I wish I would have crafted this DIY sensory hula hoop years ago for my own babies. I saw this photo on facebook about a year ago, and couldn’t get it out of my brain. Tummy time is so important, but not all babies love laying on their belly. My hope is that this sensory hula hoop allows baby to enjoy tummy time more, and possibly keeps the little nugget busy for a few extra seconds to give you time to flip through that magazine you’ve been dying to read.
As always, I recommend supervising your baby while playing with the hula hoop activity center and make sure that there are no small items that could be a chocking hazard.
Photos by Sarah Schiffman
I borrowed the cutie in all of the photos because my baby just turned two! I can say that this sweet little nugget loved the sensory hula hoop so much, I gave it to her after her big photoshoot. Mama claims she is still loving tummyy time in her sensory hula hoop.
Pureeing and Storing Baby Food – a quick introduction
Preparing homemade baby food puree is not only fun, it’s also very simple. You will be surprised to see that it really will take less time to puree baby food than you imagined.
Don’t want to puree? Check out Baby Led Weaning page.
Pureeing homemade baby food is very simple. Cook the food, let it cool a bit, toss it into a blender or food processor and puree away. You can also use a stick mixer or an immersion blender. Puree and blend your baby foods as your creativity and your baby’s age allows. Don’t be afraid to puree sweet potatoes together with apples for example. And don’t be afraid to use breast milk and/or formula. These 2 ingredients will give a nutrition boost as well as offer baby a familiar taste!
Should I add liquid to thin the purees BEFORE or AFTER I freeze the purees? What should I use?
You may thin your purees either before or after freezing them. Using the cooking water to thin purees is really great as you will be adding back in any nutrients that may have leached out. For some vegetables like carrots, (see our article on Nitrates), you should not use the cooking water to thin the purees.
Formula and/or breast milk are great for thinning out purees as they not only add nutrients, they add the familiar taste that your baby is accustomed to. It really is an individual choice and is dependent on what you will be using as your liquid (previously frozen breast milk for example should never be re-frozen.). Many parents find it easier to thin their purees first and then freeze. When baby moves on to more texture, it may be easier to simply freeze the purees and then thin upon thawing if needed. Read more about using Formula and/or Breast Milk to thin puree.
NOTE: For every type of machine you may use to puree, the secret seems to be in how much food you put in the container baskets to begin with. No appliance will do a good job if over stuffed. Fill the containers less than half way full and add a scant amount of liquid to begin with.
Storing Homemade Baby Food Purée in the Refrigerator
It is recommended that fresh pureed homemade baby food be stored no longer than 48 hours (many food safety authorities say that 72 hour is fine.) in the refrigerator. This time limit ensures that the possibility of bacteria growth in the puree is kept to a minimum and that the food does not take on the “taste of the fridge”. This “rule” applies for veggies, fruits, meats etc.
If you do not plan to freeze your homemade baby food, we would suggest that you make the puree on a day to day, or every other day, basis. For example, one sweet potato may be baked and then you may freeze one half without pureeing it and then puree the other half. This method will help cut down “waste” and also allow for food safety.
Experts say that it takes an infant between 15 to 21 instances of trying a food before a true like or dislike is established. If you are just beginning to introduce solid foods, you really will not be able to determine if your baby has a true dislike for a food until much later.
Freezing purées allows you to go back and try a “rejected” food over again. Even if you will be strictly following the 3-4 day wait rule, we still recommend freezing baby food purees for optimal food safety.
If you do make small batches and store in the refrigerator, please keep in mind that you should not feed your baby from the container and then re-store. Saliva may contaminate the food and bacteria may evolve. Always take the portions you will serve from the container and transfer to a feeding bowl.
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When Should the Purée be put into the Freezer or Refrigerator?
Visit our Freezing Baby Food page to learn about Freezing Methods and the foods that freeze well.
While the professional food jury is still a bit divided, the most highly recommend food safety advice on storing foods from the majority of food sources is this:
Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly..
Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly if foods aren’t properly cooled. Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within two hours of purchasing or preparing them.
If the room temperature is above 90 F, refrigerate perishable foods within one hour. Freeze ground meat, poultry, fish and shellfish if you don’t expect to eat it within two days, and freeze other beef, veal, lamb or pork within three to five days. (read the Mayo Clinic Freezing Information page)
Some say that immediately transferring HOT foods to the freezer is NOT good because that hot food will affect the temperature of the foods around it and quite possibly the temperature of the whole freezer.
I recommend transferring the food you have cooked to the fridge and then to package for freezer storage within 2-3 hours. You may safely leave prepared foods in the fridge for up to 48 hours (72 MAX) so it is up to you whether you want to immediately move your foods to the freezer.
Salt and sugar are never needed when making baby food. Omit these items, preferably at ALL times, in your baby’s meals. Other spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, pepper etc. may be introduced as early as 7 months with your pediatricians consult.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Photography by Chelsea Foy
Supplies To Make a DIY Sensory Hula Hoop
It’s not necessary to go out and buy everything on the list above. In my experience, the more texture, color, and dangly things, the better chance you have that your sweet little nugget will enjoy tummy time. This is a great project to whip out all of those yarn and ribbon scraps that you have been saving.