Homemade Baby Food 101

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Homemade Baby Food 101

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    Feeding baby.  The one thing that has stressed me out more than anything else since I became a mom.  But like all challenging things, I find a good way to overcome that is to change your mindset.  To that effect, I thrive in finding the healthiest, most affordable and most convenient way to feed my 9-month old son.   This ends up usually being homemade baby food.

    In this post I’m going to talk about how I make 90% of Paxton’s baby food.  However, if you aren’t to that stage yet, but breastfeeding exclusively isn’t working out (despite my best efforts I’ve used a lot of formula), check out my previous post on affording baby formula here

    How To Make Homemade Baby Food In 6 Steps

    Step 1: Outline Your Goals

    When you start your baby food making journey, you want to answer a few questions, so you accomplish what you want with the least amount of money, time and effort.  As a mom, I find that all three of those things are in short supply, so I try to conserve them as much as possible.

    • Are you planning to use exclusively homemade baby food, or intermix it with store-bought?
    • Are you passionate about baby only getting organic food?
    • How much freezer real estate do you have available?
    • Is baby eating finger foods yet or strictly purees?
    • What is baby’s consistency preference?
    • Any family history of allergies?

    Step 2: Decide How Often You Are Going to Make Homemade Baby Food

    You could make fresh baby food every day, but as a working mom, that’s really not practical for me to do.  I also know plenty of stay at home moms that don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch for baby every day.  If you do, more power to you, but if not, decide how often you are able to make baby food.  I plan to make some baby food every other weekend or so.  Therefore, I want to make sure there is enough quantity and variety to last a couple weeks.  Also consider if baby eats any adult food.  My son is to the point where he eats cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc. so I can sub those in instead of homemade food once in a while.

    Step 3: Make a Plan

    If there are certain things that baby really likes, make them in bulk.  This goes back to time-saving. However, for new things, make a small amount until you decide if baby likes it.  You should definitely retry things many times, but some of them are just too much of a battle no matter how much you try.  You don’t want a freezer full of something that puts you and baby in a bad mood every time you feed it. 

    I suggest making at least one new food each time, so that you have variety to introduce.  Once you have identified a few food baby enjoys, then make these often enough to keep a freezer stash.


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    Step 4: Assemble Your Toolkit and Ingredients

    When making baby food, you will need cookie sheets for baking, a steaming pot for steaming, containers to freeze food in, and a blender of some type.

    A bag of sweet potatoes and a bag of carrots
    A bag of sweet potatoes and a 5-pound bag of carrots are what I’m making into baby food today.

    I see no reason why someone needs to buy the blenders made specifically for baby food.  If you have a ninja, mini ninja, or some type of smoothie blender, then you are set.  I use my mini ninja pictured here and it works great!  There are plenty of storage things designed for freezing and storing baby food. I have these ones. However, I find that basic ice cube trays with lids from Target work great!  I also found these tiny ice cube trays that are great for making things as mix-ins.  I’ve made pears and zucchini in these.  Paxton eats a solid 2 ounces minimum now, but if you have a younger baby, having smaller cubes allows you to mix a couple of things without ending up with tons of food.

    Various sized icecube trays for freezing homemade baby food

    Once you have everything necessary for making the baby food, you need a way to store the frozen food.  If you have a baby food tray or ice cube tray that has a lid, you could store it in the tray.  You could also package the food into pouches and freeze these.  I have this machine to fill pouchesbut have never used it.  My hesitation is because the pouches aren’t really easier to feed at this stage and I can’t thaw them in the microwave.  I let everything freeze in the trays and then put the cubes into gallon-sized Ziplock bags.  I can write on the bag what it is and the date I made it.  It keeps the food from getting frost and is easy to store and label.

    Ziplock bags full of various types of homemade baby food cubes

    Step 5: Making Homemade Baby Food

    To actually make the food, you will wash, chop, peal and cook as required to get something that can be pureed or squished between the fingers (for older babies).  Most things can be either steamed or baked, but in general, baking preserves the nutrients a little better than steaming.  Once cooked until very soft, you can puree in your blender of choice.  Some things (like potatoes) will need a little water, breast milk or formula added to make it thin enough.  Other things (like pears) will be plenty watery without adding anything.  Below is a table of things I have made for Paxton, and my notes on making them.

    Chopped carrots on a white cutting board
    Carrots steaming on the stove
    Homemade baby food in containers ready to freeze
    Homemade baby food cubes on a red cutting board
    Here are the carrot cubes ready to put into a labeled bag.

    Step 6: Storing and Serving Homemade Baby Food

    Once the food is made, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.  Once thawed, you want to use the food within about 24 hours.  When reheating, I put the desired number of cubes into a baby bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  I stir and add an additional 30 seconds if required.  I then mix with Greek yogurt, oatmeal or rice cereal or applesauce as desired.  Alternatively, you can put the food for the next day into the fridge to thaw and serve it cold.  Baby doesn’t know what should be hot and what should be cold.  As long as it’s not frozen and not too hot, you are okay.  You do need to make sure you heat slowly and stir the food well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots.  I also mix the food with something cold like Greek yogurt or applesauce to further cool it down.

    “Homemade” Baby Food That Works Well For Baby, But Doesn’t Require Prep

    • No sugar added applesauce (just apples and water)
    • Bananas
    • Plain Greek yogurt
    • Avocado

    Note: Make sure all peels are removed prior to freezing.  I cook the sweet potatoes with the peel on and then scoop out the middle.  Everything else, I peel prior to cooking.  I also chop everything else prior to cooking so that it doesn’t take as long.  For butternut squash, I slice in half and scoop out the seeds prior to baking.


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    Note: There are different stages of solids.  When first starting baby on solid foods, you will want them very smooth and a little runny.  As baby gets more comfortable, you can increase the thickness.  Once baby is around 9-months old and can pick up food, you can start serving small pieces of food that can be squished between the fingers (like really well-cooked pasta or veggies) and things that dissolve quickly (like Cheerios).  Also, when first starting solids, only introduce a new food every 3 days or so.  This allows you to observe for any allergies.

    Ready to start planning meals for baby?  Get my free age-specific meal planner HERE!


    Homemade Baby Food 101
    Homemade Baby Food 101

    What homemade baby food have you made?  Was it successful?  Let me know in the comments.

    If your baby is drinking any formula (babies should drink breast milk or formula until they are at least a year old), check out my post on Affording Baby Formula.

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    Get Your FREE Baby Food Meal Planner

    Get a printable meal planner specific to your baby’s age. Each meal planner includes age-specific servings, a place to brainstorm foods and a calendar to plan meals and check which food groups are included.

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Homemade Baby Food 101

      Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      39 thoughts on “Homemade Baby Food 101

      • February 17, 2019 at 10:36 am
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        I tried making homemade baby food for my daughter. I tried a bunch of different things, but ended up buying purees and then just doing finger foods (or mashing the veggies we were eating for our meal). I am going to make a better effort of pureeing my own fruits and veggies the second time around. I am less intimidated by the process and your post helps with that! I plan to purchase some of those ice cube trays with lids, though.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm
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          I’m glad my post was helpful! Storing the food definitely helps because you can make big batches and then just thaw the ice cubes when you need a meal.

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      • February 19, 2019 at 9:31 pm
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        What better way to make sure your baby is eating the right kinds of foods and fresh foods than by making it yourself! Plus I Love Broccoli!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm
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          It’s so much easier than researching what ingredients are in each brand of baby food and it’s way cheaper too!

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      • February 19, 2019 at 11:14 pm
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        I wish I had this guide when my son was little. We struggled with food for so long.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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          I’m lucky my son was a good eater. He was pretty game to try whatever which is good because I over analyzed feeding for way too long!

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      • February 20, 2019 at 2:36 am
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        The great thing about making your own baby food is that it doesn’t require a zillion steps — just two! First you cook the food, then purée it! done !! thanks for sharing this amazing information!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:48 pm
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          The thought of making homemade baby food seems to overwhelm many new parents. Hopefully this post shows that it isn’t terribly complicated or time consuming.

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      • February 20, 2019 at 3:11 am
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        homemade is best! will definitely be sharing this with my friends who are parents and parent-to-be’s. thanks for sharing

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:47 pm
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          Homemade is so much cheaper and you can tell exactly what your baby is eating! Hopefully this helps your friends realize that it isn’t too difficult to provide homemade baby food.

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      • February 20, 2019 at 4:17 am
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        This is such a great system you have here! I struggled with having the time to make baby food for my kids when they were young because I was working. I love the idea of putting it in trays and then popping the cubes out for easy feeding later. Great post!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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          There is absolutely no way I would have time to make baby food every few days. Being able to make big batches of a few things once a month and storing it was essential. It let me condense the effort down to only a couple hours once a month.

          Reply
      • February 20, 2019 at 10:25 am
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        These are fantastic time-saving ideas. Homemade is always best, isn’t it, but time is often the problem for people. Nice post.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm
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          Yes the thought of how much time it will take deters a lot parents. Hopefully this article encourages someone to give it a try. It really only required a couple hours once a month.

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      • February 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm
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        We made baby food for our fourth child as we saw our sister in law do it and realized it was not as daunting as we thought. It does take some time to prep and make the food, but you control what the baby eats (no sugar or other things that may or may not be in store bought food).

        Reply
        • February 25, 2019 at 7:44 pm
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          The hardest part seems to be getting the process figured out initially. Once you get it down, it’s not too bad to do regularly. Hopefully these tips help others get started.

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      • February 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm
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        great and money saving tips right here. There’s no such joy than being absolutely sure of what you’re feeding your child with

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:43 pm
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          It was peace of mind knowing exactly what my son was eating and definitely less expensive.

          Reply
      • February 20, 2019 at 4:08 pm
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        I loved doing this for my oldest son. It was time consuming, but I felt better knowing what was going into my baby’s food. The storage tips are really awesome!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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          Being able to store the food for a month was a must for me. By doing that I took the prep time down to only once a month which made it a lot more manageable!

          Reply
      • February 20, 2019 at 8:53 pm
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        I always prepared home made food for my babies. I think they are the most healthy and you can control the ingredients and taste. A great resources for all new moms, as usual.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:42 pm
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          Homemade baby food is a great option, but I think new moms can be intimidated by the thought of putting in the time and effort to prepare it. Hopefully this helps make it less overwhelming to start.

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      • February 20, 2019 at 9:42 pm
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        Great idea. This way you know what you are feeding your baby. It’s all natural and without the preservatives.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:41 pm
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          Yes! I love knowing I’m feeding my baby the same foods I would eat.

          Reply
      • February 21, 2019 at 4:56 am
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        Now I wish I could go back and redo my momming years…I would totally make my own food like this! But, since I can’t (and nah, I really don’t want to!), I shall pass this page onto my daughter-in-laws for their babes.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:40 pm
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          Making baby food is fun, but I’m also glad we are past that stage now because it’s one less thing I need to do.

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      • February 21, 2019 at 6:14 am
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        I really need to take note of these awesome tips! One day I hope to do homemade baby food when we have children. I just want to be sure I know what’s going into their little bodies!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:39 pm
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          It’s nice to know and I find it way less gross than store bought baby food.

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      • February 21, 2019 at 12:27 pm
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        My daughter will be having a new little one this summer. I’m saving this post to share with her. My youngest went straight to table food so it’s been over 25 years since I’ve had to think about it.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm
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          Oh a new grandchild sounds like so much fun! Hopefully this information is helpful for your daughter.

          Reply
      • February 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm
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        I LOVE your graphic resources! I tried so hard to be that mom, but I just couldn’t stay disciplined enough.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:37 pm
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          Making big batches on the weekend about once a month and then freezing in cubes was the only way I could manage to stay on top of it. There is no way I could prepare as needed for each meal or each day.

          Reply
      • February 21, 2019 at 5:43 pm
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        You know– my kids are way past baby food but it’s still so relevant. Guess what my secret ingredient to baking is? You guessed it, baby food. Adds favor, health, and moister and nobody knows it’s there!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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          That’s such a great idea to add baby food into baking. I never would have thought of that! What kinds do you use?

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      • February 21, 2019 at 7:14 pm
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        This is an excellent guide and resource! I really like your tip on adding Greek yogurt after thawing and heating.

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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          Thanks! I’ve discovered Greek yogurt really does have a ton of uses. We use it in place of sour cream when we cook.

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      • February 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm
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        I used to love making baby food! My favorite was fresh pumpkin and finding fruits and veggies that paired well with it!

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        • February 25, 2019 at 7:34 pm
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          I never made fresh pumpkin baby food. For that matter, I’ve never made it for myself either.

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      • February 23, 2019 at 7:01 am
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        That was a very nice guide on making a baby food from Home. I will sure teach my girlfriend when we get married.. 😂😂

        Reply

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