Making Baby Food - Revisited

Posted by  | Friday, November 28, 2008  at 11:24 AM  
Hollie wrote this post in December, 2007 and did a great job telling us how to make baby food! I recently went back to this post for some more tips while making Adeline's food. I only got to make one batch of truly pureed food before she has decided she would rather chew her food! Enjoy.

Anyone can make their baby homemade, fresh baby food. Anyone. You don't have to be a professional health-nut to be qualified to make your baby healthy food. Actually, since my daughter started to eat solids 6 months ago, it was then that I started to become proactive about what we, as a family, were putting in our mouths. And I'm not even close to being "there." You know where "there" is. It's your goal that you have in your mind that you hope one day you can attain, and I hope one day I can feel like I've made some HUGE steps in weeding out the unhealthy habits we have concerning eating by replacing them with wholesome, delicious healthy-eating habits. We are DEFINITELY a work in progress and will continue to be that for years to come. Starting with baby is a great place to start, because you research "slowly" how to eat more healthily as your baby begins to try new foods slowly.

The reason I wanted to make baby food was because I wanted to give Laney the best health I possibly could and that would mean giving her fresh, whole minimally-processed food. I knew that would help build her immune system and fight off illness like a champ! Her first sickness was at eleven months, and I know that the nutrition she received definitely benefited her. I feel that the Lord has given me such a great responsibility to raise my daughter to the best of my ability. I'm trying my hardest to do just that, not just in the area of food, but food definitely falls into that area of accountability. Please note that I'm speaking from personal interest here. I know that everyone does not have the same conviction and/or interest and I respect that choice. Did I ever give Laney jarred baby food? Oh yeah. You better believe I did. I wasn't trying to be Super Mom or anything, but I did want to give her fresh foods when I could. I never had to buy jarred baby food weekly, because I fed her mostly what I froze, but when we were out in town shopping, out of town at the Grandma and Papa's house or we were simply out of frozen homemade cubes, then I'd pop open a jar of baby food. I used Earth's Best brand because they were organic and the cereal is whole grain.

You don't have to use organic foods, but I try to use organic when I am able to do so. I was not an organic person six months ago. In fact, I would playfully joke around upon biting into an organic apple, "Oh my word! This is the best apple I've ever put in my mouth! Why, it's ORGANIC, that's why!! It just tastes SO much better! LOL!" Harmless humor, but that's what my mindset was toward organic foods. I'm a big joke-ster anyways, but after reading a few books and researching, my mind was changed, and I honestly felt that this was a beneficial change our family needed to make, if we could afford to do so. I believe we can make it work, if we value healthy eating enough. (and trust me, our budget is TI-IGHT since I quit working, since my husband is in Seminary and working crazy hours). Maybe we'll do a "Why organic" post soon. (What do you think ladies?) In the meantime, I'm here to tell you HOW to make baby food.

I'm so glad there's a good book out there for you to read concerning homemade baby food called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron, because trying to tell you all you need to know on this POH blog is a daunting task. What I CAN do is give you the highlights of what I've learned to see if this is something that interests you.

What do you need?

  1. Patience and willingness to learn - you will feel inadequate at times, but that's okay.
  2. A few minutes to read up on your baby's month of foods
  3. Time to go grocery shopping (something you are already doing)
  4. A food processor/chopper ( a blender will work too) - $15.00
  5. Steamer- not a must, but it's nice to have
  6. Microwave-not a must again, but it's nice to have & makes things easier
  7. ice cube trays
  8. foil
  9. freezer bags, large and small
  10. An hour and a half to prepare your baby's meals for months!

If you're starting from your baby's first foods around six months, then you want to start out slow with foods you can mash with a fork, like banana, avocado sweet potatoes, yogurt, peaches, etc... The key to making your own baby food is make meals in BULK. I cannot emphasize that enough. For me, it was tough to get to the grocery store even weekly, so I would buy a bunch of ripe bananas and avocados, puree them in my food processor, spoon out portions to go in the ice-cube tray, cover with foil and freeze them. Once frozen, I'd pop them out, put them in a freezer bag, and label the bag with the contents/expiration date. Yeah, the bananas turned brown, but no nutritional value was lost, and they still tasted the same. (I couldn't had any citrus juices, like lemon juice, to keep them from turning, because babies can't have citrus fruits until they turn a year old. I learned these little important tid-bits from the Super Baby Foods book )

I referenced this book like crazy, for every month there was a list of what foods you could introduce to your baby using the 4-day wait rule(you have to give your baby at least 4 days to try a new food so that you can rule out any allergy with that particular new food.) Every month, their meals get more and more diverse and balanced. I loved that I didn't have to read chapter after chapter when mastering month seven, ten or whatever month. The author knows your time is limited. You do however, have to read the introduction, which is a few chapters, before you begin, so that you can learn how bacteria grows and how to keep your cooking area sterile. That's very important. I absolutely loved the index, because I could look up any food, know at what month I can introduce it, how to choose it, cook it and the time allotted to freezing it. It was awesome!

I even learned how to make my own yogurt! I'll never forget my Pediatrician's face when I told him that I made Laney's whole-milk yogurt. "You made it?" He asked. "How do you make yogurt?" There was so much involved that I couldn't just rattle off all of the steps, but I just loved how I stumped the doctor! Hee-hee! I wanted to and still want to print off a copy of how to make baby yogurt just so he knows how easy it is and that many, many mothers and fathers are now making their baby's foods. Below, I have a video of how to make baby yogurt. At the time, I didn't have a candy thermometer, but they are so so cheap and you can find them anywhere. I found mine at Walmart for a little over a dollar. You will save so much money by making your own yogurt instead of buying it at the store.

I know that there's so much that I didn't cover and that's great because the authors can fill in the gaps, but this post was mainly about why I chose and how I made homemade baby food. I can only recommend this book for ages 0-12 months, because it was the only one I used. I know there are other great books out there, and I'd love to hear about them in the comments section. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It answered every question I had. Another book that's awesome for once your baby turns a year old is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld(yes Jerry's wife). I was just given this book for Laney's birthday by a friend who shares the same love of providing for our babies the best food we can give them (Thanks Teesa!). I am so thankful for this book, because I was struggling so much with what to feed Laney now that we're over the 12 month mark. This book, Deceptively Delicious, is in high demand, and Teesa had a hard time finding a copy of it. So, put two books on your Christmas list this year!! You won't regret it! Don't forget to check out the yogurt video below.

p.s. The two books on my Christmas list are: Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I have been highly recommended to get these books. I'm hoping that one of the authors will elaborate on these books when she posts this week.

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