Posts Tagged ‘baby food’

Homemade Baby Food Purees

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

homemade baby food purees

When my older daughter started to eat solids, I decided I would make my own baby food purees. Making my own purees was less expensive than buying jarred baby food. She had a milk intolerance, and I read that cross contamination in baby foods was a common problem. In addition to saving money, I was happy that making my own purees allowed me to control what went into her food (and what stayed out).

Her first food was avocado.  I simply used a food processor to mash the avocado. Once the avocado was smooth, I mixed in pumped breast milk to thin it out to a very loose consistency.

After Lily ate avocado for a few days, I tried sweet potato, then butternut squash. To prepare the sweet potato, I boiled the sweet potato, then used the food processor to puree it. I used some of the cooking liquid to thin it to my desired consistency. With the butternut squash, I halved it, removed the seeds, then roasted it in a shallow pan with a little water until it was super soft. I then pureed it in the food processor, and thinned it with pumped breast milk.

I used my slow cooker to make apple sauce and pear sauce once I started Lily on fruits. I would peel, core, and chop 4 -6 of pears or apples, place them in the slow cooker, added a little water, and cooked on high for 2-3 hours. Once the apple or pears were super soft and basically falling apart, I would puree them in my food processor, again adding the cooking liquid or a little pumped breast milk to thin the puree out.

When making the purees, I made much more than Lily would eat at any one time. I used ice cube trays to freeze small portions of the purees. When I decided what I was going to try to feed Lily, I would pull out one ice cube tray portion, and carefully heat it in the microwave, adding more pumped breast milk as needed.

Although slightly more work than picking up a jar of baby food at the store, making my own purees did not require any special kitchen gadgets and did not require much cooking time or food prep. The peace of mind of making my own purees as well as the money saved more than made up for the convenience of the jarred food.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

Baby-led Feeding

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Baby-led feedingPerhaps your baby shows signs of being ready for table food. Maybe he or she hit that magic age where solids are to be introduced. Perhaps you find yourself strolling down the baby aisle at the store and considering all those pouches of puree that seem to be all the craze these days.

Baby-led feeding is generally referred to as baby-led weaning because the introduction of table food is the beginning of a longer process of transitioning baby to table foods full-time. Of course this process takes many months (or even years). Weaning, then, is not a loss so much as a transition in the relationship that occurs overtime.

Numerous resources already exist if you’re looking for more information about the process, if you and your child are ready to begin baby-led weaning, and ideas for recipes and general tips to make the messy transition as simple as possible.

KellyMom is a well-known resource on breastfeeding but they don’t leave you cold when it comes time to shift. KellyMom.com offers numerous articles written by those knowledgeable in the field about weaning. Specific situations for mothers who primarily pump are also included. The website continues beyond recognizing if your child is ready to also include information about timing the weaning process, ensuring you do not move too quickly or cut out other needs your child might not have as often with decreased breastfeeding (like cuddle time or other one-on-one attention).

If you are working through your own feelings on the subject know you aren’t alone! Le Leche offers insight into a variety of feelings and thoughts that moms might need to process as the consider or are in the midst of baby-led feeding. They also offer specialty articles such as weaning twins or anxiety associated with this transition.

When it comes to the food Wholesome Baby Food at Momtastic offers a number of recipes and weekly menu ideas to help get you started or out of the “bananas and avocado again” slump. The site also includes age-specific information for weaning. Of course if you prefer holding a book to read up on the subject, several primers exist on the subject.

Simple Bites is a mommy-driven website that incorporates baby-led weaning to the table with their general interest in including the whole family around unprocessed meals. Mama Natural also speaks with similar interest and authority found mostly in personal experience and research. Both sites offer numerous ideas and recipes to help introduce anyone to the concept of BLW.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Easy Homemade Purees

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

homemade baby foodIf you haven’t tried, making your own baby food purees is super easy and surprisingly quick. You don’t need to buy any special equipment, assuming you have a typically stocked kitchen. It’s a nutritious and inexpensive way to start your child on solids.

The easiest choices are banana and avocado, as all you need to do is mash up a bit of fresh fruit. Make sure they are ripe, and scoop out some avocado or slice of a chunk of banana into a bowl. Mash it smooth with a fork and voila, dinner is served (or breakfast or lunch or whatever).

Other fruits and vegetables require cooking before mashing. Generally speaking, steaming is my favorite option as it retains a lot of nutrients, and also keeps the texture moist and easy to puree. Veggies like squash, carrots, potatoes, and softer fruits like peaches can all be mashed with a fork by hand, if you don’t have a food processor or blender.

For more fibrous foods, like green beans, spinach, or apples, it’s best to use a food processor or blender after steaming. When blending, you will need a blending liquid. Expressed breast milk or formula are good options (if you exclusively breastfeed but don’t have a freezer stash, this can be a good way to use up the sample formula cans that formula companies send). If your child fights constipation, you can use a little bit of prune juice as the liquid.

Meat can be a little tougher to process. Again, steaming is a good way to go (baking works too though). Rough chop and put in your processor along with with your chosen liquid. Keep in mind, when processing, that a smoother texture is usually better tolerated, so check the texture and when in doubt, blend a little longer.

Feel free to make a batch at a time; you can freeze the purees in ice cube trays and store in ziploc bags in the freezer once frozen. I used to thaw out what I needed for the next day by putting frozen cubes in old glass baby food jars and then into the fridge the night before. You can also purchase jars specially designed for homemade baby food.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.

My Baby Isn’t Interested in Solids

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

My baby isn't interested in solidsThere are as many methods to transition a baby to solid foods as there are baby gurus out there. Cereal first, meat first, nuts, no nuts, baby-led weaning …

No matter the method though, a child cannot live forever on breastmilk or formula alone, and there will come a day when she has her first taste of food.

What if baby isn’t interested in solids? Many people say to have your baby sit with the family during mealtimes, and he will naturally become interested in solids seeing his family eating them, too. This is exactly how things went down with my two younger boys. My oldest, however, Mr. Stubborn, was a different story.

Come six months of age, my mom group friends’ babies were all starting to chow down. There didn’t seem to be a picky eater among them (though the Internet does have a way of glossing over things, doesn’t it?). Mr. Stubborn though, was not interested. In any of it. I packed up the baby spoons and tried again in a few weeks. Nope. By eight months old, he was still growing like a weed, but was still refusing everything but breastmilk. I was exhausted providing all of the calories for a 97 percenter in weight category.

Every reluctant eater will have a different food that will finally start to turn things around. For mine, it was rice husk crackers. I know, there’s not a ton going on there, nutrient-wise, but it was an enjoyable sensory experience for him, which started him finally getting more adventurous on other foods. So don’t give up. Take a break, and keep trying a variety of foods.

Finally, if you have any concerns, make sure to bring it up with your pediatrician. It’s possible that your child may need to see a feeding therapist, particularly if she isn’t growing at a rate your pediatrician and you are happy with.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.

 

 

Making Baby Food is Easier Than You Think!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Making Baby Food

The thought of making your own baby food may seem daunting and maybe even pointless since there are so many packaged baby food options on the market. If you’ve thought about it but feel like it might be too much work, I promise it’s not.

It is actually really easy! And it’s totally worth it. Just like eating fresh food is better for us as adults, fresh, homemade food beats a can or pouch any day of the week for kids, too!

You don’t need any fancy equipment or special “baby food makers.” Really the only things you need are a food processor, some ice cube trays and if you’re sending food to daycare some little glass containers to put the prepared baby food in.

First you have to decide if you feel more comfortable with baby led weaning, where babies gnaw on larger chunks of food, or if you want to stick with purees, or maybe do a combination of each. Purees tend to be the best option for daycares since so many don’t want the liability of possible choking.

My favorite guide to making baby foods are a cookbook by Tyler Florence called Start Fresh it begins with purees and works through toddler foods and all the way into family meals. I’ve probably made every recipe in the book and have not come across one the whole family didn’t love. One of my daughters’ favorite purees from the cookbook was a combination I would have never thought of on my own: carrot, mango and apple! Another great resource is the Wholesome Baby Food website which is jam-packed with helpful information.

As babies get older and they start eating more complex foods they can start eating the same things that you eat. Eventually you’ll need to puree less and less until you don’t even need to puree at all. While you are still pureeing though I suggest preparing everything in large batches! Then simply scoop the puree into the ice cube trays and freeze. Once they’re completely frozen you can remove the individual frozen cubes and transfer them into a large freezer safe bag and lay them flat to save space. That’s the bulk of the work!

If you’re getting food ready for daycare just take a few cubes out the night before. Put them into a small glass container in the fridge and let them thaw overnight. If you’re eating at home,
I recommend heating them on the stove top rather than the microwave. You can even add some breast milk to the sweet flavors or some bone broth to the savory flavors. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.