When I was pregnant with my first child, my sisters threw me a baby shower. Thinking back, I realize how very little I knew about newborns (or motherhood in general for that matter). One of the games we played at the shower was “guess the baby food?”. I could not guess a single one of the baby foods! They all tasted bland and gross and they looked like dull, colorless pastes. It was a funny game but I decided right then and there that a better option must be available when it was time to feed my baby solids. Sometimes the best options are found in the past…like before there was jarred baby food, people made it themselves. I dove into learning about making baby food before my baby was even born and can honestly say I have spent much of my time in the last five years devoted to it. Whether feeding my own two sprouts, teaching classes to other parents (and grandparents) or creating recipes, it is a big part of my life. I will admit, jarred (and now pouched) baby food has come a long way in the last five years- yet making your own still has so many benefits and is easier than you think. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “hey, that was easier than I thought”! The truth is, as parents we are all short on time and energy and making baby food takes some of both. I found the best method is to make a few weeks (or a months) worth on a Sunday afternoon and freeze them in ice cube trays or single serving containers. Pop out a few cubes the night before and let them defrost in the refrigerator and you’re set for each day. I always find it quite rewarding (for my time and energy) watching my little one’s gobble up the food I made for them.
Some of my favorite reasons to make homemade baby food include:
- You know exactly what is in them and how it was made.
- You can provide a variety of blends and textures tailored to your child.
- You can add breast milk.
- You do not need to heat the food to the temperature that most large-batch jarred food is heated at (for safety) , this retains more of the nutrients.
- You can save money.
In recent years, BLW (Baby Led Weaning) has become popular in which parents do not puree food and give the baby whole foods (fruit and vegetables mainly) to suck, bite, chew, taste. There is much more to it but that’s the summed up version. Whatever method(s) you choose, one thing I always stress to parents is every child is different. What might be a right way for one child, isn’t always going to be the right way for another. Frustrating I know… but true. My oldest daughter loved purees and took a long time to take to finger foods where as my youngest quickly outgrew purees and wanted finger foods she could feed herself. I found myself putting her purees in yogurt and on bread, which she loved. My goal since starting my website has always been to inspire and encourage others to make food for their families. I know it isn’t always feasible and we are all pressed for time but if you are considering trying your hand at homemade baby food I urge you to. If you would like to learn more, I have a hands-on interactive baby food making class coming up at Whole Foods Market on November 17th. It will be available for online registration next week.
Here are two of my favorite baby food recipes that were loved by both my kiddos (click on them to enlarge), If you are looking for more baby food recipes check out my recipe index: