Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby First Food - Vegetable Puree 婴儿初食

I created this post to keep track of the puree I prepared for my baby C. These puree are added to the rice cereal where I introduced a new veggie/fruit on every 3 days gap (some suggested 4 days rule but I decided to observe for 3 days as per what the pediatrician advised).

For babies above 8 months old, they are ready for non pureed food, you may refer to this post instead - No fuss baby porridge for busy mom.

Soft and mushy rice cereal

The veggies are introduced in the following sequence,you may choose to vary. However, do avoid citrus fruits (e.g. Orange, kiwi) and eggs for baby under 1 year old. As baby was 7 month old when I first wrote this post, I will update from time to time:

Day 1-3: Plain rice cereal
Day 4-6: Carrots, steamed
Day 7-9: Pumpkins, steamed (mix with carrots)
Day 10-12: Broccoli stems, steamed without florets (mix with pumpkin)
Day 13-15: Potatoes, steamed (mix with carrots)
Day 16-18: Sweet potatoes, steamed (this is really tasty! However, some mommies reported their little ones had constipation problem after consuming sweet potato while it was alright with my baby)
Day 19-22: Apple, steamed (for snack time)
Day 23-25: Banana, uncooked (for snack time)
Day 26-28: Pear, steamed (baby had watery poo 4 times within same day so I have stopped this the next day)
Day 29-31: Fresh Avocado with milk, uncooked (for snack time)
Day 32-34: French beans, steamed
Day 35-37: Melon, steamed (for snack time)
Subsequently: Asparagus, steamed (used stem portion only)

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Equipments Required:

  • Food blender/processor
  • baby food containers (BPA Free, can stand -4c to 100c)
  • covered ice tube tray
  • If you are first time parent, check out my article on Feeding Essentials for Little Ones before you begin your shopping spree.. :)

Step-By-Step Guides:

  1. Cut your choice of veggies into approximate 1"x1" cube size, wash thoroughly. Put in a small porcelain bowl. Fill the bowl with just enough boiled water to cover the veggies. Only 1 type veggies in each bowl.
  2. Place the bowls of cut veggies into a steamer, boil on high heat then change to medium heat once water is boiling.
  3. Steam the veggies for about 20min. For carrots, steam up to 30min for softer texture.
  4. Let the steamed veggies cool to room temperature. Then put the veggies plus a bit of water into blender, blend till no lump observed (about 10-15 seconds on high speed).
  5. Pour the puree into a clean ice cube tray / baby food container. Store in freezer with lid covered. 
  6. When serving, take the cubes out and thaw with the container on the bottle warmer or a bowl of hot water (need at least 30min so prepare ahead of time). Mix well with the rice cereal.

Happy Feeding! 

Methods to Prepare Rice Cereal:
  1. I cook the porridge (1/6 - 1/4 cup rice with 3 rice bowls of water) for 30 minutes (the porridge should be slightly watery), let it cold down and blend it for about 10 seconds on normal speed. This method is as per suggested by Asian Parenting Guide and I find it easy.
  2. Another common method is to grind the rice / brown rice into powdery form using a food processor, store the rice powder in air tight container. To cook, add 1/4 cup rice powder into 1 cup of boiling liquid, whisk constant and cook for about 10 minutes. Refer for more info on wholesomebabyfood website.
  3. Alternatively, you can buy instant rice cereal available in supermarket which only requires adding of water or milk. When going on a short trip with baby, I bring along few packs of instant rice cereal (individual packs) from Happy Bellies, it is convenient and hassle free.

Notes to Parents / Caretaker..
  1. Make sure your equipment is thoroughly cleaned, use separate chopping board and knife for baby food if possible.
  2. Avoid storing your puree with raw meat to prevent contamination.
  3. To ensure freshness, I usually prepare portion enough for 4 days feeding (young baby only take 1 cube in beginning, then gradually increase to 4 cubes, or more).
  4. You may mix up 2-3 puree with rice cereal in a single feeding; however only if confirm your little one is not allergy to that veggie.
  5. 8 months onwards you may introduce meat / fish in the porridge. It is also not necessary to blend the veggies anymore, just cut them into small cubes and cook till really soft; or press the veggies with the back of a spatula/spoon when feeding.
  6. Always prepare the following before feeding your baby:
  • ensure baby is seated securely
  • feeding spoon
  • bib
  • wet hanky or tissues

Useful Tips!

  • To save time, I steamed veggies in a steamer on top tier and cook porridge in the bottom tier. After removing the steamer about 20 minutes of cooking, I continue cooking the porridge for another 10 minutes so it is muddily soft.

  • When preparing puree, you can make extra to serve as dip for fresh cut veggies (pumpkin, sweet potatoes which are naturally sweet) or smoothies (banana and avocado are excellent choice, refer to avocado recipes here for ideas 

  • Watch out for allergy reaction...

  • Whenever you introduced a new food to young baby, best feeding time is around 11am as it may takes several hours before any allergy symptom shows up and you would not want that to happen in middle of the night.

  • Possible allergy reactions: skin rashes/itchiness, nappy rashes, swollen skin, diarrhea, constipation etc. Stop the newly introduced food for a few days before re-introducing it to baby (best to consult your pediatrician on such matters).

  • Important ReminderAny information obtained from Internet, including this blog, shall be used as reference only and not taken as actual medical advice. Always seek advice from your doctor when in doubt.

    Steaming 2 veggies together.

    I used Electrolux hand blender, no mess and easy to clean.

    Thaw the puree in a bowl of hot water.

    Storing the puree before freezing. Seen here are broccoli, potato and rice cereal puree.

    Apple Puree, I didn't add any lemon juice nor salt so the puree looked brownish, but it tasted nice and baby C loved it. .

    Seen here, I steamed 4 different types of veggies at once for more variety. .


    1. Hi PH11, Thanks for sharing. May I know where can I get instant rice cereal (individual packs) from Happy Bellies ? Usually it is in container.

      1. Hi Bernice,

        It has been over a year when I bought the cereal, could not quite recall where I bought it. It is most likely Toy 'R Us or Babyland.


    2. Where do you get the ice cube tray? Bpa free?

    3. I got mine from Parkson store, could not remember if it is BPA free as it was sometimes ago.

    4. Hi, thanks for sharing how to make baby food, as I'm first time mum. when first starting baby on solids, how many meals do we replace with solids? I still give milk for the last feed before baby sleeps right? How much cereal should I start out with, as baby is drinking 150ml milk each time now.

      1. Hi Anonymous,

        When introducing solid for the first time, would recommend to only offer 1-2 spoons in the beginning. The idea is to let baby learn to swallow so will not be filling. You would still need to feed the baby later with milk (depending on the amount of solid baby is taking, it may last about 1-2 hours before next feed).

        I introduced 2 feed in beginning and slowly introduce fruit purée for afternoon snack, an example of the feeding schedule would be like below:

        7am - milk
        10am - purée
        11am - milk
        2pm - purée
        3pm - fruit purée
        4pm - milk
        Subsequently all milk intake.

        When baby is eating bigger portion you may lengthen the feeding time, however always avoid feeding solid after late evening as any allergic reaction may only occurs few hours after consuming the food.

        Hope this helps. :)

        Note: for new parent I would recommend reading the book Asian Parenting Guide, it gives pretty good advises for baby care from 0-12 months.

      2. I tried feeding bb cereal for the first time, but i think he doesn't know that cereal's food :p i fed him when its time for milk, but he cant stop crying cos i think he's hungry and spoonfeeding is too slow, so i had to stop and give him milk. the second day, i tried feeding him cereal half hour before his milk time, he starting eating, but after 30min when milk time is here, he would cry for milk again.
        initially i thought it would be ok to use cereal as a one time meal replacement for milk, but seems like it's gonna be very difficult. i dunno how to proceed from here :(

      3. hmm, perhaps you may try these: 1) feed baby when he is half full, don't wait till the exact feeding time when the stomach grumble, so he will have the patient to learn to swallow. 2) If you are only feeding him a few spoonful of puree / cereal, it is normal that baby will feel hungry soon. At this stage solid food is just a supplement and not the main meal yet, so you will still need to ensure constant milk feeding. You may slowly increase the portion and you will notice it will last him longer. For my girl, a small bowl of porridge generally lasted her about 2h but for my elder, the same amount lasted him for 3h, so you really cannot compare baby to baby. Once they have passed 8 months where more teeth sprout, you can introduce some finger food which may get him more interested to the solid food.

        Do understand that this is a new experience for your little baby so give him sometime to adapt.