Making My Own Baby Food

Well, I promised I would come back with what I have learned.  Though I intended to do it sooner, better late than never right? :)  I would say it is going really well.  I love it and most importantly AJ loves it!  He literally grabs the spoon to shove it in!  I am amazed how 2 oz of food can cover us both and the high chair, but I am learning smaller bites and wait for him to open his mouth intentionally.  Hands in the way usually mean he is done.  Also, the faster you can recycle the food on his face for another bite, the better! :)  It's amazing how quickly you forget what you did with the first baby!  And, this might shock you all, but I have only made baby food one week. That's it!  It really is simple and I didn't want to make more than I could use.  I was still feeling it out.  During that week I made carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, and then later I froze some canned pumpkin.

First I thought about what I wanted to introduce and what order.  It may have evolved a bit, but here is what we ended up doing so far-rice cereal, avocado, peas, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, yogurt, banana, applesauce. I buy the rice cereal.  Then, I started with avocado before my "supplies" arrived via Amaz.on because I just needed the food mill I purchased from Tar.get. Then I went with frozen organic peas and green beans from my local Hy.Vee (though they do have frozen organic green beans at Cos.tco, along with broccoli) and organic fresh carrots (which are super cheap at Sa.m's club).  The pumpkin is organic and canned and easy to find at Tar.get (they also have sweet potato and squash).  I used real sweet potatoes from Sa.m's but they were not organic.  The yogurt is yo b.aby (Hy.Vee or Targe.t) and I bought m.otts indiv sugar free applesauc.e.  I mushed up a ripe banana with my food mill.  These last three came into play earlier than expected due to a nasty brush of diarrhea that lasted way too long (4-5 days) and I was trying to get a handle on it.  Check ingredients on any canned or packaged products to make sure there is only one ingredient.  My next items will be organic squash (canned from Tar.get), and egg yolk, maybe organic broccoli (cost.co), spinach (Sa.m's club sells a huge thing of organic for cheap), organic asparagus, and Eart.h's best whole grain oatmeal.  I have to do some more research though on if these are appropriate.  AJ is 7 1/2 months and has been eating foods since 6 months with no problems.  Thankfully, he loves everything but avacado, and I have been meaning to introduce that again now that he is a little older and his tastes have developed more.  This site talks a lot about what is healthy when.  I really need to get on the meats, but they "scare" me :)  Here is another site on what order to introduce foods, which is always something that I overthink...

Basically, I just steamed the veggies and then added a little of their own water (except for carrots so far-see this link regarding nitrates) before pureeing in my kitche.n aid blender.  I didn't know how much water to add and this was a source of concern (can you tell I never deviate from recipes, lol!), but since it was his first foods, but it worked out fine.  You can always add more water to thin after you defrost the cubes, but I wanted to at least add some prior to put some of the vitamins back in.  I also read yogurt or rice cereal or bananas to thicken, so you can play with the texture as your baby gets older, but keep in mind their little digestive system is young so read up on what is appropriate when.  For example, I wanted to start whole grains when I read rice cereal is compared to won.der white bread (see this link), lol, but it was recommended to wait until 7 months as they are harder on the gut.

I use the silicone trays to freeze the baby food.  I bought 6 with the 1 oz size cubes so I could cook in bulk.  It seems more than the average person would need.  Its amazing how few cubes from a few sweet potatoes.  I believe three doesn't fill one tray.  When I use the canned pumpkin, etc, I freeze the rest of the can so it doesn't go to waste and that works well.  I like 1 oz portions because they are the most flexible.  My baby only ate 1 oz in the beginning.  Now we do 2 oz, but 2 different foods.  For more on portions, check out this link.  I love styleberry's blog, but I don't agree that baby's need any fruit juice!

First I put it in the trays and then I put it in the fridge for a few hours.  I put in the freezer only after it gets cold.  I don't cover the trays, but I worry about that because I have seen ice crystals form.  From the trays it goes into ziploc bags and into my garage freezer.  I am getting some freezer burn and I wonder if it was user error on the ziploc bags.  I am curious if folks cover their ice trays or if they have trouble with freezer burn.  It started fairly early in the process. It is very easy to remove the 1 oz cube trays, but I must say that I don't think they are necessary. 

Also, with my "first foods" there really is no need for any cookbooks and there are plenty of websites with recipes, so this really doesn't have to be something you invest a lot of money into.  Here are a few how to sites to get you started:

And a few recipe sites:

Eating on the go hasn't been an issue for us.  A banana or avacado (or mango I am told) and the food mill are all you need-instant to go foods.  I do have some plum organics baby food and the spoon that screws on.  And because I have an unhealthy addiction to gadgets, I did purchase these two items-the boon spoon and the zoli on the go.  I haven't used the spoon yet, but Am.azon goofed and sent me six!!!  Email me if you want one and/or the plum organics spoons-I bought too many of those not realizing.  I love the zoli on the go and use it for rice cereal or formula and baby food.  I am thinking it will come in handy more with things like meat sticks, crackers, and finger foods as baby gets bigger.  Also, my best purchase since my baby goes to childcare two days a week are these on the go cups-freezer and microwave safe, I just make put some pureed food in there and freeze it and then it goes to daycare in the container.  Here is a good link on gear-I personnally have always loved the bibs she mentions.  Basically I would buy a food mill, any trays to freeze if you don't have them, something to puree and steam the food if you don't already have it, baby food spoons (i read your finger should be the first spoon and that makes sense but I wouldn't do that for long), bibs like JJ Cole or Bumbkin, and freezer bags to store.  If you want, you can add some cookbooks or other feeding on the go gadgets (boon spoon, one step ahead cups, zoli on the go), but they aren't necessary.  It really is cheap, easy, and fun!!!!

I hope this post is helpful and makes it less overwhelming, not more, for those just starting out.  And I am curious about your experiences and how to eliminate the freezer burn.  I have read cover the ice trays, and also don't cover them. ????  Does anyone have better luck with the freezer bags?  Its probably just user error in my case, lol!


Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

Great links! Why does meat "scare" you? I just cook a whole chicken every once in a while adn throw a mixture of white and dark in the grinder then freeze it with some broth. Same with roast beef, salmon and, yes, liver! This gives me plenty of meat to chose from and rotate through on a daily basis.

Lisa said...

As for the sweet potatoes, you can add A LOT of water-- 3 should definitely fill a tray and more! I made almost all of the baby food for both kids, and it was SOOOO easy, especially if I did it when I was already making food for us as a big family. Ex: If I'm going to make green beans for dinner, I'd double the amount that I'd be steaming. I'd separate the dinner green beans from the baby food green beans, season the adult ones, then puree the baby food ones with some water, poor it into ice cube trays, cover with Saran wrap overnight, then dump the cubes in a freezer bag the next morning, and label it. If I was already baking sweet potatoes that night, too, I'd just double those, rinse the blender after making the green bean puree, and add the potatoes to more trays. If every night for a week you cook different things that way, you can build up a great stock pile!

And I LOVE Plum Organics food and the spoon-- I even sent some to Lauren at Magnify the Lord!

Lisa said...

One more thing: my favorite baby food book is Super Baby Food. http://www.amazon.com/Super-Baby-Food-Ruth-Yaron/dp/0965260313

I even use the steaming times to steam all of my veggies. And the recipe for rice cereal is great-- so easy and it last perfectly for a few days.

Angela said...

Just picked up a kidco food mill...is the grinder part in yours plastic or metal? got mine off ebay and it is plastic...wondering how well it will grind up stuff?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why meat scares me, I guess its just how to get it the consistency that is easy to digest, though I haven't tried. I like the idea of saran wrap on my trays-duh! As far as the food mill, mine is actually munchkin. It does the job with metal but seems super cheapie. A friend has the kidco so when I saw that link first, I decided to include that instead of the munchkin, so I actually don't know the answer to your question. Sorry! Keep sharing your experiences-love it! -WBR

Anonymous said...

p.s since you aren't really grinding, but more mushing (at least thats the case with us for the foods I am told to use it with), I think plastic will be just fine.-WBR

Anonymous said...

Girl give that kid some butter and celtic salt in that food! :)

seriously, I'm not sure I would feed hannah if I went through all of this! You have so many more brain cells then I do! Be very thankful, very thankful! ;)

I store her stuff in a glass jar with a lid and its fine...


Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

I use seran wrap on my trays, too, then store in freezer bags. No problem with freezer burn here.

I agree with Sew on the butter and celtic salt. I held off on grass-fed butter at first, but could see undigested food in her diaper. When I added the fat, it truly helped her digest it thoroughly. It was amazing adn I'm a true believer in butter now! :)

I have a munchkin grinder, too, though have hardly ever used it. I use the blender and my meat grinder attachment for my kitchenaide, which I already had. THe munchkin is impossible for meat. IMPOSSIBLE. I'm sure I'll use it more when seh can eat table food and I can just grind up (mush up) whatever we're eating.

Anonymous said...

okay, ladies, I am fine with butter but I need to know how much and what kind. Do you add it to all veggies? Remember, I am literal, lol, so be specific :) Lauren, I would never use the food mill for meat, just fruits and soft foods like avocado that he can eat now. -WBR

Tridentine Wife said...

I used the "Super Baby Food" cookbook for tips on when to introduce certain fruits and veggies. and if you're not ready for meat introduction yet, try to find other foods high in iron and protein like egg yolks, legumes and other beans. Tofu is also high in protein but I haven't tried that. I stuck with beans and eggs. Fish is also really easy to mush up as well.

The twins didn't start eating meat until after their first birthday and it's still not in their daily diet. We only offer it to them every once in awhile.

Per your advice, I am going to request a food mill for Christmas when P starts solids.

Tridentine Wife said...

P.S. My kids didn't like avocado until 8 months or so. I mixed it up in plain whole milk yogurt and they love the stuff. I just mashed it with a fork and do the same thing with bananas.

Brenda said...

You and I are both experimenting at teh same time! Nelson is 6 months old and we've made so far: sweet potatoes, prunes, mangos, and pears. Meat scares me too and seems kind of gross:) But I saw what Lauren wrote and I may attempt in a few months. I can't get Nelson to eat anything green. He gags and his whole body shakes! I tried an organic store bought blend of pears, peas, and spinach and he loved that. Hoping to experiement with the amounts on my own soon.

Love the wholesome baby food site. It's been my go to so far but will check out the other links. I cannot believe I didn't do thsi with Maggie 4 years ago. But I barely knew the word "organic" and had never heard of making your own baby food:) I love doing it. Thought I'd hate it and it would be a chore, but it's kind of fun!

Dr. F said...

Forgive me if I put my foot in my mouth as I only recently discovered your blog and have not yet caught up on all of it.

I thought your readers might want to consider that there has been some research to suggest that putting a child on cereal before one year of age puts them at risk of diabetes.

Some years ago, one of my staff told me her newborn slept well through the night. When I asked how this was accomplished, she explained that she did what her own mother had done. She added cereal to her daughters bottle. Those doctors did not know anything she said.

At age 5 her daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Insulin is now a way of life for her, same as her Mother. Genetic? Maybe. Or maybe you really should not give a baby cereal until after 12 months of age. After all, there is nothing natural about cereal anymore than it is 'natural' to have to drink another animals milk to grow strong bones.

While not proof, I have learned in my 24 yrs practicing as an Eye Doctor not to ignore coincidences like these. After all, how often does anyone run across generational information this good unless you already know to look for it?