Monday, May 8, 2017

Make Your Own Baby Food!

I NEVER thought I would be THAT mom who made her kid's baby food.  But then the time came for Marlowe to eat solids and I happened to have a sweet potato in the house so I thought I'd give making it a shot. I found so much enjoyment out of knowing EXACTLY what I was feeding her and making the puree myself.  And then somehow, I was blending every kind of baby food imaginable for Marlowe to try! There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying baby food.  I have a whole cabinet full of pouches and Gerber baby food that I supplement when I think she needs to try something new and for when we are going out during her mealtime.  However, making it yourself is more cost effective and will save you a lot of money in the long run.  Also, it tastes SO MUCH BETTER when it's homemade.  I've compared my own homemade pears-apples-peaches etc. to the store bought brands, and the difference in taste is shocking. Seriously shocking.

Anyways, when I first started her on solids I found myself asking a TON of questions.  What are good first foods? How to make your own baby food?  How do I store the food?  What is the difference between stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3?  What is baby-led weaning?  How often do I feed her solids? Etc. etc. etc...The list went on and on. Being a mom is sometimes soooo overwelming.

So I'm sharing some yummy first foods and combinations that Marlowe loves, and maybe your baby will love to!  You'll know your baby is ready for solids when they are able to sit up without support, and are showing interest in what you are eating.  For Marlowe, we started her on oatmeal and rice cereal at 4 months, at 5 months we started solids once a day and cereal once a day, and at 6 months we moved to solids twice-per-day.  At 8 months, we moved to solids 3 times per day.  There is no "right" way to feed your baby, and you have to do what YOU think is best for them.  I'm just sharing what worked for us!

Stage 1 // 5-7 months
This stage is all about introducing foods one at a time.  Give your baby the same food for 4 days straight when first introducing it to be sure there is no food allergy before introducing the next one!  Here's a list of some stage 1 foods that are worth a try!  Marlowe loved all the orange foods (sweet potatos and carrots) and HATED the green foods...of course ha. She ended up having an allergy to banana that I'm hoping she grows out of!

Yellow Squash
Acorn Squash
Sweet Potato
Green Beans

Stage 2 // 7-9 months
This stage includes combining foods, 2 or 3 at a time.  You can also add some spices to your mixtures! Here are some popular mixtures and combos that Marlowe loves.  The best way to get ideas for combos is to go to the baby food section in the store and see what some of the combos are that are pre-made, then try them at home yourself!

Carrot and Apple (Marlowe's Favorite)
Sweet Potato and Apple
Apple and Pear
Pear and Butternut Squash
Blueberry Apple
Blueberry Pear
Peas and Carrots
Mixed Veggie-Peas, Carrots, Potatoes
Peas and Potatoes
Pumpkin, Apple, Cinnamon
Banana Avocado
Banana Blueberry
Oatmeal with Apple
Oatmeal with Blueberry

Now for the fun part! Making the food! You just need a food processor, and either ice cube trays or baby food storage trays that you can buy on Amazon here.  There's all kinds of fancy baby food makers out there too, but I just use our plain old food processor or even a blender.

I like to make the food in bulk and not think about it for a couple of weeks before making more! You can bake, boil, steam, or microwave most of the fruits and veggies (except for bananas and avocados which you can mash and give without cooking!).  Just make sure you cook everything until it is super soft.  Once the fruit/veggie is done cooking, dump it into your food processor with a little water and blend!  Add water as necessary to make sure the baby food is super smooth without chunks (for stage 1 especially!)  If you are just introducing solids, you can use formula or breast milk to help your baby get used to the new taste! Once everything is blended, I get out my silicone baby food storage tray and dump the puree into each section, put the lid on and freeze!  Once frozen, I take each cube out of the tray and put in a labeled ziplock freezer bag and back into the freezer it goes!  When Marlowe is ready to eat, I take one out and microwave until warm and then serve.

I'd love to hear what combos you've tried or other first foods you'd add to this list!

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Emily Noble | Copyright 2017