Oliver has been eating baby food for a while now. I was going to wait until 6 months, but he was meeting all the milestones much sooner, and he seemed ready. As excited as I was to start solids, I had no desire to feed him just to see him eat, and really wanted it to be more of something he needed.
We also skipped rice cereal. I gave it to him once, and he cried the whole next day. Given, it could have been anything, I suppose, but there isn’t a lot of real value in rice cereal, so we just went into purees, and then some purees with oatmeal.
The two bigs reasons for me to make his food:
- Price. Seriously, I’ll spend money on his stuff without batting an eyelash because I’m a crazy person but I can’t get over how much cheaper it is to make his food. Sweet Potatoes are like $1/pound and two medium size ones will make several meals. Meanwhile, the smallest jars of baby food are around 45 cents each.
- Knowing what’s in them. AKA the gross factor – eating a jar of baby food is really not that appealing, but if you offer someone pureed sweet potatoes or pears, well that doesn’t seem nearly as bad.
The early foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
The list is sort of in the order we introduced it. All of these things are low on the possible allergy list, and pretty easy to puree.
Tips and Tricks:
- You don’t have to peel the apples or pears, just wash them well. I guess this depends on how paranoid you want to be, but honestly it is so much easier to just chop them, cook them a bit and then puree them. The skin gets soft and purees easily
- The first few times you give baby solid foods, you can mix a little breastmilk or formula with the puree. This helps with the taste adjustment.
- It’s easier to bake the sweet potatoes – the taste is a little richer, and they slide right out of their skin
- You can use oatmeal to make anything a little “heartier” or thicker if you need to. For breakfast we blend half a banana with oatmeal and a splash of water, and he loves it.
- Any of those combinations work well. We gave him a pea apple combo, banana butternut squash, pear and apple whatever. It’s also a good way to introduce new foods if baby seems unsure about them.
- Some people have a concern that if you introduce fruits first your baby will eventually not want to eat vegetables. Oliver’s pediatrician did not share this concern, so we didn’t worry about it.
- You can cook and puree frozen fruits/veggies and then refreeze them. You just aren’t supposed to let a bag of frozen food thaw and then stick it back in the freezer
- If you do freeze food, try freezing it in small batches one food at a time (more on this later) and then you can mix them as needed when you thaw them.
- Pumpkin is one of the only foods that it’s supposed to be cool if you use a can – if you pick up a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) the only ingredient is pumpkin and it’s not kept in any sort of sauce.
You only really need some form of food processor or blender. But, there are a few other items that help.
- Food processor and or personal blender – we use the food processor for the batch stuff, and I’ve had a Magic Bullet and that is helpful for small things. You don’t actually need any of the special baby ones, unless you really want it.
- Small containers – there are tons of options for baby specific ones, like these. You can also buy just small tupperware type containers. There was a moment when I thought I went overboard with tiny storage things, but I think it’s good to have plenty of options. Anyway, the baby specific ones have a little tray that keep them from getting lost in the fridge, which I like.
- I bought some of these Kiinde pouches and a the spoon that attaches to make my own little pouch things, which have been kind of helpful for when we’re on the go.
- Ice cube trays (preferably with a lid) – this is good if you make a big batch of something. Freeze them in the trays, empty the trays into ziploc bags to open up some space in your freezer and then take out when necessary. Options here or here.
When you first start making baby food it may be a little much to cook enough to eat and freeze. The first time I did it, it felt like a LOT. But it was nice the next week to not have to worry as much.
I also think there’s a mental thing here too – a lot of the other moms I know who made their own baby food breast fed, and I think it helps with the transition. I still feel like I’m making the food he needs each day. And, like I said, it does just feel “right” to not be icked out by trying his food.