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What I Love Wednesday—Homemade Baby Food

2011 August 24

When it was time to start feeding the little man, I committed to making all of his food myself. I love to cook, I have the time, and it was important to both Stu and me.

Applesauce was first and is still one of his favs.

And, with the exception of some Gerber Baby Oatmeal and some prune puree (to prevent any ‘blockage’), we have stuck to the plan! The experience has been extremely fulfilling and surprisingly easy.

In this post we showed you Ethan’s first encounter with solid food—applesauce. Why applesauce? Well, because I read a book that said applesauce is a great first food.

This is the book:

Yeah yeah, I know, our generation reads books for everything these days. And if we don’t have a book, we Google it! And I know Ethan would have been fine with any Stage One food we tried.

But I love this book. It’s beautiful, thorough, and is a great way to get comfortable with feeding your baby solids AND making the food yourself. While at first pretty nervous about feeding solids in general, after reading this book I couldn’t wait to whip out my food processor!

That’s right, it even has recipes for older kids! They look fun to make and very yummy.

But another great resource, that was recommended by countless friends and acquaintances, is Wholesomebabyfood.com. I feel like this site works extremely well in conjunction with the book. Between the two, you will find answers to any question.

The site has information about the different foods in each ‘stage’, tips on making and storing baby food, and loads of nutritional facts about the food you are (or should be) feeding your baby.

I love how both the book and the site help you make baby food with whatever you have, be it a blender or food processor or neither (though having one of these two things helps a lot).

We have tried:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Butternut Squash
  • Carrots
  • Mango
  • Oatmeal
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Rice Cereal
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yogurt (plain whole milk)

So far Ethan has liked everything…with the exception of our first round of peas. We just started yogurt this week and he LOVES it. I opted for the organic, whole milk, plain yogurt in small containers…just in case he didn’t like it. We swirl it with fruit purees and he can’t get enough!

Blueberries have been our most adventurous food to date. I picked up some frozen blueberries at Trader Joe’s, steamed them for a few minutes, then zipped them up in the blender with some bananas and peaches. Kind of like a smoothie.

Why is this adventurous, you ask?
Because it is dark, dark purple. And Ethan likes to spit up. A lot.

This puree was staining my hands as I was making it. So far we haven’t ruined any clothing, but I may have to bench the blueberries for a while until the spitting up becomes less frequent. Stu took one look at the purple in the blender and said “Are you crazy?!”

Once you get the hang of it, you can even make your baby food while traveling! When we visited my parents, I made some food the afternoon we arrived. We pureed one mango, four to five apples, and one sweet potato. Along with some bananas and Gerber Oatmeal, we had enough food for the whole week. Of course, Ethan was only eating solids about twice a day at that point. Only one week later he is eating solids three times a day!

I encourage you to make some of your baby’s food. It doesn’t have to be everything! Just a few things. And I can’t wait for you to comment about your homemade baby food tips. I know you are reading!!! I want to hear about your experiences.

 

PEA TIP: These may be more work then they are worth. I steamed the first batch, then pureed in my food processor with some of the steaming liquid. Ethan hated the texture. He would make gagging noises and spit them out. I was crushed.  But then I read on wholesomebabyfood.com that pea skins don’t really break down and therefore make the puree lumpy. They suggested pushing the pureed peas through a fine mesh sieve. They also said that plunging steamed peas in a bath of ice water makes a smoother puree. So I did both. The result was perfectly smooth, bright green pea puree. It was the first time though, that I felt like it wasn’t worth the effort. Ethan only kind of liked the peas this time. Maybe they just aren’t his thing.

FRUIT TIP: At first, Ethan was pretty particular about textures. He still spits stuff out if it’s too chunky. So I’ve steamed almost all the fruit for a few minutes before pureeing it. The exceptions are bananas and avocados, and maybe peaches—they got even juicier through steaming, resulting in a very thin puree. 

STORAGE TIP: While plaine old ice cube trays work perfectly, I really like these Fresh Baby Food/Breast  Milk Trays from Cottonbabies. I like them because they have lids. If a lidless tray were to slip in the freezer before the food/milk is frozen, there would be a gigantic mess to clean up. Plus, I like knowing the food/milk won’t be contaminated with any other smells or freezer yuckiness. 

APPLIANCE TIP: Now, I’ve never owned one, but I’m betting these Beaba Babycook Baby Food Makers are not worth the $149 price tag. If you purchase a food processor, buy a big one. While I love my Cuisinart Mini Prep ($39) for pestos, nuts, and other small chopping jobs, I am so glad I broke down a bought my big Cuisinart Food Processor ($179) a few years ago. I can make LOTS of baby food at one time. But I also use it for tons of other cooking projects, not just baby food. I guess what I’m saying is, if you are going to buy something, get the best bang for your buck and get a big food processor…you’ll find loads of other uses for it!

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Sandy Schon permalink
    August 24, 2011

    It’s definitely worth making the baby food yourself!! So easy and so good. You know exactly what is in your food so there are no worries. Ethan is a good eater and is lucky to have your homemade baby food. Good job!!!

  2. Heidi permalink
    August 25, 2011

    Thank you for the tips… my little Kyrie is 5 1/2 months, and is exclusively breast-milk fed, except for 1 daily serving of infant rice cereal. I have been doing lots of Googling lately, to try to decide what and how to provide when. I have been planning on making my own baby foods, and gardened to be able to also grow what I ultimately serve her. I was planning on the ice-cube tray freezing for the portion sizes. What I am trying to find is, what’s best practice for blanching & freezing fresh from the garden foods? It seems as though the recommendation is to fully cook and then puree and freeze. But don’t some foods lose a substantial amount of nutrients due to cooking? Can that be avoided by simply blanching the veggies? I am still looking… Have you read anything? Thanks, Heidi

    • admin permalink*
      August 26, 2011

      Wow Heidi…I wish I had the skills and yard space to have a garden like you! It sounds amazing.

      Thank you for your amazing comment/question about the nutrients lost in cooking. I’m no expert, but my book, The Baby and Toddler Cookbook, says:
      Steamed and roasted foods have the added benefit of not coming into contact with water, which can wash away nutrients.

      I also found the following websites that provide some great information about the loss of nutrients during cooking:
      http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/how-cooking-affects-nutrients.aspx
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=raw-veggies-are-healthier

      It actually sounds like steaming/roasting is BETTER for us because it helps to break down the food so we can more easily digest the nutrients.
      Please let me know if you find any more information on this topic! I’ll hunt around some more too.

  3. Amy Voboril Kohlhepp permalink
    August 29, 2011

    Where or where did you find a mango in Nebraska? ha ha! It was my dream to make all of Annette’s baby food but we found that most of our non local organic veggies and fruits are imported in and are SUPER expensive, more so than actually buying organic baby food (which Safeway always has on sale, just last week I got Earth’s Best brands for 59cents each). We are lucky to have banana’s, avacado’s, mango’s, and papaya’s growing in our backyard and neighborhood; so that is of course a staple in her daily diet and always mashed up and “home maid”.
    We also use the ice cube tray thingy and I love momtastic.com too..great website! I just looked into a baby mill/grinder, I have heard good things about that as well. And YAY for yogurt, I wanna try that next :)
    Once again Becky, beautiful post!

    • admin permalink*
      August 29, 2011

      Thanks Amy! Glad you like it.
      Man I wish we could walk in the back yard and get fruit. That would be so amazing!
      We haven’t tried papaya yet, but I’m going to grab one at Trader Joe’s next week. They have great produce!

  4. March 31, 2016

    Love homemade baby food! It’s a lot healthier, cheaper and better for the environment. Thanks for spreading the world about it.
    Jackie @Kitchen Gadget Reviews recently posted..Homemade Baby Food: Carrots + Other VegMy Profile

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