Thursday, December 11, 2008

Into the mouth of babes...

Today's subject matter:

I understand that this won't apply to A LOT of people, but there are also a lot that it will. If you don't have a baby, move along to the next blog. And have a wonderful day!

So, why make your own baby food? For starters, it is cheaper. I was going to break down a cost by cost comparison for this post, but I can't write down prices and all when I am juggling a baby at the grocery store. I know and you know it is cheaper, so there.

Why else? You know exactly what is going into your baby's mouth. My boys are bottle-fed and it cuts me to the quick. Much to my dismay, nursing is something that my body is terrible at. The Ladies just don't produce sufficient amounts of sustenance for my growing babies. So I bottle feed. For someone who likes to cook from scratch, the thought of bottle feeding is troublesome for me. Putting something into my babies bellies that is so highly processed is a bummer. So when it comes time to start feeding Van real food, making my own is important to me. Like everyone else in my family, I know exactly what is going into his mouth.

So how do you do it? It is incredibly easy. This is what I have so far:

Corn: fresh, canned, frozen. Steam until tender (if frozen or fresh), throw in the food processor and process until smooth. Portion out into ice cube trays. Cover and freeze. Once solid, put into little baggies.

Green beans: same as corn.

Butternut squash: Peel, chop and steam. Process until smooth and into the ice cube trays.

Avocados: mash with a fork or processor. Avocados are great because they stay green in the freezer.

Bananas: Process until smooth. Ice cube and freeze.

After doing a little research online, I have found that baby food lasts about 3 months in the freezer.

As for defrosting, easy. In the morning, I take out whatever cubes I will be feeding to Van that day. I put them in bowls and let them sit on the counter for a few hours. Usually it is mush by the time he is flapping his arms and whining for food. If it isn't defrosted, I put in the microwave and slowly heat it up. If it is too thin, I add rice cereal to thicken it up. If it is too thick, I add warm water.

I know I am not the only one who makes baby food. So mommas, what do you do? Give me some tips. And recipes would be great!

UPDATE 12/14: Here are two sites that have a wealth of recipes and info about baby food.
Thank you Jodi!
Thank you Sweet Pea!


My crazy crazy life said...

I make my own baby food too. And i'm not some hippy freak, I just agree with you, the jars are completely processed and gross. (I do like them for an on the run life saver but that's it). I have an organic baby food cook book and a sugar free baby food cookbook. I've made only a few things in it but the ones I did make were awesome. Apple muffins made with kids loved him...all of them...not just the baby.

Tricia said...

hey whitney

I did some of my own baby food too. I never did it en masse,just as I went along.

mashed bananas here, steamed green beans or carrots there.....i never bought a jar of baby food.

someone gave me some for a shower gift. one day I opened one, took one whiff, and threw it away.

baked and smashed sweet potatoes and smooshed up ripe pears (skins removed) were some of my kids favorites.

maybe I'm a killjoy, but instead of syrup on pancakes I always put smashed bananas or applesauce when they were babies.

anyway, thanks for bringing back some sweet memories......i loved giving my littles good food and was glad not to bother with baby food jars.

Morgan said...

another tally for you as a cool mom.
i'm going to come back to this post when i have another baby.
you rock.

Holly said...

These are excellent tips, Whitney. Thanks.

If you're looking for recipes, a wonderful book I was given is called "Cooking for Baby". You can buy it at Williams Sonoma stores for $20. It's got some delicious recipes in there. So delicious, in fact, that Nic and I have been known to sneak a bite here and there. Shhh. Don't tell.

Jennypenny said...

I made my own baby food too. Each weekend I would spend a couple hours making some to keep my stash up. I miss seeing those colorful baggies in my freezer. I love how it's super easy to adjust the thickness as they get older.

After my son was 6 or 7 months old, I started making my own porridge too. I just bought bulk grains, and when ready to cook them I ground them up in a coffee grinder and cooked them in boiling water. I would make a few days worth at a time as this lasted about 3 days in the fridge. Once he moved on to meat, I made two diffent stews. One chicken and one beef. (Fish would have been good too) Purreed and froze the same way. I hated how the commercial baby foods for the older babies like the meals and desserts and such seemed to have a lot more junk in them. Also, when he was onto more solid foods, I continued the batch cooking and freezing. Pancakes and meatballs worked great for this, as you could add lots of healthy stuff to them, and they were super simple to reheat.

It's funny how most of my real life friends looked at me like I was crazy when I said I made my own baby food. But I am so glad I did. It was fun and I knew he was eating healthy.

Anonymous said...

So, I am Megan's sister-in-law, Jay's wife. I stumbled on your blog and I just wanted to tell you I love it. I love that your passion for cooking influences me to cook more. Between you and Megan, your family has some awesome talent.

Jodi Jean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi Jean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sweet Pea Chef said...

Check out my DIY Babyfood section of my website!

Your Brussel Sprouts are in my oven as I type.

Sue said...

Hi Whitney - just wanted to make sure you knew... Your entry was selected for the NieNie book. I announced the winning entries today.

Thanks SO MUCH for sending it in. :>

Emily said...

What a great idea! I will have to send the gals in my fam over to check this out! (I have a little something something for you over on my blog! Merry Christmas!

Jodi Jean said...

i have a TON of babyfood recipes, all typed out and everything ...

i'm not joking, it's 30 pages long and includes what ages are appropriate to eat it, what vitamins and minerals it contains, and multiple cooking methods for each thing. covers: fruits, vegetables, meats, grains. and has tons of tips and more information.

i compiled all the information from multiple sites on the web and books while i was making food for my now 2 year old.

Shayne said...

oh yes I remember making babyfood and not making baby food and then baby go on food strike. My son ate then would not so he nursed a lot and then ate food cut into small pieces. to this day (he is 3) he does not like mashed/puréed food.

Laura said...

I am a mom of three and for my last two I have too made my own baby food. Its cheaper, like you said, its fast, it taste so much better, if there is left overs I will eat them. I have also found that the texture of the homemade baby food is more rough and they transition into real food a lot better. all in all, i love it and will keep doing it. I am glad to know you do it too :)

fearlesschef said...

Ooooh yea! I had Sweet Pea Chef's baby food saved and now I will save yours as well. Course, I still have another 10 months until my baby will even be able to think about solids. I can't wait!

Crystal said...

Just looking at your blog for the first time, Ashley told me about it forever ago. I am an aspiring healthy cook and your baby food post is awesome, I'm definitely going to try it. My boys are not small and we spend so much money on baby food, but I can't get really good produce here in NC like you have in Cali without spending a ton at a whole food store. Do you buy organic?

Addie said...

I made my own baby food and this website was really helpful:
There's also:

I read your blog often and have tried a few recipes. Your entries are fun to read and the food looks amazing. Thank you!

AzĂșcar said...

I found you from Sue's blog.

I also made my own baby food with my first son. Great advice so far! I do have to admit that I spent only a single Saturday morning making and freezing food, only to never do it again--I'd just mash up whatever I had around the house with a baby food mill (cost: $9.95)

After my second baby was born I moved to baby led weaning, which essentially skips mashed baby food entirely. I have to say, my second son will eat ANYTHING. I attribute this to the baby led weaning. It just made logical sense to me--a baby naturally reaches to what is on mama's plate already, why not let baby decide?