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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: The Baby Years - Homemade Baby Food

I’ve already shared with you about our experience with schedules/routines and cloth diapers. Today, I’m going to briefly share with y’all our experience with making our own baby food for our kids when they were babies.

This was another one of those things where when it came up and I told someone that I made my baby’s baby food, they looked at me like I had three heads and said, “You WHAT?”

This really kind of fits right in with my blog title and tag line… Why should I buy special jars of food for my baby when it’s something that I can easily make at home and be assured it has no preservatives in it? Real food with real texture and real taste. I’m just sayin’.

And really, folks… it’s not that hard.

You cook the food, put it in the food processor, turn it on, and maybe add some water. That’s it.

A general rule of thumb that I use is to cook longer and/or make thinner for the younger babies new at eating solids. The older the baby, you may cook it less and allow more texture by adding less water when in the food processor.

Here’s a run-down of some of the things that worked for me.

First Foods:

Sweet potatoes – The best cooking method is to bake them. Once they are done, the skin peels right off. You will need to add some water to thin them while in the food processor to an easily spoon able texture.

Carrots – Steam them until soft then on into the food processor with some water.

Bananas – Just mash those bad boys up fresh at lunch time. You may add a little formula, breast milk, or water to thin them down at first, but you won’t need to for long.

Applesauce – Peel & core the apples and cook them in your steamer if you have one.

Green Beans – These are a little tricky because sometimes they can have a strong taste and texture that a baby might balk at. We usually steam our green beans, so I had to learn to let them cook longer and adding some formula to them as a thinning agent helped mellow out the flavor a little.

Storage:

At first I did the typical freeze the food in ice cube trays then store the food cubes in large freezer zipper bags. But after not too long, once the baby was eating more solids, I found this method a little cumbersome. I began to use other freezing containers like the little ones you can get from The First Years.

Then I found these Freezer Canning Jars by Ball. They were great because they hold several meals worth of food, but not so much that you won’t use it within a day or so of pulling it out of the freezer. Love these things. Even still today.

Self Feeding:

Later on, as they began getting more teeth and self feeding, I would simply cut up ripe peaches, bananas and other fresh fruit. (As an aside, to this day my children are not crazy about canned fruit. They’d much rather have fresh.)

Another thing that also worked well was meatballs. Make them and freeze them in a big freezer bag and you can pull them out a couple at a time. And, the great thing about making these yourself is that you can tailor them to your family’s specific needs. For instance, my son was having some constipation issues as we started solid foods. (He is going to read that 20 years from now and roll his eyes and turn red.) I was able to make meat balls using ground up Triscuts instead of regular bread crumbs to give him a bit more fiber in his diet to, um, help things along, as it were.

Then, it wasn't too long before our kids were just eating what we had at the dinner table, or some appropriate variation of it. Even from this early age, I stood fairly firm on not being a short-order cook and had the mantra of, "You can eat what's on the table or you can wait until the next meal. Granted, my kids are early teethers and had a mouthful of molars by the time they were a year old. I'm no help to those of you with late teethers. Sorry.

So, making my own babyfood really worked well for me. Maybe it will work for you as well.

For more Works for Me posts, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

5 Comments:

FromThe Creek said...

I did this too...love the ice cube tray baby food!

Marybeth at www.babygoodbuys.com said...

I love making my own baby food, I find it very fulfilling! My friends and family think I'm doing it to save money, but I like seeing exactly what I'm putting in my baby's mouth. Thanks for the great tips!

Kim said...

I didn't eat baby food because my babysitter made the mistake of giving me biscuits soaked in sausage gravy first. Who'd want nasty old baby food after that? LOL

To be honest, I never even thought of making homemade for my kids (22 and 27 years old). But they only ate the store bought stuff until they could handle true solids and then it was table food all the way, mashed on their plates to begin with until that was no longer necessary.

But a lot of my younger friends have gone the homemade route. It makes so much sense!

Rachel said...

I just love that every week, you post about something that I'm doing. I wanted to share a link to a website that has been very helpful for me, as I've made my own baby food.

http://wholesomebabyfood.com/

Tiffany said...

I'm SO looking forward to making baby food for our daughter. She's only 2 months now but I know she'll be ready for more than milk in the blink of an eye. Thanks for posting about this. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog! :)