I’m over my head in research on making your own baby food this month. Although I made my own for a while with my son, I am digging in deeper before sharing my “expertise” with others in a book. There are many resources out there devoted to the subject and we’ll definitely point you to them in the book. I’m pretty sure it’s quite simple though. One of those things we tend to over think as moms but would be better served simply using common sense.
There are several reasons to make your own baby food.
1. It’s economical (when you plan).
2. You know exactly what’s in baby’s food.
3. You can get your baby used to eating what you eat.
4. You can create the texture you feel your baby is ready for.
All those reasons aside, there is nothing wrong with feeding your baby food from a jar (or a pouch these days). There are many options available on the market that are perfectly healthy for baby, including many organic options. But if you are interested in trying your hand at making baby food, here are a few tips to get you started.
Buy the freshest produce possible and use items within a day or two after purchase. Choose vegetables that are not high in nitrates which can be harmful to baby. Those known to have high nitrate levels are: green beans, carrots, spinach, squash and beets. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics website, commercially prepared vegetables (frozen/jar food) are safer to use as manufacturers test for nitrates. It is not a bad idea to use frozen vegetables to prepare baby food, especially if you want to try the items listed above. The AAP recommends peas, corn and sweet potatoes as good first foods for babies.
You will need to have a good system of food preparation if you want to be in this for the long haul. Choose a day of the week where you can set aside an hour or two for baby food prep. Sunday afternoons are a great time for this. Thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables using a brush. There are many ways to prepare each food but generally you will need to cut/peel your fruits and vegetables to start. Specifically for a younger baby, be careful of leaving too much skin on. Although there is lots of nutrition in the skin, it will add to the bulk and texture of prepared foods and can be harmful to baby. Next you’ll steam or boil the food to get it nice and soft. Make sure it is cooked through enough to be pureed to your baby’s likeness. Lastly, you’ll run your cooked fruits/veggies through a food processor. There are several baby food making systems on the market today that do this quite easily. But a good ole kitchen food processor works just fine as well. Once again, be sure that the food is pureed enough and is the texture you are comfortable with for your baby’s stage.
Several of the baby food making systems today come with convenient storage tools. An old fashioned ice cube tray (remember those?) works fine as well. Divide your pureed food into equal parts (an ice cube is the perfect serving size), cover well to avoid freezer burn and label with food name and date (some items will alter in color after freezing so it will help to have them labeled).
Remove the portion of baby food you want to use prior to serving. It is sometimes helpful to take out a days worth of servings and keep them in the fridge. If you heat the food in the microwave be sure to check thoroughly for hot pockets to avoid burning baby’s mouth. Consider sectioning out even one serving into two in case your baby does not want an entire ice cube sized portion. You should dispose of any unused food that baby’s spoon has touched so in order to avoid waste, use a separate bowl or dish to feed baby from.
Simple, right? Much of these tips are common sense. We’ll cover the subject in more depth in The Baby Companion book but for those mamas heading towards this stage, we hope you find these hints helpful.
What are some of YOUR secrets to making your own baby food? What are some of your favorite books and resources? We’d love to hear your tips!