Homemade Baby Food: it’s easier than you think!

by Shannon on April 27, 2011

It’s hard to believe that we’re already transitioning to solid foods, but we are. Trinity is six months now and has been on solids for about a month. While the current consensus says it’s best to wait until 6 months to start solids, Trinity was eager for them at about 4 months. We waited as long as possible before finally going for it at the 5 month mark.

Many moms find it difficult to determine when their baby is ready for solid foods. There are obvious signs that we noticed with Trinity. First, she was able to sit up and hold her head up. Second, she actively reached for our food and even got a bit frustrated and angry that we wouldn’t give it to her. Finally, she was an early crawler and all that activity definitely increased her caloric demand.

Trinity with Butternut Squash

There’s varying opinions about what makes the best first baby food. Some experts say to start with a fortified rice cereal while others say fruits such as bananas or apples are great. Some recommend starting with vegetables first so that babies don’t get use to the fruits being so sweet that they don’t want veggies. I found that one a bit shocking since breastmilk is actually very sweet so I couldn’t imagine them turning down veggies because of a first introduction to fruit.

I decided to start with banana since that is what I had on hand. I mashed up a very ripe banana, put a little bit on my finger and waved my finger in front of Trinity. She reached out, grabbed my hand and stuffed my finger into her mouth. That was the ultimate sign that she was ready for solids. She ate the entire serving of banana I had prepared (about 2 tbsps).

Banana, as it turns out, was NOT the best first food for my girl. She had terrible indigestion that night and was up most of the night. Finally, I got her to sleep with me holding her in a sitting position on our couch…NOT the most comfortable for either of us. The next day she had a terrible red rash on her bum that signalled a sensitivity.

So, I switched to butternut squash. Butternut squash is incredibly easy to make. You simple cut it in half length wise, scoop out the seeds, place it in a baking pan with about a 1/4 inch of water in the pan, cover with foil and back at 350 degrees for about an hour or until soft. Then scoop into your blender and process to a puree. Trinity LOVED the butternut squash.

I read that you should introduce a new food after 3 to 4 days, giving yourself enough time to assess if there is any sensitivity. That’s the plan we’ve been on and have introduced sweet potato (LOVES), peas (LOVES), green beans (LOVES), pears (LIKES), apples (not so good, indigestion), carrots (LOVES), Earth’s Best Organic Rice Cereal, avocado (LOVES), prunes (LOVES), Happy Bellies organic oatmeal with DHA and probiotics (LOVES) and more.

I decided early on that I wanted to make my own baby food and to keep it as organic as possible. It’s actually been easier than I expected. I took a look at the baby food makers on the market and decided that they were completely unnecessary. Unless you want another appliance, you’ll find your current kitchen appliances will work just fine. Plus, once you’re done making baby food/puree, you won’t have any other use for the baby food maker. I use a rice cooker for steaming and a blender for processing. I’ve also used a small Cuisinart chopper/grinder. Here are some of the easy ways I cook up the baby food.

Carrots: using the steaming basket on my rice cooker, I steam a bag of Organic Baby Carrots. Once they are mushy, I simple dump into my Vitamix blender and blend until smooth.

Greenbeans: Costco sells a 5 pound back of Organic Frozen String Beans. I use the steamer on the rice cooker and then puree in the Vitamix blender. If the skins are still apparent, simple use a mesh wire strainer and a spatula. Smooth the green bean puree through the strainer to remove the skins.

Sweet Potato: Bake sweet potatoes in their jackets. Wash, cut off the ends and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 40 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes and how firm you want them to be). Bake the potatoes on a baking sheet; the sugars in the potatoes can drip out and burn on the floor of your oven. Once cooled, scoop out the insides of the potato into your blender and blend until smooth.

Peas: Grab a bag of frozen organic peas. Steam in the rice cooker basket and then puree. If the skins are still apparent, simple use a mesh wire strainer and a spatula. Smooth the green bean puree through the strainer to remove the skins.

Pears: Take 3 – 4 organice pears. Peal and remove the core. Slice and put into the steamer basket of a pot or a rice cooker. Steam until soft. Dump into a blender and puree until smooth.

There are some items that I buy because they are complicated to make and the Organic items are excellent. These include Earth’s Best Organic Rice Cereal, Happy Bellies Organic Oatmeal and Organic Prunes.

I also learned a great feeding tip from my babysitter Rosie. The first few times I fed Trinity there was food everywhere! All over her, all over me and all over the highchair. Trinity just wanted to grab the spoon and the bowl. Rosie told me to give Trinity her own spoon to play with and that did the trick. We give her a really cool, fun spoon to play with and she stopped grabbing the one I’m feeding her with. Also, highly recommend the Graco Blossom highchair…it ROCKS!

I love making Trinity’s foods and watching her expressions as she tries new items. Tonight I’m making pears with blueberries and spinach. We’ll see how it goes :)

A great resource for baby food making is http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com


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