Homemade baby food is just as it sounds, baby food you prepare at home for your baby. There are books devoted to the art of making homemade baby food, and lots of tips online for making your own baby food. Sometimes companies sell food that is called “homemade,” which may simply mean that there are fewer ingredients.
There are lots of advantages to making your own food for a baby. You can strictly control ingredients, including where the ingredients are obtained and what if any additional foods you want to use. When you’re first starting to feed a baby solid food, the key is simplicity, and only introducing about one new food a week. Since some babies have food allergies, it may be a good idea to not make huge batches of homemade food. Once the baby has been introduced to most solid foods, it can be easier to make up bigger batches.
The simplest way to make homemade baby food is with a food grinder. You can purchase hand operated ones designed for grinding baby food, and some food processors will also grind or puree food. If you’re cooking for yourself and stick to baby friendly items, there isn’t a need to make large batches. Instead, simply grind up or process any foods that you’re preparing. If a baby can eat chicken and that’s your dinner entrée for the night, grind up a bit for baby. Add anything else like applesauce, winter squash or peas to provide different tastes.
Some people do make batches of homemade baby food, and usually freeze them in things like ice cube trays, which does provide perfect portions. Exercise caution when storing food — make sure to carefully wash all food preparation items, and if you plan to can baby food, be certain to observe safe canning practices. Babies are much more vulnerable to illnesses when food is improperly prepared or stored, and food safety is particularly important.
On this subject, homemade baby food for children under the age of one should not contain honey. Honey contains botulism spores to which infants are extremely vulnerable and should never be used, even in cooked form, in baby food. In fact, one thing to remember regarding homemade foods is that babies tend to have very simple tastes. You don’t need to spice or sweeten foods for a baby to enjoy them. If you start with very plain foods, your baby will be better for it, and will tend not to develop the need to have food that is overly salted or sweetened in the future.
Many people feel that one particular advantage of homemade baby food is that it can be less expensive to prepare, even when using high quality or organic ingredients. This is mainly true — high-end baby foods in stores can be pricey, and you’ll usually be able to make equivalent foods at home for less money. Of course, it may help to have a jar or two of commercial baby food on hand for when you don't have time to prepare a meal for baby at home.