Breast milk is nutritionally the best first food for babies according to World Healthy organisation and UNICEF who advise that all mothers should commence breastfeeding their baby within the first hour of life when the new baby is born. Exclusive breastfeeding without any additional food or drink, not even water. Breast milk contains all the fluids and nutritients for the baby's needs to be healthy. Sometime around the age of 6 months, babies start showing an interest in other foods so this is the time you could start to introduce your infant to other foods with soft textures that contain more iron. Babies also need to learn to chew to help them with speech development.
Babies will have their first experience in their mouth when they feel shape, taste, texture and temperature. So to get more iron in your baby's food you can start with home rice cereal. To prepare your cereal you will need the main ingredient required which is brown rice. You will also need a good blender or food processor.
Brown Rice Baby Cereal
Make your own
Brown rice is unrefined compared to white rice. It is whole grain, loaded with Vitamin B, Iron, rich in selenium, magnesium, and high in fibre.
Grind the rice into rice powder using your grinder or blender or even food processor. A food processor takes about 8 to 10 minutes to turn 1 cup of rice into powder. Some blenders take less time and it will be faster using a proper grinder.
When your rice powder is ready, to make the porridge we will need 1/4 cup of the rice powder and 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, then gradually stir in the cereal, using a wooden spoon to combine. Simmer the rice cereal stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until the rice is not lumpy or chunky. If you want to make healthy cereal with extra protein you can add 1/2 cup of chopped chicken breast,1/2 cup of chopped carrot, 1/2 cup of chopped potato, 1/2 cup of chopped celery and 1/2 cup of chopped tomato. Bring them to boil until it become mild stock so instead of using water to stir the cereal this natural chicken broth can be useful otherwise just pour the chicken broth over the cereal to make it like soup. After that you can put all the rest of ingredients that have been boiled in the food processor until it become a soft texture and start adding that to the cereal.
Always using fresh vegetables and fruits
There are so many ingredients that you can always add to baby cereal including pumpkin, broccoli, kidney red beans, sweet potato, zucchini, choko, green beans, butternut squash and spinach.
For the protein you can always swap between chicken breast or salmon. Be cautious introducing new foods to your infant in case of allergies, and if you have concerns you can consider consulting with your Health Nurse or Pediatrician.
Besides iron cereal, baby’s first solids food can also be single fruits such as mashed banana or avocado, or cooked and pureed apple, pear,mango or papaya.
Here are some variations on the baby cereal:
Tasty Baby Rice Cereal -1/2 cup of chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of chopped chicken breast, 1/2 cup of chopped pumpkin, bring to boil .
Put in the food processor to make it smooth and add to the brown rice cereal.
Tasty Baby Green Bean Cereal - Place green beans in a vegetable steamer. Steam, covered, 15 minutes or until very tender. Remove beans from steamer, reserving cooking liquid.
- Place beans in a food processor; process until smooth, adding formula milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach desired consistency. Strain using a sieve or food mill, if needed; discard solids
Tasty Fruity Yoghurt -Sweet potato and melon mash
-1 cup of cooked sweet potato, diced
-1 cup of rock melon, diced
-1/4 cup of natural yogurt
Blend together all the ingredients. Add the yogurt and blend for another 30 secs and refrigerator.
Tasty Ice Cream for Baby -2 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
-1/2 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
-4 large ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
-1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
-1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
-2 tsp pure coconut oil
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until completely smooth.
Keep in the freezer in a covered container.
After 1 hour stir well, then return to the freezer. Continue to stir/freeze at hourly intervals until the mixture is firm.
The ideal time to serving consistency after 6 hours.
Tasty Biscuit Cereal - 5 Milk biscuit
- 1/2 of cup of warm formula milk
Stir until the biscuit dissolve and turn very smooth.
Some water sometimes contain chlorines so it's always better using filter water for the cereal or using breast milk is even better.
Prepare the food as soon as possible after purchase and freeze any leftovers right away.
What home made treats did your baby enjoy when you were weaning?