How to thin baby food – How to use breast milk or baby formula to cook for your baby

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When you prepare a baby puree’ you always need a certain amount of liquid to thin it in order to achieve a nice creamy texture for your little one. I would like to share with you some basic information about how to thin a baby puree: quantity needed, kind of liquid to add, using breast milk or baby formula. Let’s start from the beginning:


The quantity of liquid to add really depends from your baby’s taste: some babies like very thick purees, others prefer a more running consistency. No worries. Meal after meal you will be the perfect judge to know exactly how creamy your baby food should be. Just follow the directions that you will find in the baby recipe and add more or less liquid pending your little one taste.

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Well, you have few options listed below. They are all good and safe. Pick up the one you like more pending what you have available in your refrigerator/freezer/pantry 😉

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1) Warm water:

easy and simple, always at your disposition. Only one note: water doesn’t give any additional nutrients to your baby food. That’s not a bad thing, just a consideration.

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2) Cooking liquid:

You can use the same liquid you cooked the food in: if you steam or boil some vegetables you can use the residual cooking water to thin the baby puree. The good thing is that the cooking water contains some nutrients coming from the vegetables as they cooked. That’s why the cooking water usually has a very pale color, typically green or yellow.

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3) Vegetable broth or chicken broth (if you are cooking on the savory side)

I deeply suggest to prepare a good quantity of both broths and store them in the freezer. As you are cooking for babies you want the broth to be without salt and only with few fresh seasonal ingredients. If you want to check the vegetable broth or the chicken broth recipes click the links.

Homemade chicken broth

Click on the image


Homemade vegetable broth

Click on the image


4) Unsweetened organic apple juice (if you are cooking on the sweet side)

It’s safe and gives a naturally sweet taste to the puree that babies really like.

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5) Breast milk or baby formula

That’s a wonderful way to thin you baby food as you are really boosting in all the powerful nutrients contained both in formula and breast milk.

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Just few notes:

  • Never use previously frozen breast milk or baby formula as you might end up freezing your baby food and you never freeze twice the same food, even if you use it as an ingredient.
  • On the contrary, when you add freshly made baby formula or breast milk to your baby food you can freeze it without any problem. The nutritional value of both breast milk and baby formula will not be compromised nor there will be any safety issues.
  • In the case of baby formula the only thing that will happen is that during the freezing process the fat will separate (like it happens with cow milk). Once the baby food will thaw you will be able to warm it and mix it so that you will have the original texture back.

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I hope these information will be helpful, please note that I’m a mom and not a pediatrician, so I’m sharing my knowledge, research and experience about baby nutrition and development. Should you have any other questions, I will be more than happy to reply!



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  • Reply
    How to thin baby food - How to use breast milk or baby formula to cook for your baby - BabyVideos
    January 15, 2017 at 2:08 am

    […] How to thin baby food – How to use breast milk or baby formula to cook for your baby […]

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    May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

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    February 25, 2019 at 10:33 am

    […] If you want to use other thinning liquid to get your desired baby food consistency, check out this video too and the post HOW to THIN Baby Food […]

  • Reply
    Usha Majjige
    November 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I’m a breastfeeding mom to 10 months old baby. Can I use formula milk to my baby’s food or breast milk as I have never given him formula milk before. Please suggest.

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      January 20, 2021 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Usha, welcome to BuonaPappa! Both formula and breastmilk work to thin your baby food. If you have extra breastmilk, that’s simply great. Just remember to add it at the last minute in the baby food and not heat it. I would not buy baby formula just to think your babyfood, you can use other liquids instead like vegetable broth or even water. I hope I was helpful! Ciao, b

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    July 11, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Hi! Could I add refrigerated milk to the just heated vegetables (peas) and then purée? Or does it need to be freshly pumped since I’m adding it to a warm mixture?

    Thank you!

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      December 30, 2021 at 3:00 am

      You can add it directly from the fridge, no problem.

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