I’ve always admired new moms and dads who prepare homemade baby food for their little ones. When my older son was ready for solids, I never considered making my own vegetable-and-fruit concoctions. Instead, I simply purchased jars (and jars and jars) of organic baby food and called it a day.
A few years later, when I was pregnant again, I reconsidered my stance on DIY baby food. “If other moms can do it, so can I,” I proudly thought. Before my younger son was even born, I ordered a baby food maker — and never took it out of its box. The truth is, when it came time to start feeding him steamed and pureed meals, I was intimidated by the process.
What I should’ve done was start practicing with my baby food maker when it first arrived, before my overwhelmed new mommy brain kicked into high gear. Because, as it turns out, making homemade baby food really isn’t that hard. As the Plum Organics website explains, if you can mash a banana in a bowl and mix it with a little bit of breast milk, formula, or water, you can make baby food at home.
However, there are a couple of safety concerns to keep in mind when preparing homemade baby food, especially because the risk of getting a foodborne illness is higher for infants than older children or adults. According to Foodsafety.gov, you should never use dairy products made from raw, unpasteurized milk, honey, or home-canned food when DIYing baby food. All fruits and vegetables, even if they’re going to be peeled, should be washed in clean, running water, separate cutting boards should be used for meat, poultry, and fish and for non-meat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Once the baby food has been prepared, don’t allow it to stand at room temperature for more than two hours. Fruits and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator for 48 hours, while meat, poultry, fish and egg dishes can only be refrigerated for 24 hours. Finally, frozen baby foods should be defrosted in the microwave or on the stove, never in warm standing water or by leaving them on the kitchen counter.