Penny is 6 1/2 months old now, so I’ve been starting her on solid foods. I’ve made my own baby food for all of my girls. I’ve been a little lazy lately with Penny, so although she’s been on solids for 6 weeks, she only eats oatmeal, butternut squash, apples, peas, and avocado. I make my own baby food for a variety of reasons.
- I know what’s going into the food. It’s organic, it’s fresh, and contains no additives except water or breastmilk to thin it if needed.
- I can offer a wider variety of foods than I can find in the jars. I’ll make zucchini, spinach, parsnips, mango, watermelon, as well as the normal butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, and carrots. I even add cinnamon and nutmeg sometimes. It helps develop their palates so I have toddlers and preschoolers who eat a wide variety of foods and will try new things..
- I can vary the texture. Each batch I make has a slightly different texture naturally. But as the babies get older I can make the food chunkier. It helps them learn to chew and gets them used to different textures. Again, creating good eaters.
- The food is prepared healthfully. I steam or bake everything so it maintains as many nutrients as possible.
It’s really not hard. I don’t use a lot of equiptment, just a few items is all that is needed. I use a stainless steel colander and pot with a lid as a steamer, I have a food processor (actually, I have a big one and a mini one), but a blender would work just as easily, and cookie sheets for baking.
- Choose your ingredients. I use bananas, avocados, and mangoes raw, otherwise I steam or bake everything. I will boil frozen peas according to the package, and I boil white potatoes and mash them. When I tried baking them they didn’t mash well.
- Wash really well and remove seeds if needed. I have a produce brush to scrub the surfaces. Then peel if needed, like carrots and apples. I leave the skin on things I’m going to bake like butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Cut smallish to steam so it goes faster.
- Bake or steam. For my steamer I bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a pot, set a colander with the food inside over the boiling water, and place a lid over the colander. Just make sure to add water so it doesn’t boil off and ruin your pot. (I’ve done it once.) You also want the water level lower than the colander so the water doesn’t touch the food. Otherwise, you’re boiling it and the nutrients leech into the water and out of your food.
- Puree to the desired consistency. Be careful with hot food. I usually let it cool a little. Use boiled water if wanted to thin it. If you want to use breastmilk, you should add that right before feeding, especially if you microwave the food to warm it so all the good stuff isn’t destroyed.
- Store the extra. I put it into ice cube trays and freeze. The next day I pop the cubes out and store it in labeled freezer bags. If it won’t pop out, set the tray in hot water for a couple minutes and then pop it out. Don’t store raw foods like bananas or mangoes. Just make them fresh.
That’s it. Really simple and healthy. Now it’s time to stop procrastinating by blogging about it and go cook. Maybe I’ll just fold the laundry instead.
Do you make your own baby food? What do your babies like?