Baby food in Japan

Emily started eating solid foods soon after her 6 month birthday, and things have been going very smoothly since then.

She typically eats 2-3 meals and one snack each day (now that she is 8 1/2 months old).

The move to baby food (from only breastmilk or formula) in Japan is similar to that in other countries (perhaps a little later as most mums wait until the baby is 6mo), but some of the food is a bit different. 

Let me share my experiences with you...

Most babies in Japan start solid food with okayu (soft, watery rice porridge) which is easy to swallow and digest. 

You can buy okayu ready-made, or in powdered form, but most mums/dads add water to their family rice and prepare it that way. Most rice cookers have an okayu (おかゆ) function if you will be making a larger batch.

This type of product (around 1,000yen) allows you to change regular cooked white rice to okayu in your microwave.

Prepackaged (powdered) okayu looks like this...

Or you can buy it in a jar like this...

If you prefer to start your baby on cereal, you will have more luck importing baby food from somewhere like iHerb.

Happy baby probiotic (organic) baby cereal here

Gerber rice cereal here

Gerber multigrain cereal here

Buying vegetables and fruit in Japan is relatively affordable (provided you do not shop at a large high-end department store), so making fresh baby food at home is VERY easy. Here are some of Emily`s favorites...

* Avocado puree

ingredients - 1-2 ripe avocados
method - remove skin and pit, and mash the avocado with a fork / blend the avocado in a food processor.

Avocado does not freeze well, so make small batches and eat them the same day / next day.

* Sweet potato puree

ingredients - 1 sweet potato
method - buy a hot yaki-imo and mash the flesh to make baby food! (or boil/steam the potato as you like and mash it with a fork / blend the flesh in a food processor).

If the puree is too thick for a young baby, dilute it with breast milk, formula or a little water.

* any other vegetable puree...

ingredients - your favorite single vegetable or mix of vegetables
method - cook until soft (roasted, boiled or steamed), then mash with a fork / blend in a food processor.

If the puree is too thick, dilute it with breast milk, formula, or a little water.

**experts suggest introducing single foods to baby at the beginning, and waiting a few days between each new food - watch out for allergies!

There is some great advice here on how to start, and continue with solid food here.

You can buy baby food at supermarkets and shops like Akachan honpo and Nishimatsuya. Most large drug stores will carry a small selection of baby food too. You can also buy baby food online at amazon.co.jp

Each type of food will have a mark like this `6ヶ月` (6 months old) on the label to show the minimum age for that type of food.

There are three main types of baby food available :

Jarred


Packaged



Powdered

Some, including the Kewpie brand (キューピー) will have an english translation on the packaging, others may not.  

* the squeeze-pouch is not readily available, so if you prefer this style, shop online at iHerb for a good selection (here).

Babies older than 6mo may enjoy yogurt, which you can find by the Danon brand in most supermarkets. We love it!

If you would like to give your baby tea or juice, there are non-caffeinated types in the baby food section too. There are also baby versions of electrolyte drinks if baby is ill.

AND there are lots of baby friendly snacks available too. Both my kids loved ボーロ/ぼうろ balls (nb: can contain egg).


The japanese word for baby food is 離乳食 rinyūshoku, or you can use the English words baby food (ベビーフード).

Happy baby food fun!

Fran xx

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