Making and freezing baby food in advance
You can save valuable time by making and freezing your baby-food in advance. Realistically, your baby will only be eating small amounts of baby-food especially in the early days. It makes sense to prepare some of the baby food in advance and freeze it.
It depends on when you start solids, though six months of age is usually the guideline for introducing baby food. As a rule of thumb, it will take about a month from the time of the first introduced baby food for bub to work up to taking more than 10ml a day, and a month and half to be able to consume more than 100 ml a day of baby food. You’ll be starting out with introducing small portions of soft, plain food like baby rice or cereal or pureed cooked vegetables or fruit.
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A step by step guide to making and freezing baby food
- Blender/processor – you’ll need to have a good hand blender or food processor so you can blend your baby food. This is important especially in the early days where your baby is still developing a gag reflex and won’t be able to cope with lumpy baby food.
- Ice cube trays – you’ll need a big stock of ice cube trays to store the baby food in. These should come with a lid.
- Zip lock bags – these are to store the baby food in once you’ve frozen it in the ice cube trays. That way you can easily reuse the trays again.
- Permanent marker – this is to clearly label the bag with what baby food it is and the use by date for it as well.
Stock up on fruit and vegetables
- You can get a list of suggested baby foods to introduce to bub here and stock up accordingly. It’s usually best to start with vegetables and then fruit.
- Some vegetables that are easy to prepare and freeze as baby food include sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, parsnip, broccoli, peas, potato, zucchini, cauliflower.
- Fruit suggestions include mashed/cooked/pureed fruits such as avocado, apple, banana and pear.
Keep it clean
- It’s vital to ensure that you have washed your hands thoroughly and that your kitchen surface is clean before starting to prepare baby food. Your little one’s immune system is sensitive and it is wise not to expose them to germs or potential infection unnecessarily.
- Make sure your utensils like the chopping board, knives and peelers have all been thoroughly washed and dried before using.
Chop, peel, cook and puree
- Some foods like avocado or banana only need mashing and can then be placed in the ice cube trays to freeze.
- Other foods like sweet potato and apple will need to be peeled and then microwaved or steamed or boiled in order to soften. They will then be pureed and popped in the ice cube trays to cool.
- Once the baby foods you’ve prepared are cooled, pop them in the freezer as soon as you can.
- While the ice cube trays are freezing, label your zip lock bags clearly with the foods you’ve prepared. For instance “pureed carrot” or “mashed banana.” Put the date you’ve prepared the food on it as well.
- Once the baby food is frozen in the ice cube trays, pop the solidified version into the zip lock bags. This transfer should take place quickly so that the food is not out of the freezer for more than a minute. Then store the baby food cubes in the zip lock bags back in the freezer.
- Alternatively, you can continue to store the baby food in the ice cube trays. These trays should have lids that you clearly label with the food it contains and the date of preparation.
Using frozen baby food
- Pop the baby food out to defrost several hours before you intend to use it.
- Make sure you reheat it thoroughly in the microwave or on the stove. Remember microwaves can create hotspots so make sure you check your baby food’s temperature to ensure it is evenly heated through.
- Always discard unused baby food once you’ve finished feeding your bub.
- Make sure you check the preparation date on your baby food and do not use it if it has been in the freezer for over 6 weeks.
- Don’t refreeze your baby food if you’ve defrosted it once.