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Looking for an easy homemade baby food recipe the entire family will love? Check out this Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup plus my baby feeding tips!
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Just like everything when it comes to parenting, feeding your child and the topic of baby food is a deeply personal decision and can often feel like a touchy subject. Some parents are strong advocates for baby led weaning (skipping purees and starting with finger foods) and others choose to stick to the more traditional baby feeding method of food purees. Then there are parents who totally don’t care. Well, I shouldn’t say they “don’t care”, because I know they do, they just don’t have a strong opinion either way and are just rolling with it! For us, we are doing a combination of purees and baby led weaning and today I decided to share some baby feeding tips and an easy baby food recipe that the entire family can enjoy for dinner!
Some helpful things I’ve learned so far in this baby food journey, is to eliminate distractions from feeding time, like turning off the TV and taking away toys so babies focus on the task at hand; and using bowls and plates that suction to the table are really useful in preventing baby from throwing an entire bowl of food on the floor. Also, keeping safe and all natural Nice ‘n CLEAN Antibacterial Hand Wipes from H.E.B. stocked in my kitchen and diaper bag is great for quickly wiping down the high chair after a messy feeding or keeping my hands clean and germ free when I need to prepare a bottle when we are on the go.
Or, when we are eating out and I accidentally forget that fancy high chair cover, I’ll use Nice ‘n CLEAN wipes to clean and sanitize the restaurant table and high chair since Nice ‘n CLEAN wipes are better than other wipes and antibacterial hand gels at removing soil and bacteria from hands and surfaces and are proven to kill 99.99% of germs.
Another thing that I’ve found helpful, is feeding my babe in a real high chair, not a booster seat or on my lap, as it is sturdier and helps baby sit up better, preventing choking. Oh, and silicon bibs or bibs with a plastic backing are a must! The cloth bibs with no plastic backing, as cute as they are, just allow food and water/formula to soak through.
And one of the reasons we have decided to do a combination of baby led weaning and purees is because purees are so convenient, especially when you are in the early stages of feeding baby real food- when they can only eat one food for 3-5 days before trying another new food. Store bought purees make this feeding stage easy, especially when you work. This brings me to my next big tip – don’t feel like you have to make homemade baby food! Yes, there are homemade baby food recipes all over Pinterest and I’m sharing a homemade baby food recipe with you today, but if you don’t have time to make homemade, go with store bought, trust me, it’s perfectly fine!
But, for us right now, our babe is getting more and more interested in food every day! She’s loving exploring new flavors and textures and is getting more interested in finger foods, so I’ve started making more of her food from scratch. At first I was worried I wouldn’t have time to make homemade food, but I’ve basically just been adapting some of the foods we already eating to be baby friendly.
Like, when I make steamed broccoli for dinner, I’ll steam it plain and set some aside for my daughter, and then season ours how we like (while older babies can have most herbs and spices, it is recommended that babies not have any salt until after they are one years old). Or I’ve been making a lot of things like this pureed Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup for dinner. This soup recipe is one I’ve been making well before baby, and because it is so simple, it makes it easy to be adaptable into a baby and toddler friendly recipe! I’ve broken down this Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup recipe into two parts, the “baby food” part and then how to adapt the base of the soup recipe to be for adults by adding salt, pepper and other spices.
Even though this soup is simple and pretty basic, it is flavorful, filling and packed with nutrients. And it tastes even better when I see my little babe slurp it right up!
Helpful tips and information for making homemade baby food:
Freezing Homemade Baby Food:
Homemade baby food can be portioned into ice cube trays and frozen for later. Simply spoon cooled baby food into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once frozen, remove soup cubes from ice cube tray and place in a freezer safe zip top baggie. To thaw, place desired cubes in refrigerator, and let thaw for 1-2 hours or defrost in microwave for 30-60 seconds. Note: 1 ice cube equals about 1 tablespoon of food.
Can babies eat soup?
This Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup recipe is perfect for babies! Just make sure the soup is not hot when serving to baby. Also, since babies shouldn’t have salt, I recommend using homemade vegetable broth with no salt added or water in this recipe.
How much baby food should I feed my baby?
Lentils are a great source of protein and nutrients for babies and many store bought baby purees have lentils in them. However, lentils (like any legume) can be harder for some babies to digest. My personal recommendation is to only serve this soup to babies 6+ months old and start with only 1-2 tablespoons to see how your baby does. For more recommendations on what you should and shouldn’t feed your baby, as well as how much food to serve your little one, consult your physician.
And as much as I love making and feeding my baby homemade baby food, remember, formula, until age 1, is baby’s number one source of food and nutrients.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ½ cups diced butternut squash
- 1 leek, cleaned and sliced (white part only)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 6 cups water or no salt vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
For baby version: In a large pot, heat oil over high heat. Add carrots and butternut squash and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Add leeks and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in water and cumin (if using, see notes) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils and butternut squash are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender until desired smoothness. Alternatively, an immersion blender can be used to puree the soup directly in the pot.
- Once soup is blended to desired consistency, allow soup to cool until partially warm and serve to baby.
- Or allow soup to cool completely and spoon into a plastic ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Once frozen, remove soup cubes from ice cube tray and place in a freezer safe zip top baggie. To thaw, place desired cubes in refrigerator, and let thaw for 1-2 hours or defrost in microwave for 30-60 seconds. Note: 1 ice cube equals 1 tablespoon of food.
For adult version: Once you have pureed soup and removed desired amount for baby, return adult portion of soup to pot and heat through, if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste and an additional ¼-1/2 teaspoon cumin, plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to adult version of soup only. Add additional 1 cup of broth or ½ cup coconut milk, to thin pureed soup to desired consistency.
NOTE: Babies should NOT have salt before age 1. Spices and fresh herbs are ok for for babies 7 months or older, but use spices cautiously, watching for allergic reactions and making sure not to add strong spices, like chili or cayenne pepper to baby's food.
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