Watching a baby take those first few bites of food is exciting. Their reaction to new tastes and textures is always a surprise. Parents who enjoy cooking don't have to put their pots and pans away in favor of jarred food when it's time to feed the little one. Instead they can make baby-appropriate meals either with a special baby food maker or appliances that are common in most kitchens.
Rice cereal is the traditional first food for babies, but it usually isn't long before parents and babies are ready to move on to more interesting flavors. Parents who buy a huge box of rice cereal are often stuck with leftovers that no one is interested in eating. Instead, a bit of brown rice pulsed into a fine grain in a coffee grinder can make a single serving of rice cereal. The powdered rice can be cooked on the stove using 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid, like water, or breast milk, or formula to give the baby extra nutrition and a familiar flavor.
Some parents choose a first food for their baby other than rice cereal. Ripe avocado or roasted sweet potato are good choices. If these foods are combined with water, formula, or breast milk, electric food processors will smooth them out into the perfect first food for an infant.
Babies often are teething when they start to eat solid foods and enjoy chomping on frozen foods to soothe sore gums. An ice pop made out of breast milk or formula is always a welcome treat for a teething baby. Parents who freeze homemade baby food in ice cube trays can offer their baby a cube of pureed banana or sweet potato placed in a mesh bag to prevent choking. Many baby stores sell mesh feeding bags that are designed to reduce infant choking hazards.
Baby food doesn't have to be bland. It's important to introduce new foods one at a time, usually one every few days. If a baby has an allergic reaction to a new food, this slow introduction method makes it easy to identify the culprit. But foods the baby tolerates can be combined with each other or livened up with a little seasoning. Sweet potato mixed with cinnamon is a delicious new treat. Babies who spit out their mashed peas might enjoy them when combined with a little fresh mint. Pureed mango mixed with a hint of curry powder is another combination some babies enjoy.
Once babies have tasted a few new foods, they can start enjoying the same foods their parents do at the dinner table. Small pieces of soft, well-cooked foods are fun for babies to eat. If parents are eating a soup or stew, an immersion blender will make that soup a perfectly smooth baby food. The important thing is that babies and parents enjoy food exploration together.