Homemade Baby Food: Tips and Tricks

I decided a while ago that I wanted to at least attempt to make baby food for my baby, Henrik. I am a fairly decent cook when I try, but it is more of a chore than something I enjoy doing, so I wasn’t sure how much I would like it.  Over the holidays I had some time off from work, so I made a trip to the Co-op to stock up on organic fruits and vegetables. The next day, my mom came over to help me, and five hours later, we had a freezer full of baby food.

And you know what? I learned that while cooking for my husband and I is a chore (seriously, hiring a cook as soon as we win the lottery), I really enjoy cooking for my baby. Since I am still breast feeding him (pumping and giving him a bottle), for the past 15-ish months, I have sustained him and provided the substance he needed to grow, both while he was in my belly and after. I didn’t realize how much that meant to me until now. It gives me a sense of pride that I’ve never felt before to not only continue to provide breast milk for him, as well as nutritious, whole “people” food.

I also liked that it forced me to try new things. For instance, I have never cooked or steamed a squash before, I have never steamed my vegetables without one of those Ziploc steam bags, and I’ve never used a food processor before. Vegetables are not my strong suit (see my post on eating your veggies during pregnancy), and I am using this experience to force myself to try new things so that eating vegetables comes naturally for my son.

There are a million different blog posts on how to make your own baby food, but here’s an outline of what I did and what I’ll do differently next time:

Choose your fruits/veggies

I was completely baffled by this. Can six-month-olds have broccoli? What about spinach? I asked Henrik’s doctor, and she said a good rule of thumb was to look at the stage-one foods offered in the baby food aisle of the grocery store. Those are the types to start with.

babyfood

Stock up on organic fruits/veggies 

Like I said, I made a trip to the Co-op in Coralville and loaded up my cart with sweet potatoes, squash, peas (frozen), green beans, carrots, bananas, avocados, apples, and pears.

Get a food processor 

I have never owned or operated a food processor before, but I’ve wanted one for some time and used this as an excuse to buy one. So far, I’m loving it and can’t wait to use it for other things besides baby food.

Buy a steam basket

Again, never owned or operated one of these before, but now that I have one, I’m using it all the time. I think I am actually going to buy another one to help everything go a little faster next time.

Stock up on ice cube trays

We have an automatic ice maker, so we haven’t used ice cube trays in a long time. I had four leftover from when we lived in a rental while our house was being built, but bought eight more. This is probably too many. For all the food I made, we ended up filling ten trays. One tip here – don’t buy cheap ice cube trays. Get the ones that cost $3-$4/each – the cubes pop out MUCH easier!

Block an afternoon

I had no clue how long this was going to take, so I blocked an entire afternoon. I am sure glad I did, because it ended up taking about five hours.

Line up child care

My mom came over to help me, but she ended up entertaining Henrik the whole time, which was fine. It would have been nice to have an extra person in the kitchen and might have cut back on how long it took to cook everything.

Have an internet connection 

Like I said, I was clueless on how to steam and cook a few of the produce I chose. A quick Google search helped me to figure out how to cut, steam, and puree a few of my selections.


My son is now almost two months into the whole solid-food thing. While he mainly eats the homemade stuff, we have rotated in some store-bought baby foods as well. I’m excited to say, he really does prefer the stuff I’ve made, and I’m more than a little proud. Happy food making!


 

Katie is a mama of two rambunctious, sweet, cuddly and highly energetic boys. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she briefly left the area to attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, had a brief stint living in Chicago before settling down in Lisbon with her husband Bryan. Katie has been in the marketing field for over 10 years and is currently a marketing manager for an area health care organization. When she is not balancing life as a working mom, Katie enjoys binging on Netflix/Hulu, learning about all things boy and squeezing in a workout from time to time. Her current addictions include coffee, LaCroix, and cookies.

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