How to Prepare, Make and Store Solid Food for Your Pēpi
Learn to prepare purée and finger foods so they’re safe for your little one to eat.
Before preparing any food for your baby, wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Make sure any equipment, bowls or cutlery is clean.
When giving your pēpi purée as their first food, the texture should be runny enough that it is easy to swallow. It’s usually best, depending on the food you’re introducing, to bake or steam it first to make it soft. Then, to turn it into a purée you may like to use a blender, mouli or fine sieve so it’s nice and smooth. If the purée is too thick, you can add breast milk or some of the water which was used for cooking to thin it out. At around 7-8 months, you can start to give your baby mashed foods and finger foods.
There’s no need to add anything like salt, sugar or butter to your baby’s purée. It might taste bland to you but trying new food is exciting for your baby; it’s highly nutritious and delicious for them as is.
If you cook enough to have food leftovers or you want to do some baby meal prep, you can freeze the purée in ice cube or silicone trays for up to 3-4 weeks. This way it’s easy to defrost your baby’s food as you need it, however, you shouldn’t refreeze food again after defrosting.
PREPARING FINGER FOOD
As your pēpi is still developing their pincer grasp (when they use their index finger and thumb to pick up an object), at first they’ll use their whole palm to pick up finger foods. It’s best to cut food into long and thin finger-shaped pieces (the best size guide is about the length and width of your pinky finger) so they are easy to grasp and less of a choking hazard. Another guideline is that finger foods should be able to be squished between your thumb and index finger to ensure they’ll be soft enough for your pēpi to chew.
Once your baby has developed their pincer grasp, you can cut food into small chickpea-sized pieces. Grapes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and other berries should be quartered and peas can be squished with a fork.
- It’s important to always check the temperature of your baby’s food before feeding it to them, otherwise it could burn their mouth if it’s too hot. You can test their food by testing a bit on your wrist to see if it is warm (not hot) to the touch.
- When reheating frozen food, it should be well heated through and then cooled before being fed to your baby.
- It’s best not to feed your baby leftovers but if you do choose to, leftovers should only be consumed within two days. They need to be thoroughly reheated until piping hot, then left to cool before being fed to your baby.