How I made my own baby food – and you can too!

Before you even start reading this, I’m gonna put it out there I am a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, organic cotton onesie wearing parent. I know what you are thinking: “oh great, here comes another ‘crunchy mama’ on her soap box”.  Let’s be clear, I am more along the lines of a scrunchy mom {I love coke and my oldest eats popsicles for majority of his meals}. To be totally honest, I went the make-my-own-baby-food route for more reasons than just to be organic. My dad has had a lot of health issues in life and one of the main changes he’s had to make is in his diet. The impact has been tremendous and quite frankly life changing, so without a doubt when it came time to feed my new little baby I was all about the natural, chemical free, non-processed, farm to baby puree way. And I am very happy I went that route because once I got the hang of the process it was literally SO darn easy. Not to mention cheaper, stocked in my freezer, and made for some good quality time with my husband.  

When I was pregnant and in the deep depths of Google shopping, I came across what I like to call the baby-food bible – The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book‘. I bought it, jammed it up in my cupboard and completely forgot about it. There are a ton on the market and a quick amazon search gives you no less than 200 options. It’s completely overwhelming! Well at the 6 month check-up when I was asked what foods my baby had tried and my answer was “um, milk?” I knew it was time to bust out that book.

As I flipped through, I was hit with terms such as steaming, blending, dirty dozen {food you should by organic to avoid pesticides}, clean 15 {food least likely to contain pesticides that you do NOT need to buy organic}, and I was half tempted to drop it and run to the nearest grocery store for a jar of food.  Luckily, I have a husband who loves to read informational manuals and essentially gave me a Cliff’s Notes version which I am about to share with you!

You only need four tools: steamer pot, blender, freezing trays, and freezer storage bags + all your fruits, veggies, and grains.

For hard vegetables you need to peel, core, cut into small pieces {removing any part that is not edible}, and steam in fresh water filled about an inch and a half in main pot until easily pierced with a fork. Examples of these items are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, peas, carrots, parsnips, etc.  I like to think of it like this: if it’s food that you wouldn’t just drop raw into a smoothie, don’t just drop raw it into the blender to mix for your baby. Thus, items like cherries, bananas, avocados, berries, etc. can often be fresh or thawed, and blended. Grains are not cooked and blended into a fine flour, then mixed with either breastmilk or water to create a fine “cereal” – this part I totally recommend following a recipe as it does get a little tricky.

You want to ensure that the consistency is thin enough for you baby to easily eat {especially for those first foods}, yet not so watered down they aren’t getting a good meal. If you have a book to guide you, often times it will tell you how much food to steam vs. how much liquid etc. If you’re like me, I just scoop a little up with a fork to test thickness. For this you can add fresh water, or a little breast milk if you so choose. In my baby-food bible there are certain foods where using steamed water is recommended to get nutrients. But that varies with what route you choose to go.

Once you’ve blended to specifications, now comes the fun part. Get out those freezer trays and simply pour, or scoop your puree into the compartments.  Smooth and even out, then cover with a nice sheet of press n’ seal and put in the freezer. I like to save a little fresh mix in these awesome Oxo containers right in the fridge for immediate use!

While you are pouring and freezing, its a good time to add another batch of food to the steamer {after washing it of course, so as not to cross contaminate}. While that’s steaming, don’t forget to wash out that blender.  One of my favorite aspects about The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book is that the author literally maps out a time frame of how to cook 3 months of baby food within three hours,when to start each items, steam, blend etc. to where you have no processes overlapping. Obviously there are a ton of other books with probably just as great of tips, if not better. Everyone has some sort of instruction manual that goes best with the way they operate. This one just so happens to be ours.

The following day when that baby food is frozen solid, simply remove and place in freezer storage bags labeled with food name and date. Please reference books on how long each type will last in a freezer, as minimum is usually 6 months but may differ.

As each food approaches on your schedule*, you pull out a frozen cube the night before and pop it in one of those handy oxo containers, or a bowl with a lid to thaw for the next day. Since I have picky children, we like to pop the oxo container with the cube in the bottle warmer for a few minutes to warm to room temperature. From what I’ve been told, avoid the microwave at all costs when reheating cubes because much like breast milk when it warms it also kills vital nutrients. 

{*My recommended baby food bible also gives a month-to-month guide of when to introduce what, as well as what mixes well together along with various recipes utilizing the cubes. I promise this is not a sponsored post, I just love the book that much, it is worth every single penny!}

VOILA! There you have it. Some motivation and a little Cliff’s Notes version on how you, too, can make your own baby food in just a few hours at home. Trust me, if this scrunchy mama who likes to wing things can do it, YOU CAN TOO!

Do you have a favorite recipe book when it comes to making food for your little ones or some great tips?  Share them below!

 

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