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Making your own baby food helps ensure that your baby eats only natural ingredients. Some people feel that making your own baby food is inconvenient, others have embraced the process. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of homemade baby food.
Many parents today have become aware of the many benefits of using organic and natural products for themselves and their babies. Because of this surge in knowledge, many parents are choosing to make their own baby food. Making your own baby food is one way to ensure that your child is ingesting only natural ingredients. 
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While some people may feel that making your own baby food is an inconvenience, others have embraced the process. If you are considering making food for your baby, weigh the advantages and disadvantages and make an informed decision.

Benefits Of Homemade Baby Food

Freshness

When you make your own baby food, you know exactly when it was prepared and when it was stored.  There is no way of knowing exactly when jarred baby food was prepared or how long it sat in a warehouse and then on your grocer’s shelf. With store-bought baby food, there is also no way to be sure that the food was not exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold, conditions that can alter the quality of the jarred food?

Nutritional Value

Making your own baby food ensures that the ingredients that you are using are of the best quality. When making your own baby food, there is no need to expose the food to high temperatures in order to kill bacteria that may be present in the jarred food. Food companies cook the food this way in order to lengthen its shelf life, however, this process can also destroy essential vitamins and minerals that are present in the foods, altering its nutritional value. At home you can steam the veggies, keeping the vitamins and minerals intact. Additionally, you won’t be adding any surprise ingredients or preservatives to your homemade food and you can choose the types of meats used as well, ensuring that they are lean and of the best quality.

Safety

When using jarred baby foods, which are mass-produced, you run the risk of feeding your baby food that has a possibility of contamination. While this danger may be rare, it is a very real risk and it can be potentially harmful to your baby. Over the past several years, manufacturers have recalled jarred baby foods due to contamination. Reports included instances of glass, bacteria and even arsenic as contamination culprits.

Taste

Homemade baby food simply tastes better. When we use fresh, homegrown or organic ingredients, the food tastes great. It is free of preservatives and pesticides, which can alter the true taste of food. If your baby grows accustomed to the taste of fresh, pure ingredients now, chances are, he or she will love them later in life as well.

Cost

Most people think that buying jarred baby food costs less than making it yourself, and though this may be true in the very beginning when your baby isn’t eating much, once your baby’s appetite increases, so will the cost of jarred baby food. The larger jars cost more, as do the ones containing meat. For example, you would need to by almost 7 jars of baby food bananas to equal one pound of fresh bananas. Buying one pound of fresh bananas would cost less and yield enough to make baby food and have extra bananas for the rest of the family to eat.

Variety

When you make your own baby foods, your child will be exposed to a larger variety of items. Ideally you could puree nearly all of the same food items that you’ve made your family for dinner. This will get your child accustomed to the foods that you prepare at home on any typical day, and it will widen the variety of choices you’re your baby will have when compared to jarred foods. Of course, there will be certain foods that may have to wait to be introduced until your child is a bit older, in this case it is beneficial to speak with your pediatrician regarding any dietary restrictions due to the child’s age or possible allergens.
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They are packed with potassium, protein, calcium and other essential vitamins. Apples are also a good first food for babies, followed by pears, which are loaded with calcium, and plums, which are an excellent source of vitamin A.

Vegetables

Like fruits, vegetables should also be introduced one at a time. Once your baby has eaten one vegetable without a problem, it is time to introduce another. Eventually you will be able to mix a variety of fruits and vegetables together. Vegetables are an important part of your baby’s diet. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals for your baby and are an excellent source of fiber.
Both vegetables and fruits should be washed, peeled and pitted when necessary, after which the food can be steamed and simmered until mushy. Once the food is broken down, you can mash it with a fork or put it through a food processor until it is the proper consistency for your baby’s age and developmental ability to chew and swallow. Food can be served to baby once cooled or stored for later use.

Meat

When choosing meat to use for baby food, it is best to look for lean cuts of meat. Meats such as chicken, pork and lean beef are good sources of protein. Additionally, meats provide calcium, important fatty acids and essential vitamins for your baby’s growth and development. Before cooking down meats, it is important to remove any bones, skin and fat.

What to Avoid

When shopping for foods to make for your baby, steer clear of the canned items and processed foods. Most commercially processed or canned foods will have added salt, sugars, artificial coloring and preservatives that babies don’t need.  Most of these additives will only interfere with your baby’s ability to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of fresh foods. When shopping, stick to the outskirts of the store where the fresh produce and meats are displayed.

Common Food Allergens

There are certain foods that are known allergens for young children and therefore should not be introduced to your baby until after his or her first birthday. Foods that have an increased risk for allergic reactions to young children include: strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, wheat, nuts, seafood, egg whites, cow’s milk, ice cream and chocolate.

Choking Hazards

There are many foods that may pose a choking hazard to young children, especially babies. These foods may raise the risk of choking because of their texture, shape or consistency, and they should be avoided until the baby is at least one year old and after which should be broken or cut up before feeding to a child. These foods include: grapes, raisins, hot dogs, popcorn, peanut butter, raw carrots, raw apples, corn kernels and nuts.

Other Dangers

Other foods can also be hazardous to babies. For instance, honey in its raw form should never be given to a baby under the age of one. Raw honey contains bacteria that can overpower an infant’s digestive tract and cause a dangerous illness. Another potentially dangerous nutrient that can be hazardous to babies are nitrates. Nitrates in excess can cause a condition called Methemoglobinemia, which interferes with the bloods ability to absorb oxygen. There have been cases reported in which the nitrate poisoning came from certain vegetables which naturally contain nitrates.
These vegetables include: spinach, turnips, squash, collard greens, beets, carrots and green beans. Though a case of nitrate poisoning is rare, these vegetables are not recommended for homemade baby food because you cannot monitor the nitrate levels of your vegetables in the home. Other unnecessary items babies should avoid include added sugar and salt. Children who consume diets high in sugar and salt may have an increased risk of developing childhood obesity.

During the first year of life, babies require nutrients to grow and develop. Many parents choose to make their own baby food to ensure that their child is getting the best quality and freshest foods. Many skeptics come to find that making baby food at home is simple and will save money in the long run. If you are considering making your own baby food, just remember that the most important thing is that your baby receives the essential nutrients needed to grow so however you get there the choice is up to you.
Continue reading after recommendations

  • recipes.howstuffworks.com/make-homemade-baby-food2.htm
  • www.healthguidance.org/entry/14993/1/Making-Homemade-Baby-Food-Benefits-and-Disadvantages.html