Disclaimer: I’m not a Doctor or Dietitian. I don’t even play one on TV. Please consult with a Medical Professional before embarking on the wild world of baby food!
As a self-proclaimed “kinda crunchy” mom and cheapskate, I always knew that I would do two things regarding nutrition for my kiddos-breastfeed and make my own baby food.
I have been exceedingly lucky to have had no struggles with breastfeeding. Hallelujah!
But eventually, every baby needs to start having actual food!
So, what’s the plan??
For me, my personal anxiety would not allow a foray into the world of “baby lead weaning.” I’m sure it’s fine and I know that some moms swear by it, but I can’t get past the choking worries.
For me, it was a journey into the world of purees.
Save yourself money and time. Do not go out and buy the baby food “makers” or the equipment that is specifically for baby food. It’s unnecessary and extra stuff out on your counter.
I know that we’re all fighting that battle.
Here are the things that you ACTUALLY need:
Steamer Basket for the stove or Instant Pot
Almost every fruit and veggie will need to be steamed to make it soft enough to puree. Steaming is the preferred method versus boiling as it keeps more of the nutrients in place. Things like a banana, of course, don’t need to be steamed as they are already soft enough to mash.
Regular old blender
You really don’t need the “baby food mill.” It’s just a blender by another name. Your normal blender that you use for margarita time is just fine.
Ice Cube Tray
There are also special “baby food storing trays” for the freezer, but you don’t need that either! An ice cube tray works just the same.
Each cube holds about an ounce of whatever you are storing in it. I freeze my purees in the tray, pop them out and store in by fave silicone bags from Stasher. Then, when I’m ready, I grab 1-2 cubes and let them defrost in a jar.
Glass Baby Food Jars
There is so much waste generated every day in our country, that any little bit helps. I have a set of glass baby food jars that can be used over and over. I prefer glass because they can be microwaved without worry as to what is being leached into the food.
This is a great time to get well acquainted with The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen. The Clean 15 refers to a list of 15 fruits and veggies that are typically okay to buy conventionally and the Dirty Dozen refers to a list of fruits and veggies that we should be buying organically as they have a higher likelihood of being grown with pesticides and other yucky stuff. In order to save money, I try to use these lists to direct when I buy organic and when I don’t. Check out the video below for more info!
Also, note that frozen organic vegetables and fruits can often be even cheaper than fresh and can keep for much longer. These are an awesome option for fruits and veggies that the rest of your house may not be eating.
After your baby has crossed the 8-month mark, it can be safe to add a little “lagniappe” to the baby food. As we are careful with the addition of new foods, we would use the 3-5 day rule with seasonings. Check out this article from Momtastic Wholesome BabyFood on adding a little something extra to the baby-food! Introducing new and interesting flavors can help to develop a more mature palate later (though we all know that they’ll be eating goldfish off the minivan floor.)
It used to be held as a universal truth that certain foods should be introduced before others (veggies before fruits). However, that is no longer necessarily true. A good rule of thumb is to start out with single-ingredient foods for 3-5 days, just in case of allergies. And know that if a baby doesn’t take to a certain food like say, peas….keep at it! Some say that you need to try a food over 20 times before preference can be shown!
Check out this article on The Bump for a nice organized list of what to try when if you are like me and like things spelled out for you!
If you have a family history of food allergies, be extra vigilant, and work with your pediatrician on when to start things like eggs, cow’s milk, honey, peanuts, and other common allergens.
For us, my big ole baby is gobbling up everything I put in front of him. Nourishing my child not only with breast milk but with food that I make for him from scratch, has been one of the most fun things about motherhood.
And, it’s cheap and easy! In just a few minutes 2-3 times a week, I can make a month’s worth of purees. Try it! You’ll surprise yourself with just how easy-peasy it is!