Homemade Baby Food (It’s easier than you think!)

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The final product looks YUMMY, right? And, yes, that's my toddler's hand on the food processor. She loves to push {my} buttons!
The final product looks YUMMY, right? Yes, that’s my toddler’s hand on the food processor. She loves to push {my} buttons!

Before we had Baby #1, I figured the only moms who gave their kiddos homemade baby food were super crunchy, super healthy, and super awesome. Those things don’t describe me. But you know what does describe me? Super cheap. And homemade baby food is definitely the super cheap way to feed your baby during those few short months between milk and table food.

I’m not a baby food expert, but we may have done something right the first time because our toddler is a fantastic eater. The other day, she helped me make green bean puree (she likes to push the buttons on the food processor). After the beans were cooked, the tot ate a bowlful of beans by herself. She then ate a bowl of frozen, uncooked lima beans! Tilapia, broccoli, cauliflower  beans, grapefruit (no sweetener), mango, papaya, hummus, pumpkin, peas, tomatoes–these things are also normal. 

Now that Baby #2 has reached the six month mark (yes, we wait until six months), I’m trying desperately to repeat our success.

I’ve found that the very best resource on homemade baby food is wholesomebabyfood.com. Before you bust out the food processor, check out that site. It has timelines for what to introduce when, easy recipes, and advice that simplifies the whole experience.

The food-making process goes like this:

  1. Select your food (fruit, veggies, meat, fresh, frozen)
  2. Cook (We like to use our rice cooker/steamer. Some foods–avocados, bananas, ripe pears are soft enough that they don’t need to be cooked! I told you this would be easy!)
  3. Puree
  4. Serve
  5. Store

For our purees, we use a this little mini food processor that we’ve had for almost eight years (yep, it was a wedding gift). Ours is boring white, but it comes in almost every color imaginable. I think the orange would feel snazzy, and the bright purple would add a hint of whimsy. Sadly, neither color would fit in my kitchen.

With Baby #1, we put the purees in regular ice-cube containers to freeze and then transferred them to zip top bags (Ziploc brand bags are BPA free).

For Baby #2, I decided I wanted a lid for my freezer trays, so I bought these.


I make a large-ish quantity, use a little bit while it’s still fresh, and freeze the rest to defrost and use later.

For info on food safety as it applies to baby food, check out this link.

So far, our baby has had sweet potatoes, avocado, pumpkin, and green beans. I figure that it’s easy to love the sweet taste of fruits, so why not start with the potentially less-palatable veggies?

Like with store-bought baby food:

  • Don’t give up if your baby appears not to like the flavor right away. We try over and over and over and over. 
  • If your baby turns her head away, she may be full.
  • And if you stop feeding her and she cries or pounds on the high chair, your baby girl may still be hungry. (Clearly, i speak from experience.)

In the beginning, I mix in breast milk. It helps to thin it out and might make the flavor more palatable. We may do some baby-led weaning this time too, and skip some purees. But, even if we don’t, we’ll probably only do purees until about nine months. At that point, we’ll just mash up the veggies with a fork or let her eat soft table food.

Any questions? Have you made/will you make your own baby food?

 

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5 thoughts on “Homemade Baby Food (It’s easier than you think!)

  1. With our little ones due date quickly approaching (though seems forever away!) I have been doing some reading on homemade baby food (b/c we will have a tight budget) and on baby led weaning. I have several friends who early on began supplementing breast milk with formula to keep baby full longer, which makes me wonder if its worth truly going solely on baby led weaning or should I do homemade foods to begin the process and just be conscious of the signs she gives on wanting more vs. being full and not “force feeding” her which is what the purpose of baby led weaning is all about in that she controls how much.

    1. Tricky questions! It sounds like it may be two different issues. Supplementing with formula: that’s a “pre-solids” issue, right? For that, I figure that (when breastfeeding goes well), our bodies will keep up with our babies’ demands (so they don’t NEED supplemented formula). Does that mean they sleep as long as their formula-fed peers? Probably not. (And that can be exhausting.) But we SHOULD be able to provide them (young babies) with all of the nutrition/milk/food they need. Once formula is introduced, breast milk production can decrease and your supply can taper (in theory, at least).

      As for baby-led weaning vs homemade purees….I’m honestly interested in baby-led weaning (which is kind of a misnomer. It’s “weaning” in the European sense…which means “introducing solids” not “weaning” from breast milk.) because it sounds easier! No pureeing means a little less work for Mama! :) I think that Z could pick up and chew on soft carrots, sweet potato chunks, bananas right now (7 months). But….that sounds messy. 😉 I will let her make that mess all she wants in summer when she can eat naked and then go straight to the tub! Ha! For what it’s worth, we started giving her solids (purees) at lunchtime, and her after-lunch nap has improved. For a few weeks, she was waking up hungry, nursing, and going right back to sleep for an hour or so more. Had she been less than six months, I would have just stuck with giving her milk. But since she was six months and a few days, I figured that was as good as time as any to introduce “solid” food.

      Thoughts?

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