Because I have celiac, both my children enjoyed homemade gluten free baby food until at least the age of 7 months.
I would get together with another young mother, Margaret, and we had baby cook-in mornings. One kitchen counter had little pots and ice cube trays lined up, waiting to be filled with tender tidbits to tickle their tiny tastebuds.
The finished meals were sealed and frozen for up to 2 months, giving us safe ready made meals for both our little ones.NurturMe and Yummy Spoonfuls. These are especially useful for when you are traveling.
To begin with you will want to get babies used to as many different tastes and flavors as possible. After all you don't want fussy eaters, especially if their diet is already restricted!
Your baby does not expect gourmet cooking.
As long as its the right consistency and temperature, most babies are happy to try anything, although to avoid problems later on, it is best not to add extra salt or sugar, and of course ensure that all ingredients are found on the gluten free food list.
You will want to be extra vigilant about avoiding cross contamination in your kitchen.
I started by offering mashed bananas or avocados - simple to prepare (no cooking) and nutritious.
In fact all fresh fruits are suitable, although some, such as apples or pears, will need cooking first. You might find that your baby prefers to have the stronger flavors "diluted" by being mixed with pure baby rice to begin with.
Baby rice cereal is a fine substitute for oats. Although they don't contain gluten, oats are normally not included on the gluten free diet, due to the risk of cross contamination. This can happen at any point in the process of getting the oats from the fields to your kitchen. To learn more, check out my page asking whether oats are safe or not.
Meats, fish and pulses, such as butter beans, can add protein to a meal but nuts are best avoided. Start with one ingredient at a time, and don't introduce any other new foodstuffs for at least 3 days. This way you will be able to spot if an ingredient causes any digestion problems.
Infants will need their gluten free baby food liquidized or blended until smooth. Your normal food processor can tackle this if you are cooking in bulk, but for individual meals a baby food mill such as that contained in the BabySteps Complete Feeding System by Kidco, is ideal.
Another option is the Magic Bullet Mixer Set as seen on TV. Small and easy to use this gadget will prove indispensable to you, the gluten free chef.
As your child gets to about 8 months, you can make the food thicker, perhaps leaving some chunky bits for him to investigate with his fingers and mouth.
Once the baby is able to pick up small objects it is time to offer finger foods. The normal rusks, or pieces of bread, are not an option on the gluten free diet, so you need to consider alternatives. Rice cakes, fruit, cheese and vegetables are all suitable for the baby to suck or chew once he has teeth.Belle's Biscuits is a company that supplies gluten free teething biscuits in a number of flavors, including vanilla and blueberry, which make ideal finger food. You could also offer your baby the Fiddlesticks Snack Sticks by Plum Organics which come in a number of options such as Banana, Berry and Apple Carrot.
To get you started, I have added a gluten free baby food recipe section to the site. These are quick and easy to prepare and cook, whether you do it on a day to day basis, or increase the quantities and freeze the meals as I did when my children were young.
As long as you use arrowroot or baby rice for thickening, instead of wheat flour, you won't go far wrong.