Homemade Baby Food

This is a solicitation for advice. Just so you know.

A couple of weeks back Anja started eating baby cereal. A little later we started her on strained organic fruits (funny how they come in a container containing BPA…). Now I’d like to start making my own baby cereal and foods. A good friend gave me a book called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. While I am excited to use it, it’s yet another tome to add to the building pile of “must-reads.” So, a two-fold question for those of you who have already been through this:

1) What foods did you start your babies off on (just so I can do a few recipes now and then go back and read the book)?

2) Have any of you made your own baby foods? Did you find it to be worth the work?

Disclaimer: The rest of the post is just some blather, so feel free to skip it and just answer my questions. πŸ™‚

I consider myself to be a pretty environmentally-friendly person, and even though global warming has been overly hyped by the media, I have long been a proponent of reduce/reuse/recycle. There reaches a point when I draw limits, however. For instance, when faced with the choice between disposable diapers and cloth, my “green” self wanted to go the natural route. Then I considered the sheer amount of time spent scrubbing poop (or all the “dollars saved” from not purchasing disposables going straight to a diaper service), and disposables won out. It hurts my heart that those buggers will never biodegrade, but I figure Jesus will come back before He’ll let the planet become completely overrun with diapers…

A second example is making my own baby wipes. The same friend who gave me the baby food book makes her own wipes. God love her, but I don’t have the patience (or the coffee cans) required. For the time it would save me in the long run, it’s not worth the $2 a month it would save me. With coupons, I spend probably $4/month on Anja’s wipes, tops, and you have to use paper towels to make homemade wipes, which cost more than wipes.

So, you have learned this about me today: that I value time more than frugality in some instances. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. One can become a slave to money in more than one way. You can have lots of it and love it and always be wanting more, or you can be so penny-pinching that all of your thoughts and time are focused around saving money. Either way, it becomes a god. Lord, give me daily grace to steer clear of either extreme.

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 5:16 ESV

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24 ESV

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7 thoughts on “Homemade Baby Food

  1. Oh, gee, I don’t remember the baby food stuff. All I recall is trying one thing for a week at a time to rule out allergies. I did not do the homemade route. I felt the store-bought stuff was good enough. There are very good organic brand baby foods out there that might be worth trying. Either way… I don’t think you can go wrong.

    My best wipes recommendation is plain ol’ paper towels – especially if they have a diaper rash. Just a little bit of water and those paper towels are miracle workers in the removal of poop. Plus, they don’t have any chemicals in them to irritate an already burning bum. If you get the “select a size” style, then you can really cut down on the amount you need/use.

    I never even gave reusable diapers a second thought. Never. Ever.

    Just my $.02.

  2. My first (of five) kid ate anything I gave her. I took a box of frozen spinach, and thawed it of course, threw it in the food processor with wheat germ, and she ate it! Yuck!

    I cooked frozen vegetables, ran them through the food processor, and froze them in ice cube trays. Then I just stored the cubes in a ziploc. That was really easy.

    Then I had four more kids and switched to Gerber!

  3. I’m with Maria – my first ate homemade everything. I was a good mom, a great mom. A mom that cared about my child’s health and digestion. Now I have three boys under five and my youngest is lucky if he can scrape a fry off the floor at McDonalds. I’m just sayin’.

    Really though, I think the organic stuff in the jar is great. That’s what my second two have eaten and it doesn’t taste ANY different from the stuff I made.

    Bottom line, you’re the mamma – you know what’s best for your baby. Good luck!

  4. Hey, don’t feel guilty for not going with cloth diapers or making your own wipes or baby food or whatever (the list is endless). There is only so much one mom can do. And really, whether a baby is fed jar or homemade baby food, diapered with disposables or gets a cloth-padded bum, these things are not going to have that much bearing on quality of life. So do what you want to do, and don’t worry about the rest. You love your daughter, you take care of her. All is well. πŸ™‚

    To answer your questions about baby food… my first got jar food. He was never a fan of food in liquid form, and moved through the stages pretty quick to table food–but I’m not convinced this was because Gerber’s fault. (Maybe it was a boy thing.) With my second, I made really basic purees to go with her cereal until she was eating so much at each sitting that it was no longer cost or time effective. By then, she was able to eat regular applesauce and chunky stuff anyway, so I just stopped making it and bought jar food until she was on table food.

    I only own one baby food making book, and it is really crappy, but did find some good baby food making books at the library. I think most recommended starting with vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes and carrots–“sweeter” vegetables than broccoli (for example), without being as sweet as apples, peaches, and other fruits. I guess some babies love those fruits then won’t touch the veggies. I gave my daughter apples first, and she still gobbled down the veggies, so I don’t know.

    Prep time for making the purees was not a killer. I usually just made several big batches at once, then froze them in ice cube trays, and was good to go for a couple of weeks. Not sure that we saved GOBS of money–I mean, fresh fruit isn’t really all that inexpensive either. But it was fresh. And she did love it. Then again, she’s kind of a little foodie in general.

    Not sure any of that was helpful, but good luck whatever you decide! πŸ™‚

  5. None of my kids ever did jar baby food, unless we were traveling and food safety was an issues. (Yeah, that’s right, I married a restaurant manager who is a total Food Nazi. I can give a ten-minute lecture on botulism. He has made me afraid of my own kitchen. But I digress …) Not because I was uber health-conscious or Wonder Mom; we were just pretty poor trying to pay off debt, and it’s soooo much cheaper to do it yourself.

    With Sam, my oldest, I would just make baby food once a month, and freeze it in very thin Ziplocks. I never did like the ice cube tray thing. No idea why, I just have issues, I guess. πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’d steam up like 5 pounds of carrots, stick them in my food processor, cool the mix on a big flat surface like a cookie sheet (it cools much faster, so less chance for contamination … thanks, husband!), and then put about 1 cup in each plastic bag. Smooth em out, stack them, and stick them under running water for about 2 minutes to thaw ’em out. This works with most foods. Not potatoes. I never could get potatoes to work in the freezer. Still can’t.

    Once he hit about 10 or 11 months, I would put 3 or 4 fruits (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, mango, peaches, nectarines, anything soft, and different each day) into my little food processor, add a few spoons of cooked oatmeal, which we still have almost every morning, and pulse it three or four times.

    With Evie, #2, I did very little freezing past when she was about 12 months old. I just started over-cooking (or cooking to a softer consistency, it sounds better, lol) whatever we were eating and smashed it with a fork in a little bowl.

    Poor David, #3, and heaven help any kids I have after this. David never even got baby food. I started him on avocados (I love them! You don’t even have to peel or mash it, just grab a spoon, scoop a little out, and stick it in the baby’s mouth!) and bananas (ditto the love!) and just gave him whatever we were eating, minus the meat. None of my kids had any substantial meat until they were about 14 months. Again, I don’t know why. Issues. Oh, and applesauce. Unsweetened, with cinnamon, right out of the jar. It’s the perfect restaurant/travel food if you get those little individual servings.

    Oh, and baby cereal. Never really did that, either. I figure that there’s really no nutritional value to rice cereal that isn’t added to the cereal, so why do it? I just added extra water to oatmeal to make it extra-soft, and would smash it with a fork. All my kids seemed to like it.

    I’ve found that when you wait a little bit longer to start solids, like 6-8 months (drives me crazy when people say that you’ll mess your kids up if you don’t start them on solids at 4 months!), a few things happen: the kids take to it better. You don’t have to cook everything to the point of mush, and when you can do your own baby food, they develop a taste for real foods. Also, give that gal of yours a spoon or baby fork as soon as she can hold it. Let her get used to the feel of it in her hand. At 14 months old, David was sitting in his booster at the table, eating better than my 4-year old does sometimes. πŸ™‚ I’m kidding. No, I’m not. She’s really messy.

    Also, another tip, because apparently, I feel like I know everything today. Don’t hold back on the seasoning with your baby!! I mean, yes, control the salt and sugar, especially at first, and don’t let her drink the salsa, but don’t be afraid to give her something because you think it might be too spicy. We’ve pretty much fed our kids exactly what we’ve eaten, and all three of them love spicy TexMex to one extent or another. It’s a very freeing thing to have kids that aren’t horrible about food. I know, because my brothers and I were those uber-picky eaters.

    Re: cloth vs. disposable diapers … I’ve gone both ways. I see both sides of the argument. We do cloth now when we’re at home, and disposable when we’re out, but we don’t use a diaper service, because I’m very, very cheap. Very cheap. You have no idea how deep my cheapness runs. But I buy the most generic diapers I can find (and oddly enough, like them the best of all the ones I’ve used), so it’s not like I’m saving enough money to buy myself a new house anytime soon.

    And I shouldn’t have coffee so late in the day. My fingers can’t shut up!! Sorry for hijacking your post. πŸ™‚

    ~Brea

  6. I contemplated cloth diapers, but it didn’t take long before I realized that route wasn’t for us…as for homemade baby food. When Annika was first eating fruits and veggies I thought I’d be super mom and make my own baby food. That lasted all of one week. TOO MUCH WORK! You can get wonderful, yummy organic baby foods in the grocery stores these days, and they aren’t overly expensive either. I never went out of my way to make specialty food for Annika…if Rusty and I were eating squash, I’d feed Annika the squash. If Rusty and I were eating yams, I’d feed Annika the yam. You get the idea…good luck with this.

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