I used to think that parents who made all of their own baby food were superhuman and required no sleep. I always liked the idea of creating yummy purées from nutritious foods for my baby but how would I find the time? How would I store the food? Would he even like it? Luckily, since Landon didn't eat solids on a daily basis until the 6 month mark, we had some time to get our routine down and his sleep schedule on track. Regular nap times have given me a chance to experiment with a couple of simple and very easy recipes.
Since there are quite a few reasonably priced organic baby food options in stores and online these days, I don't make all of Landon's food but I do like to make a big batch of purées every couple of weeks. I pop a few pouches of homemade goodness in the fridge and a few more in the freezer. For the majority of the recipes designed for baby's first experience with solid food, there are really only one or two main ingredients. These fruits or veggies can be blended with a little water or milk to achieve the right consistency. I started Landon on a thinner food made with more liquid at first to ease the transition to solid eating. Once he got the hang of being fed with a spoon, I started making his food a little thicker. We decided to start off with veggies before trying fruit. We figured that if he is anything like his mom, he would get hooked on sweets and didn't want to risk him refusing healthy green vegetables after that. It turns out that his absolute favorite food by far is sweet potato so he is getting the best of both worlds. He has a pretty big appetite and rarely refuses any food but if I mix anything with his favorite staple, he is sure to eat it right up.
So...why even bother with the mess? (It's really not that messy...)
1. It's the healthiest choice! When it's homemade, you know exactly what is going into your baby's food. Many of the best organic packaged baby food options list water as the first ingredient. This does nothing but "bulk up" the product and reduce the nutrients. When you blend your own baby food at home, water is added for consistency but it certainly isn't the main ingredient.
2. You can make organic baby food for your little one at a fraction of the cost of store bought options. When you aren't paying for that cute, colorful packaging, the savings really add up.
3. Simple storage. Fresh food made at home can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours and frozen for up to 2 months.
4. There is nothing like the ego boost and sense of accomplishment from watching your baby happily eat up your homemade treats.
5. It's fun!
- Recipes: My close friend and college roomie is also an experienced mom of two. She gave me The Petit Appetit Cookbook which I love. For most first solids, it's just a matter of cooking a veggie and tossing it in the blender with some water or milk. As baby grows, you can get more creative by combining different ingredients.
- Storage: The two options I use are the Infantino Squeeze Station and pouches and the Mumi and Bubi Freezer Trays (no waste!) I highly recommend the squeeze station and it is a fun and simple way to put purées into pouches. We received this as a shower gift from a sweet coworker and it really does make food storage a snap!
- Travel Utensils: If you are out and about, these little guys are so convenient. Just screw the spoon onto your pouch and go!
- Bibs: Current fave
Whether you buy pouches or jars at the store or use your own pouches at home, recycling can really cut back on a lot of unnecessary waste. At the recommendation of my close friend and fellow blogger, I collect all of my pouches over the course of a couple weeks and send them to Terracycle. The shipping is free and each shipment earns you points that can then be donated to schools and charities!