Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baby Food Tutorial...

Let me let you in on a little secret, Rob is a trained chef. Jealous yet? If not you surely should be because the food he makes is out of this world! So when the time came for Lucy to be able to eat solid foods it was pretty much a given that we would make her food ourselves, which means Rob would make her food (hey, I'm determined to put that culinary degree to good use).

I mean, honestly, why buy jarred baby food? It's expensive, often has added sugars and preservatives, it isn't fresh and...did I mention it's damn expensive for those tiny jars? In my mind it is so much easier, fresher, healthier and cheaper for you to make it yourself. Do you need anything special? No, not particularly. There are several products out there that help in making baby food, like the Beaba Babycook, which will run you upwards of $130, and you can stock up on Silicone Baby Food Freezer Trays from iPlay that will run you over $7.00 or you can work with what is in your kitchen.

Now, our kitchen happens to be pretty well stocked with all sorts of fabulous culinary tools, most of which I have no idea how to use, so for some people it may be easier to purchase actual baby food making products. But for us all we needed was a stainless steel food mill and some silicon ice cube trays that I scored for $3.00 a piece at Ross (Sidenote: I feel that it is important to use the food grade silicon trays as there may be BPA in regular plastic ice cube trays.)

It's almost too easy to even devote a blog entry to explaining actually making the food, but I have some super cute pictures of Lucy eating so I figured I needed to write this up as a precursor to the adorableness that is going to follow.

What you do:
  • Buy veggies and fruits, preferably organic (we went to our local Farmer's Market, bought what was on sale at New Seasons (a local organic market) and stocked up Costco bulk organics as well used what was in our own backyard). Lucy's favorites were mangos, avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, winter squash, green beans, peas, apples and pears (stay away from citrus!). If its the winter, as we are heading into now, and lots of the above are out of season then look to the organic frozen foods section, these are just as good and are often all ready for cooking and pureeing!
  • Prep veggies or fruits. This means peeling, putting, chopping and steaming (if applicable, mostly for veggies).
  • Puree veggies and fruits, we started out by mashing with a potato masher and then running them through the food mill (I'm sure a blender works as well).
  • Younger babies = puree more and add water if necessary (the water from the steamed veggies is great to use). Older babies = forgo the food mill or blender and just mash well so that they will have some lumps to be able to practice chewing (make sure foods are small and soft still and always, always watch while baby eats).
  • If babies are older try some fun combos of veggies and fruits that you've already tried in the past (to be sure there are no food allergies). Lucy LOVED Mangos and Avocados (we called them "Manacados"), which were SO good for her and funnily enough Rob's nieces who are 4 and 10 loved that concoction too when we made it for Lucy while on vacation. See what your baby likes and mix it up a bit!
  • Put food into silicon trays and freeze (perfect baby serving size!). When fully frozen transfer to gallon freezer bag (you can reuse these, no need to use a new one every time) and suck out the air with a straw to keep freezer burn away.
  • Voila! Servings of fresh fruits and veggies for baby!
Saving money on fruits and veggies not only enables us to buy organic but also gives us the extra money to buy the other "staples" that Lucy enjoys. She LOVES her HappyBellies Oatmeal Cereal and Multi-Grain Cereal, which she gets twice a day. She also loves to eat her Nancy's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt. I originally fed her a flavored baby yogurt until I realized that it had added sugar in it, which I really don't think she needs, she gets enough natural sugars from her fruits. Lately we've been having whole grain (dry) toast with sliced pears for lunch, which is a recent development that she just adores. Also, we've been trying more "real" foods for dinnertime. Last week she has tiny bits of chicken breast, some mashed potatoes and chopped sauteed zucchini, the next day she had (soft) brown rice and broccoli...and she loved it all. She still eats her homemade food, but she is growing up so quickly and trying more big girl foods! I will say Lucy still nurses about six times a day. I'm going to try and keep it up until she's at least a year, she also drinks water and wants absolutely nothing to do with juice so we stick with breastmilk and water!

Here's my big girl eating her big girl food:

Next time we make veggies and fruits I'll take a picture of the process. I wish I had some for this post but they're on my old computer and I just wanted and excuse to post our latest eating adventures pictures!

What about you, dear readers, have you tried making your own baby food yet? If not, is there any details that I'm leaving out? Let me know!

Coming up, a Friday Giveaway!

"I always wondered why babies spend so much time sucking their thumbs. Then I tasted baby food."
-Robert Orben


Jamie @ Baldwin Bungalow said...

Timely post. I bought a baby food making book off Amazon as well as storage trays that I planned to put to good use in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the tips!

I also plan to buy mini pumpkins and squash while they're in season and just freeze them for later.

fitness supplements said...

It really so innocent, cute, and really sweet.

Hen party accessories said...

ohh!! my god he is so sweet specially his eye are so beautiful you know what according to Veggies For Ecology, organic baby food is healthier. There is more vitamin C and minerals in it than traditional baby food.keep posting

Candice said...

Great job mom and dad!!

I also made/make all Graham's baby food. So easy, inexpensive, and healthy. I did it the same way too. :) I still make him whole grain brown rice cereal and apple & chicken cubes to put in it. Yum!

Jen said...

Making baby food for my son was one of the best decisions I ever made. He's a great eater now and I'd like to think that starting off with such great food helped with that. We used a food processer or a blender instead of a food mill.

Emily said...

I didn't make baby food for my first because it seemed like such a hassle. But when #2 came around and was into food WAY earlier than I had anticipated, I gave it a whirl. It was easy and I kind of enjoyed it! I laughed at your "manacado" word because my daughter LOVED banana and avocado and we called it "bananacado." She's almost two and bananas and avocados remain some of her favorite foods!

Kristen said...

Yes, I made some of my own baby food (I posted about it, too -- venison. :) My daughter eats pretty much whatever we eat now. She's on a gluten/dairy-free diet, but so is my husband so it's easy. Good first meals are shepherd's pie or pasta (we do rice pasta and add zucchini and spinach). In the summer, we do smoothies and add raw spinach.

Missy said...

Thanks for the tutorial! When I finally have a baby I plan on making my own baby food so this really helps.

Mrs. Haid said...

How do you thaw the little foodie cubes? How many of the cubes do you use per day?

I plan to make my 4 month old son's food, too. But I have a little while.

I am researching this... was there a website or book you found very helpful?

Nicole said...

our little guy just started solids, and I am also making his food. So far we are having fun. His favs so far are bananas and sweet potatoes. Tonight peas are on the menu for the 1st time! I will have to try mangos too. I use a mini food processor and it works great! I also love this website:
Lots of good recipes and ideas!

Jessica Kathren said...

I didn't make my own baby food with my daughter but I'm expecting again and really want to try this time. I've thought about the Beaba Babycook but I'm only getting it if someone (grandma) graciously gifts it to me for my birthday next year. I don't know if I can justify the price when a foodmill is so much cheaper. I'd love to hear some more combination you tried with Lucy.

My open roads said...

My little monkey boy is just starting solids, but has already enjoyed his bananas, sweet potatoes, cooked apples and pears... I love 'making your own baby food' posts and photos, they always give good ideas :)
I totally second you on the baby food jars!
Your girl is too cute!

Anonymous said...

We did some cooking specifically for our son when he started solids, but we mainly followed the baby-led weaning strategy, of giving him age-appropriate foods, and letting him eat them at his own speed. This is a good link about the process:

And Nina Planck's book "Real Food for Mother and Baby" is chock full of really good baby food ideas!

teacheroftwos said...

I make my own food too! I love it! We have a Kidco Food Processor and it is awesome; it came with two trays to store the baby food in. We like to mix avacodo and banana; "Banacodo"! So Good! I have also done chicken noodle soup which my little one loves! I put it in the food processor last night, but normally I just give it to her because it is soft enough for her to eat!

Stephanie said...

I have to admit that I just bought the Beaba Babycook. I am a foodie and kind of addicted to kitchen gadgets, so when I saw this for sale months before my daughter was born, I had to get it. She's almost 5 months old and not quite ready for solids. But we have a year-round farmers market that will be perfect for making my own baby food. I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I know parents think that they are supposed to feed their baby pureed food, but it might be a good idea to stop and think about that and do a bit of research.

Why puree?

Just skip it and served lightly mashed foods and small portions of the food you and hubs are eating. There's no reason to change the format of food--when babies are ready to eat solids, they are ready to eat solids. If that means sticking with just breastmilk until the baby is really ready to eat "regular" food, yup, that's what it means!

Just a different perspective from someone who has done a lot of reading on the subject and does not intend to spoonfeed purees.

FSD said...

We make Zoe's food, too! Also all organic. I love it. I made the very first batch of food (peas), and my husband was so impressed that he decided he wanted to help make it as well, so now it's a family affair. Sometimes I even put Zoe in her Moby wrap or in the Bjorn to "help".

Making baby food is so easy, as you laid out. Initially I would buy a jar of baby food here and there to use as a guide for achieving the right consistency. Well, so as not to waste a jar of butternut squash, we took it to dinner one night to serve to Zoe. You should've seen the look on her face. She looked as though we just offered her feces or something. LOL. And it was even Earth's Best Organic, which I figured couldn't be too bad. We tasted the food...GROSS!!! Compared to fresh made food, the jarred food really is pretty bad.

We use our blender for everything. I was going to buy a Beaba, but quickly found that it was unnecessary. We also like the convenience of buying frozen organic fruits and veggies when (a) something is out of stock or out of season in the fresh variety or (b) when we're pressed for time. We use the cubes as well as some baby food containers we found on One Step Ahead's website (they're great!).

Good for you to making sweet Lucy's food. I think nursing and making my own baby food have been two of the more rewarding things I've done as a mom.

By the way, Lucy is sooo adorable! I love the pics you posted.

Beverley said...

I read the link on Baby Led Weaning and although I think its an interesting concept I don't feel the need to try it with Lucy. She did great with purees and has comfortably moved into textured finger goods. She is great at chewing and loves each and every new texture we introduce. We still spoon feed certain foods, especially iron fortified oatmeal cereal due to low iron levels, but also very much encourage finger foods at this point as well. Lastly, I wouldn't start Lucy on the foods Rob and I eat as sometimes we like it HOT and Spicy! LOL!

Thanks for the interesting link though!

Beverley said...

Also, as for serving size. At very first Lucy would have only about a half a cube at a time or less. Then it gradually became more. Right now she has 6 tablespoons of oatmeal cereal per day (recommended by dr. for low iron levels), 3 tbs of yogurt, 1-2 servings (cube) of fruit or veggies with each meal, 2 serving of diced chicken or cheese!

bobby said...

Thank you so much for your tutorial. It is well worth the time to make your own baby food. Using healthy ingredients and preparing them without all the additives and fillers makes for such a superior product than what you find in the grocery store there is absolutley no comparision. Thank you for the information. It is very important for mothers to know what their options are.

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