Last week we talked about the early stages of bonding with baby while he or she is still in the womb, and of course those bonding moments get even better once your newborn arrives! Feeding your baby – whether it’s through breast or bottle feeding – is one of the best ways to build that connection. It’s a dedicated amount of time each day when you’ll be holding baby close and able to make that precious and important eye contact. But as baby starts to move into eating solid foods, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on those bonding moments!
Think about time spent with family and friends at the dinner table. Don’t some of the best conversations happen during or after a good meal? Mealtimes have become a natural bonding time in this increasingly busy and high-stimulus world we live in. Hopefully, dinner at your house can be a time to sit down, disconnect from social sites and outside responsibilities, and tune in to the people around you. The benefits of bonding over at least one meal a day with your loved ones has been widely discussed, and making baby a part of that from an early age can have lasting positive results – including improved vocabulary, greater confidence, and a more positive outlook on life.
Embracing that valuable time at the dinner table is the whole idea behind Stokke’s Tripp Trapp® chairs – designed to bring your baby to right up to the dining table and closer to the family from day one, allowing him or her to learn and grow alongside you.
The best part about the Tripp Trapp® chair is that it grows with your baby; with thoughtfully designed adjustable plates and various inserts and cushions, it’s crafted to provide a comfortable seat for your child as a newborn and all the way through their teenage years (when it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them at your dinner table)!
While just spending time together as a family during dinner can be impactful in itself, the food that’s served up is also a great way to help your child establish healthier nutritional habits and have better health outcomes long term. But that in-between time when baby is moving off of naturally nutritious milk but not ready for the nutritionally balanced meals you make for yourself, it can be tough to know how to make healthy baby food at home. To help give you the confidence to make meals for your little one, we’ve put together 3 easy recipes you can make at home.
But first – the basics. The beauty of homemade baby food is that you can really make any puree imaginable by using fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. In general, you can do it in four simple steps:
Homemade Baby Food Basics
- Pick up some (ideally organic) produce and wash the fruits & veg thoroughly!
- Trim, peel, or chop as needed, and cook (either baked or boiled) until softened.
- Cool the food and pop in the blender and puree until smooth.
- Add water or strain as needed to create a smooth, easy-to-digest consistency.
It’s best to start with simple one-ingredient purees – using things like apples, pears, squash, banana, sweet peas, or lentils. But if you’re interested in stepping it up to some more complex combos we’ve got three recipes for you to make for your baby’s first year with solid foods!
Baby’s First Meal: Creamy Avocado
This recipe blends the ever-nutritious avocado with uber-nutritious breastmilk or formula milk to gently introduce them to solids, perfect for when your pediatrician gives you the go-ahead for baby to move on to solids (between 4-6 months). Here’s how to make it:
- Take a whole avocado, cut lengthwise and scoop avocado flesh into a blender, discarding pit and peel.
- Puree avocado until smooth.
- To make it creamier add breastmilk or formula milk 1 TBSP at a time and blend until no chunks remain.
Introducing Baby To Leafy Greens: Sweet Potato & Spinach Mash
A great way to introduce your baby to leafy greens and establish a taste for them early on is by combining them with other appealing veggie flavors! Sweet potato is a great blend to go for – but this meal might be more suited to 7-10 month olds who can handle slightly thicker consistencies. Here’s how to make it:
- Wash and stem 1 cup of fresh spinach (packed)
- Wash and peel 1/2 large sweet potato
- Chop the sweet potato and place in a boiling pot of water for 15 minutes – or until soft
- As the potato is nearing the end of cooking, bring a small pot of water to boil and add the spinach. It should take 2-3 minutes to cook down.
- Strain out the hot water from both pots, then add the spinach to a blender and pulse, making sure to chop it up as much as possible.
- Add the sweet potato and blend the mixture together, and then add cool water as needed to reach a smooth pureed consistency.
- Make sure to let puree cool before feeding to baby.
A Sweet, Healthy Treat For Baby: Peaches & Cream
Yogurt is a great food to introduce to baby – as it can help him or her form a healthy gut bacteria while delivering up healthy fats crucial for development. Make sure to talk to your doc about the best time to introduce yogurt, and monitor baby’s reaction to it (does he or she become gassy, uncomfortable, or constipated from it? These are all good things to watch out for with dairy!). If you do choose to make a yogurt mix, make sure to use a pasteurized, whole milk, organic yogurt. Here’s how to make a naturally sweet and tasty treat for your baby:
- Wash and peel 1-2 organic peaches, and cut into slices. If using frozen peaches, make sure to thaw fully before using.
- Place peaches in a steamer or small saucepan and heat on low until they have cooked down slightly. If you’d like you can add a sprig or two of mint to the pan and cook that down as well!
- Add peach slices (and optional mint) to blender along with any juices and puree fully.
- Take 1 cup of organic full fat Greek yogurt and stir in the pureed peach mix until you reach your desired consistency.
This post is sponsored by Stokke UK.