salt n sugar so it is sometimes convenient to cook it separately, especially for first few weeks.
2. Blender/Food Processor:
You need a food processor or blender or hand blender for pureeing the food before or after cooking and to make fruit juices.
Note: Food should be pureed only for 6-8 months babies. After your baby is around 7-8 months, just mash the food and encourage baby to chew lumpy food and not just swallow the puree. Till baby is 1 year old, try training him to eat food as others in family (any healthy food without chilly or spices in it).
: Drain cooked fruits and vegetables using spoon to push food through strainer. When baby is around 7-8 months mothers are encouraged to stop the use of blender during that time you may use strainer. Even in earlier days strainer is better than blender or food processor. It helps removing peels from cooked food e.g. green peas or hard threads from cooked food like green beans. Use only high quality strainer or baby food strainer as shown in the image.
Note: use a bigger spoon to cover at least ¾ th part of strainer so that food doesn’t slip through. Food slips while mashing food with a spoon we use for eating and it is time consuming.
: After strainer next stage is the masher when your baby is 8-9 months old. A potato masher is good for mashing vegetables and fruits when baby is ready for a thicker or chunkier texture. You may also use fork for mashing small quantity.
5. Small egg beater/Wire whipper:
6. Cheese or nuts grater
In baby food you will be adding nutmeg powder or nuts powder etc. grating nuts on time will give better taste and nutrients. So keep a small handy grater in your kitchen. While using grater just rub the nut very quickly forth and back over the surface and do not apply force because with rubbing fast you get fine powder.
7. Combined steamer and blender:
there are some special steamers plus blender available especially designed for baby food making. Good choice for working mothers to save time.
Here are some very good options: http://www.parents.com/recipes/baby-food/baby-food-makers/#page=12
Baby food utensils
A small hotpot is always useful for traveling with baby even for few hours. You can get one meal ready and packed in hotpot. Also even while feeding daily meals at home you can use hotpot instead of a regular bowl to keep food warm for long time feedings.
2. Microwave usable baby bowl:
Most of babies eat slowly; you may have to warm food few times. If you have microwave at home you can warm food in same such bowl as many times as required during feeding.
3. Baby feeding spoon:
use soft spoons with rounded edges. There are many good design of spoons available in baby shops e.g. heat sensitive spoon, easy grip spoons for baby led feeding.
4. Small cup:
Encourage your baby to drink water from small cups. Use small diameter cup for comfortable drinking. If baby doesn’t like open cups try giving a sippy cup but ultimately keep trying open cups.
1. Many times you can use portion of food you are cooking for family. But as baby food must be without chilly, salt and sugar, take out the baby’s portion before you add salt/sugar/chilies/spices
2. For first one or two months of starting solid foods, cook rice or dal for extra time till it is so soft that it is easily mash-able. Make a consistency like that of a thick soup.
3. Do not make powder of rice and store. Cooking whole grains rice just before feeding is best to get maximum nutrients.
4. Sprouted wheat and grains flour is much more nutritious and easier to digest than regular flour. Read more here.
This is short time span of messy kitchen and home, all time thinking what and how to make food for your baby. If you follow the tips and make changes in baby food consistency then by the time baby is 1 year you do not have to be kitchen all the time.