Today I gave my 5 1/2 month old daughter her first real taste of solid food.  We started rice cereal about a month ago to get her used to eating from a spoon.  We started with very thin consistency of the cereal and gradually made it thicker by using less water for mixing. If you've ever tried the rice cereal you know that it is essentially tasteless.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to give her something more flavorful and see her reaction.  I made the decision to try my hand at making homemade baby food awhile ago so I've been researching for a few months now.  I found this baby food making site Wholesome Baby Food which essentially has all the information you need to begin this process. To get started you will need:
  •  a blender or food processor (I use the magic bullet- the cheapest price I found for this is at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $49.99 minus 20% with their easily attainable in-store coupon for a final price of $39.99).  I chose the magic bullet because the blender cups double as microwave steamers and because it is extremely versatile for use after I'm done making baby food (can you say margaritas! ;))
  • ice cube trays (I picked up these because I wanted them to stay clean and covered but regular ice cube trays are fine)  
  • Freezer bags (for convenient storage of the "cubes" after freezing)
  • Fruits & Vegetables (I buy organic whenever possible)
  • Small Bowl (any is fine)
  • Baby Spoons (any age-appropriate soft-tipped spoon is fine)
  • Feeding Bibs  (BJ's has a multipack similar to this one for cheap) TIP: I put on a regular soft bib under the waterproof feeding bib for extra protection.  My daughter loves to play with her bib and this keeps food from getting on the neck of her clothing.
I decided to start with avocado because it is packed full of nutrients, is generally well-tolerated, and is extremely easy to prepare. It is a fruit but isn't sweet like bananas or pears and I wanted to start with something that wasn't sweet so that my daughter wouldn't reject less sweet foods introduced later. Here are some other great 1st Foods for baby: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Mango, Nectarine, Peaches, Pears, Pumpkin, Green Beans, Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potato, Squash.  A ripe avocado has a dark, green (almost black) appearance to the skin, is bumpy, and it gives a little when you push on it.  The flesh or "meat" of the avocado is a soft green color which yellows as you get closer to the pit.  Avocados peel and mash very easily so its a very quick, easy food to prepare for baby.  Quite simply, to prepare avocado you:
  1. Peel avocado (it helps to roll it around on the counter first) and remove pit (there is no need to cook or steam avocados)
  2. Slice avocado "meat" to make for easier mashing
  3. Mash with a fork or spoon (or blend or puree if you prefer.
  4. To freeze and store avocado you can do one of two things.  Either slice the avocado (some recommend this method to prevent browning) and freeze. When you defrost the slices you then mash them immediately prior to feeding. You can also mash the avocado prior to freezing and then freeze the mash in ice cube trays in tablespoon-sized portions.  Once the avocado mash is frozen you can transfer the "cubes" to freezer bags for easy storage (and to free up your ice cube trays for other foods.)  I chose to try both ways.  I'll let you know what works out better for us.  Take a cube (or slices) out the night before you want to use them and let them defrost in the fridge.  See this link for more information about thawing and warming your purees.  Make sure that you label all your purees when storing.  They can be kept frozen for 3 months maximum.
Your result should be a smooth, read-to-feed puree.  You can add a little water to the mixture if you feel it is too thick for your baby.  When introducing a new food always introduce it by itself and try it for a few days to ensure that your baby tolerates it. The general rule is to introduce a new food for 4 days before introducing another.  Once you know your baby tolerates a given food you can start mixing it with other foods they have tolerated.  With avocados try:
  1. Avocados + Banana
  2. Avocados + Banana + Pears
  3. Avocado + Peaches
  4. Avocado + Pumpkin
  5. Avocado + Apples
For more information about avocados and for recipes for avocado mixed purees see this helpful link.
Find out why Dr. Sears ranks avocados #1 on his top list of fruits for families.

Sliced Avocados
Mashed Avocado (I mashed this a little more to get all the chunks out before feeding it to her.)
Ready for the Freezer (Some slices, some mashed)

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