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Homemade Baby Food

Feeding our babies healthy and nutrient-dense foods to help their growing brains and bodies has always been very important to me. It’s time to throw out your store-bought baby food and start making homemade baby food instead!

A woman smiling with four bowls of homemade baby food in front of her.

It’s not always easy homesteading with children or homesteading while pregnant, but it’s always worth it!

While preparing for a new baby on the homestead, I knew we’d want to make homemade baby food again. Baby Nathaniel loves his freeze-dried yogurt bites and all the baby food recipes you’ll find in this post.

I’m sharing the recipes I’ve used to feed eleven children who are growing healthy and strong into adulthood.

When Are Babies Ready for Solid Food?

Babies have rapidly growing brains and bodies, so it’s crucial that we nourish them during their early years. In the first stage of life, breast milk is absolutely the best. You’ll want to ensure you’re focusing on your nutrition as a mom to pass along the best nutrition to your baby.

When babies reach about six months old, they need additional iron (which is not present in milk), which can stall their growth and make them anemic if you’re not careful. Studies have found that babies who were exclusively fed breast milk had greater chances of anemia than those introduced to solid foods (and this was at 4-6 months)! (Source)

A mother feeding her baby homemade baby food.

Here is an excerpt from Sally’s book, “According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, ‘Infants with chronic, severe iron deficiency have been observed to display increased fearfulness, unhappiness, fatigue, low activity, wariness, solemnity and proximity to the mother during free play, development testing and at home.’ Anemic infants who did not receive iron supplementation ‘never smiled, never interacted socially, and never showed social referencing’.”

Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to go overboard too early…  but starting to give babies tastes of the more iron-rich foods on your own plate early on is normal and what most traditional cultures have done. A few bites of egg yolk or liver from your plate are great for little babies.   

Once babies start reaching for your food or mimicking chewing AND they have lost their gag reflex, they are ready for more regular and larger meals. Another sign they are ready for food is they will stop pushing their tongue out when a spoon or a bit of food is placed in their mouth.

Four glass bowls of colorful homemade babyfood.

What Are “Solid” Foods?

To make sure we’re on the same page, when I refer to “solid” food I mean anything other than liquids (such as breast milk). Just because a baby is ready for “solid” foods doesn’t mean they’re ready to tackle a steak.

Their food will still need to be soft and or pureed. At about one year, my babies have been ready for more solid “finger” foods that they can pick up and feed themselves.

How to Introduce Foods to Babies

I firmly believe in easy baby feeding. Giving baby food off your plate as they sit in your lap until they are about nine months old or until they start asking for food is my ideal way to go.

However, not all of us are with our babies at every meal, so having some pre-made baby food is a great option. But should you really be feeding your baby grains as their first food? 

A woman in the kitchen with ingredients to make homemade baby food.

Best Introductory Foods for Baby

With all of the allergies and digestive challenges in our modern world, I keep my babies away from grains, refined sugar, processed dairy and nuts until after their first birthday. This gives them ample time to prepare their digestive systems to process harder-to-digest foods. I also avoid leafy greens and most raw foods, which are harder to digest.  

Instead of baby cereal and jarred baby foods, I turn to home-cooked veggies and meats. (See below for my favorite combinations.)  

A woman scooping fat off the top of a jar of bone broth.

What About Fats?

Moreover, there is a huge importance of fat for babies. Because they’re growing at such rapid rates, if they don’t get adequate nutrition, their growth can be stalled.

Mother’s milk is primarily fat, much of it saturated fat, which is needed for proper growth and development. These milk fats (and animal fats) will provide energy for your baby and build muscle and bone.

Finally, these important fats that provide vitamins A, D, and K are necessary for protein and mineral assimilation, normal growth and hormone production. (Source)

So which fats are best for baby? A variety is best. Choose fats and oils that give your baby a wide range of fat-soluble nutrients.

  • Butter, fatty meats, lard and coconut oil are all great options.
  • Also, the monounsaturated fats found in chicken, duck and goose fat are fantastic.
  • Avocados and olive oil are other great fat sources.
A woman making homemade baby food in a small food processor.

What About Salt?

We all know that good quality salt is essential for us adults to maintain adequate minerals. The same goes for babies. The chloride within salt is needed for a baby’s developing brain, and sodium is critical for neurological development. (Source)

What’s Wrong with Commercial Baby Food?

Simple, nutritious foods like egg yolk and liver are unavailable as baby food in jars. Even quality-sourced baby food meat is hard to find. You won’t see pasture-raised organic chicken on most grocery store shelves!

Furthermore, most baby foods contain water as a main ingredient. And who wants to be paying for water?

Supplies needed to make homemade baby food on a counter.

Making Homemade Baby Food

When it comes to making homemade baby food, you’ll need to source all your ingredients. If you’re not growing or raising the food yourself, then be sure to source it from a reputable farmer when possible.

Supplies Needed

  • Food Processor: I love my mini food processor for making smaller batches of baby food. You can also use something like this Breville food processor (which I also use and love).
  • Cutting Board/Knife: For any chopping and prepping, be sure to have a cutting board and knife handy.
  • Spatula: You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure everything is incorporated.
  • Spoon: You’re going to want to taste-test the food!
  • Storage Containers: If you’re batch cooking, have some storage containers or ice cube trays ready. Otherwise, have glass storage containers for the refrigerator ready.
Homemade baby food ingredients on a wooden counter.

Ingredients Needed

The combinations are virtually endless when it comes to homemade baby food. You can make up individual servings of the following foods or keep reading to find some of my favorite combinations for an “all-in-one” meal.

  • Meat: Chicken, fish, liver, and beef, all home-raised on pasture or carefully raised by a local farmer.
  • Veggies: Broccoli, green beans, beets, carrots and pumpkin.
  • Fruit: I keep fruit to a minimum. Only combine fruit with baby food that contains protein and fats to avoid blood sugar spikes. For a little added sweetness to some of our baby food recipes, I like to add apples or bananas. (Stay away from citrus fruits as they can cause allergic reactions and/or digestive problems for babies.)
  • Fats: I prefer using our homemade butter, coconut oil, our home-rendered lard, or chicken, duck and goose fat. Avocados and olive oil are other great fat sources.
  • Salt: Don’t forget the salt! We use and love Redmond Real Salt (use code “HFSalt” for 15% off your order).
  • Liquids: For younger babies, you’ll need to add adequate liquids to their food to thin and smooth it out. As your baby gets older, you can leave it a more “chunky” consistency so they get used to chewing. Continue reading for our favorite liquid options.
A woman holding a spoon of gelled broth with a gallon of broth and an instant pot on the counter in front of her.

Adding Liquids

When cooking baby food, the vegetables will need to be steamed before pureeing. There are a few options when it comes to liquids used in baby food.

  • Water: If using water to thin out baby food, consider using the water used to steam the vegetables. This will help add back the nutrients that were cooked out.
  • Bone Broth: One of my favorite liquid options is good-quality homemade bone broth. I love having freeze-dried broth on hand for small-batch needs like homemade baby food.
  • Breast Milk: If you have enough breast milk for this, it’s a fantastic option for thinning out baby food. Remember, breast milk is an absolute superfood and we want to get it into baby’s diet as often as we can.
  • Fermenting Liquid: Something that might not be so obvious is to use the fermenting liquid (or brine) from our ferments. I love adding some sauerkraut juice to thin out food for baby Nathaniel. Not only does this give him healthy enzymes and probiotics, but it also introduces him to that tart flavor and starts his body craving more foods like it.
A woman adding homemade baby food to an ice cube tray.

Baby Food Recipes

You’ll notice with these recipes there are no exact measurements. That’s the beauty of homemade baby food. Use the foods you have on hand and make flavor combinations that taste good to you. Try to think about your plate of food and mimic that for baby’s food.

Chicken & VeggiesCombine white and dark meat chicken, pressure-canned green beans, chicken fat (skimmed from homemade chicken broth), chicken broth to thin to the desired consistency and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
Superfood Pumpkin Combine pumpkin puree with virgin coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt. If you want to add a touch of sweetness, you can add some maple syrup (avoid honey or refined sugars for babies). Blend until smooth.
Liver & BeetsCombine cooked beets, high-quality fat (I used goose fat), liver and salt to taste. If you don’t have liver on hand, use Pluck, our favorite organ meat seasoning (use code “EATHEALTHY15” for 15% off your order). Blend until smooth.
Carrot & SalmonCombine cooked salmon, steamed carrots, butter and salt to taste. Thin with bone broth or additional butter, if needed. Blend until smooth. Homesteading Hack: I don’t recommend feeding ocean fish to babies more than once per week due to the high levels of mercury.
Berries & Cream (No-Cook)Combine fresh berries with some coconut cream and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
Avocado & Coconut (No-Cook)Combine avocado and coconut oil with some salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
Fatty Bananas (No-Cook)Combine bananas and melted butter with salt to taste. Blend until smooth.

Homesteading Hack: As mentioned, we try to avoid too much fruit for babies at a young age. Feeding them more savory dishes helps their palate to develop and have a taste for healthier options without the need for sugar.

However, every once in a while, it’s fun to give your baby a little treat. The no-cook options above are combined with healthy fat to help eliminate a blood sugar spike.

An ice cube tray filled with frozen baby food.

Storing Homemade Baby Food

Once you’ve made your homemade baby food, place it in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to three days. If you won’t use it all up by then, freeze it in ice cube trays or pop it into the freeze dryer to make freeze-dried baby food, perfect for packing up when traveling.

A bowl of homemade baby food next to a bag of Pluck seasoning.

Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

  • When blending baby food, use enough of a base so your blender can blend well (at least 1 cup).
  • Thin homemade baby food with breast milk, bone broth, cooking liquid or fermenting liquid.
  • Freeze (or freeze-dry) any baby food you won’t use within three days in an ice cube tray. This is great for big-batch baby food days. Put frozen cubes into freezer storage bags for up to 3 months. 
  • Thaw frozen baby food cubes in the refrigerator in an airtight container (overnight is easiest). Or, if you’re in a hurry, place a frozen baby food cube in a zipper baggy and run it under warm water until it’s thawed.
  • Do a taste test! If you don’t like it, chances are, neither will baby! Food should never taste bitter or tart and not overly salty (just enough).
  • Add extra superfoods like Pluck (pictured above).
  • Make sure food isn’t too sweet so baby doesn’t get a sweet tooth! 
  • Add superfood fats to baby’s food. Butter, lard, coconut oil, coconut cream, avocado, and whole milk homemade yogurt are all great options. 
  • Mix two purees together for more flavor profiles as baby gets used to more foods.
  • Add texture to any puree by stirring in baby oatmeal, hemp seeds or chia seeds.

Be sure to check out my two favorite books when it comes to feeding babies at home:

Two girls in a cottage garden holding a butterfly.

More Posts You May Enjoy

Four glass bowls of colorful homemade babyfood.

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

It’s time to throw out your store-bought baby food and start making homemade baby food that's healthy and nutrient-dense to help our baby's growing brains and bodies!
3.40 from 10 votes
Print Pin
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • spatula
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • small bowls
  • ice cube tray for freezing baby food

Ingredients

Chicken & Green Beans

  • leftover chicken
  • canned green beans
  • chicken fat skimmed from the top of homemade broth
  • chicken broth to thin
  • salt to taste

Superfood Pumpkin

  • pumpkin puree
  • coconut oil
  • pumpkin pie spice to taste
  • salt to taste
  • maple syrup optional, to taste

Liver & Beets

  • cooked beets
  • goose fat or other high-quality fat
  • liver or Pluck seasoning
  • fermenting liquid like sauerkraut brine, to thin
  • salt to taste

Carrots & Salmon

  • cooked salmon
  • cooked carrots
  • butter
  • bone broth to thin
  • salt to taste

Berries & Cream (No-Cook Recipe)

  • fresh berries
  • coconut cream
  • salt to taste

Avocado & Coconut (No-Cook Recipe)

  • avocado
  • coconut oil
  • salt to taste

Fatty Bananas (No-Cook Recipe)

  • bananas
  • melted butter
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Combine ingredients into a food processor, blend until smooth.
  • Check consistency and add liquid to thin, if needed.
  • Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Notes

  • Nutrition facts will vary, please use a nutrition calculator to figure out exact nutrition facts based on the recipe you choose. 
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
  • Freeze unused leftovers in ice cube trays, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container and keep them frozen for up to three months. 
  • To defrost, place frozen cubes into a covered bowl and defrost in the refrigerator overnight. 
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

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