Are you concerned about your child's growth? Has a healthcare provider suggested that your child needs increased calories? This does not mean you are doing anything wrong, in fact because you are here reading this article it means you are doing things right! Reaching out for help and ideas is the best way to start.
As the parent or primary caregiver you are the expert on your child. The rest of us are your team and we rely on your feedback to make evidence based but personalized recommendations. Below I offer tips on how to start getting your grocery list and your kitchen equipped to prepare high calorie baby food at home. Please reach out if you have questions about these recommendations or need more specific information based on your child's needs.
*These tips are meant for babies requiring catch up growth or have high needs due to malabsorption and are just starting to eat pureed foods. This means they are still receiving the majority of their nutrition through breast milk or formula. I will have articles coming out on pureed foods for older children and tips on homemaking g-tube feedings. #homemadebabyfood #babyfoodrecipes
When designing baby food recipes aim to have a fat source in every recipe and at least 1 of the following: protein, fruit, vegetable (as they are exposed to more foods increase this goal to a fat + 2 food groups ex. start with 2 ingredients = cherries&almonds then move to 3 = carrot&white bean&olive oil) #healthyfood #highcalorie
Fat sources you can add to recipes: avocado, olive oil, nuts/seeds, egg yolk, coconut oil, whole milk greek yogurt (if age appropriate)
Any food you are not able to blend easily at home should not be eliminated from your baby's diet. You can experiment with how to blend them best at home or buy the single ingredient in jars from the store and add it to your recipes. (ex. I always found green beans to be difficult to blend to smooth)
Cooked white potatoes blend well but do not freeze well. They become sticky when thawed. Sweet potatoes are the better choices if you are going to freeze your recipes.
When adding liquid to blend these recipes add whatever milk baby is drinking. (ex. High calorie formula, breast milk, cows milk if age appropriate)
Some of these veggies have a lot of water in them (ex. Zucchini) these recipes may not need any extra fluid. Start small when adding fluid to blend, you can always add more.
Continue to follow recommendations on introducing new foods only 1 at a time. DO NOT offer a recipe that includes two new foods for your baby at one time. Talk with a health professional about introducing new foods.
Instead of adding a grain to recipes mix or serve these with instant baby cereal at the time of feeding to decrease the amount of freezer/refrigerator space you need for pre-made foods
Using ice cube trays with covers is a great way to prep food ahead of time and offer your baby homemade food at every meal.
Pre-made food allows all caregivers to provide a high fat diet to your baby (easy for babysitters/relatives/daycare to give your baby what their body needs the most)
If you prefer blending what the rest of the household is having at every meal remember to add a maximum of only 1 new food into the blend and add extra fat.
When making homemade baby food eat, refrigerate, or freeze the food within 2 hours of preparing (After 2 hours it should be discarded)
Freshly made or defrosted baby food can stay in the refrigerator 48-72 hours (After 72 hours it should be discarded)
Frozen baby food can stay in the freezer 3-6 months (After 6 months it should be discarded)
Defrosting in the refrigerator is the #1 choice; for all food not just baby food ;)
If you defrost in the microwave make sure the food is cool enough before serving baby; food can not go back into the refrigerator anything thawed in the microwave should be used or tossed same day.
If you defrost under COOL RUNNING water the food can not go back into the refrigerator anything thawed under running water should be used or tossed same day.
Standard ice cube trays provide 1oz OR 2tbsp of baby food per ice cube
Use ice cube trays right after preparing the food. Label with all foods and fluid in the recipe + the date it was prepared.
Option for space saving: once the recipe is completely frozen label ziplock bags and move ice cubes into ziplock bags.
When defrosting transfer baby food into a small container, I am partial to using the 4oz mason jar. The best way to defrost is in the refrigerator.
ice cube tray with covers
tape + marker to label ice cube trays
galloon size zip lock bags
8oz or less storage containers
lots of #wholefoods