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Health and hygiene safety tips for preparing baby food

Avoid upset tummies and worse when you're weaning your baby

Posted: 24 November 2010
by Emma Docherty

baby puree
Freeze freshly made purees in ice cube trays

When introducing your baby to solids, there are a few golden rules to follow when you're preparing and cooking purees for your baby.

Preparing baby food safely

Good hygiene is vital when you feed your baby so make sure you wash hands and preparation surfaces before you start.

If you find your blender tricky to get clean, put some hot (not boiling) water into it with a drop of washing up liquid and turn on for a few seconds. Then rinse it out with more hot water.

Make sure your cooking equipment is clean and wash knives and cutting boards before chopping up fruit and vegetables. Follow good hygiene practices in your fridge - keep uncooked meat well wrapped or sealed and away from any food you eat raw, such as fruit, bread and salad.

Keeping bowls and spoons clean

When you first start weaning and you're using milk in the food you're giving your baby, you should sterilise bowls and spoons.

If it's not possible to fit these in the steriliser or you're worried the plastic will perish in the steamer then just run them up boiling water after you’ve given them a thorough clean.

If you're dishing up food that doesn't contain breast or formula milk, then there's no need to sterilise the serving equipment, but do make sure that you wash them really thoroughly using very hot water.

If you're using dishwasher safe equipment, pop them in the dishwasher after use as this will give a really good clean at a very high temperature.

Serving baby food safely

Baby food should be heated until piping hot and then left to cool to the right warm temperature for your little one. Always test the temperature of a little bit of the food first - you can pop a dab on the back of your hand - before serving.

If you're microwaving food, make sure you've thoroughly mixed round the puree during heating, so that there are no hidden hot spots.

Aim to feed your baby as soon as the pureed food is cool enough, as bacteria can grow quickly in warm food especially on hot days. Don't leave purees hanging around in room temperature.

Storing leftovers after your baby has eaten

You won’t be able to reuse any leftovers from your baby’s bowl. Once your baby eats from the spoon and you dip it back in the food in the bowl, this mixes your baby’s saliva with the food and you won’t be able to keep any of the remainder, even if there’s a lot.

So make sure you don’t overfill your baby’s bowl when you start feeding – separate a portion out, leave the remainder in a separate bowl in the fridge and then you can always go back for a refill if your baby is hungry.

Don't reheat frozen puree more than once, even if you've kept it in the fridge.

With fresh puree, keep any remainder in a new bowl in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Again, you can only reheat it once - after this it must be thrown away and not reheated or refrozen. So, make sure you only heat up what you need in one serving - don't defrost or heat more than you think your baby can eat.

If you’ve made up a batch of purees to keep, freeze them as soon as they’re cool. If you use an ice-cube tray, pop out the cubes when they’ve frozen and store in a freezer bag, labelled with the date.

Using jars of food

If using prepared jars of food, at first you may not get through a whole jar in one feed so empty some out into a clean bowl. You can then heat this and you're not dipping your baby's spoon back into food you want to keep for later. Pop the remainder in a sealed container in the fridge. You can store this in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

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Weaning, baby food, preparing food, food safety, food hygiene, storing food

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