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Hi all. I have a 5 month baby girl. She has soilds twice a day, rice cereal in the morning and tin at dinner time. I want to cook up some homemade soilds but I am not sure what to do. For example, if I make mashed potatoes, what do I mix with it (I know I can't use cows milk and butter). Can anyone help me please. I am not a very good cook so any help would be great.

Nellie, SA, Ashlee Cate 5 months

Hi Nellie,

I have mostly fed my son food from the tins/bottles and am only just finding success with different foods I make. He is nearly 8 months old.

Firstly, I invested in a small food mixer. There are heaps of different ones out there, but I got a Black and Decker mini mixer from Kmart for $20 (was $23). It's great because it only has a couple of parts and they can all go in the dishwasher, without taking up heaps of room.

I boil vegies like we normally do in the saucepan and have stopped putting in any cooking salt. I take out a small amount of each and put separately in the mixer with some cooled, boiled water (I keep a jug handy all day for his bottles and feeds, etc). I mix it up to the lumpiness/smoothness I want and then maybe add a bit more water. Pumpkin is easy as it is so runny, you don't always need to add anything, but potato you do. We'll be trying carrot and greens tonight as well. I then put them in little pots in the fridge and/or freeze in ice cube trays if more than enough for the next night as well. Roast chicken is easy (I don't roast it, I buy it already done- less fussing around). I use the breast and just put in shreds of it with water and mix until it becomes smooth and not real thick. Then we choose what he is going to eat that night. Put a bit of each in the bowl and mix and then nuke for a fews seconds. He loves it. I'll try beef next time I do a stew, as it is apparently better to give them slow cooked meat for now.

You can put in some formula and water to the mix if you would like to give her some extra milk or for taste, but I just use water.

See how that goes. Start off basic for now and one or two vegies and a meat and then add from there. She may not like it much or even throw up if too thick or flavoursome, but you can work back from there. but the best investment I made was the little mixer and it just sits on the counter top ready to go.

Let us know what success you have and if you have any more questions just ask us. I also bought a little book from Big W about what foods to introduce and when and how to prepare them. That's been helpful. It's also got recipes in there. But you'll find she'll be able to eat mostly what ou do most nights if you just give her a little bit of the basics.

Ange.
Hi Nellie, I am also just starting solids with my 6mth old.He is currently having a small amount of pear and banana cereal in the mornings. I also have a two yr old who I feed on homemade food. I would have a cooking day when I would cook potatoe, carrot, sweet potatoe, pumpkin, broccolli or any other vegies. Once they were soft i would mash them up and fill ice cube trays. once they are frozen I would pop them in a large container and take two or three out at meal times warm them in the micro wave and be ready to go. I found that this was so much easier than trying to cook seperate meals for her every night and she could have a differnt combination of vegies every meal.
I also found mixing a little bit of gravy with potatoe instead of milk and butter made it easier to mash.
you could also cook apple,pear in a little water and freeze that as well.This is great for mixing with plain yogurt.
Hope this helps

Sharnee,W.A.6mth,2yr

The book 'Babylove' by Robin Barker has some very easy recipes in the back. I also received a pamphlet from the Baby Health Centre called 'Ready for Solids?' brought out by Sanitarium which is quite helpful.
I have found the freezing in icecube trays very convenient. My baby is currently on sweet potato (which I boiled, let cool, then chucked in the blender till smooth, then put in the ice cube trays to freeze) and pumpkin.

Nicole, NSW, baby born 7 May 03

Hi Nellie,
My daughter prefers home made food to the tins and jars so I have experimented quite a bit. An alternative to boiling is steaming in the microwave. I bought a plastic microwave steamer from K Mart for about $5 and it works really well. I find this less fiddly than boiling. I also use a small food processor to mash the food up. Like some others here I have a day where I cook up heaps of vegies and meat and freeze it all in ice cube trays. I find it best to cook and freeze each vege/meat separatley and then I mix and match different flavours when I get it out of the freezer to defrost. I don't add anything extra to the veges until they are heated and I just add some breastmilk but water or formula is okay too. Chicken and steak need something added before freezing. I usually use a bit of stock but am going tp try gravy next time.

It is so much cheaper to cook at home for your baby. An alternative to buying fruit gels, which my daughter loves, is to place 1/2 cup of fruit juice (I use apple or blackcurrant) in a saucepan and heat. Add 2 teaspoons of gelatine and another 1/2 cup juice. Place into food containers (makes 2 meals) and place in fridge unitl your baby is ready to eat. So quick and easy!

Have fun experimenting!
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