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Posts Tagged ‘Baby food’

I’m sure you’ve heard tons of horror stories about what happens when babies start eating “real” food. Everything from, “And you thought you knew what stinky diapers were like!” to “You’re going to love cleaning up food spatter from your ceiling.”, to “My kid refused everything but applesauce for the first two years!” It’s enough to make you want to hire someone just to feed the kid!

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Little did I know that those things were mostly true… but mostly fun. (Go ahead and Google “messy baby”.) You learn to laugh at the nasty diapers, carrot-stained walls, and crazy faces you never knew your little angel could make.

Thankfully, my kiddo had no trouble accepting solids. I’ve heard stories of children who refused to eat food at first, but A was reaching for my food by the time he could get his fingers to clamp on command.

I didn’t start offering him baby food until he was six months old. There are some people who are against the whole solids thing until about a year. But I felt he needed a little something extra than milk (he’s a big boy!), and our pediatrician encouraged it so we dove right in!

I won’t go into details about what little ones can and cannot eat, since I really don’t know a lot about it. What I can tell you is that there are a lot of websites out there that do have lists available that suggest age-appropriate purees and what to avoid (like nuts). Here is just one example. I did my research, and made sure I wasn’t doing anything ill-advised, but I didn’t get all paranoid about it either. I let him sample some of my tilapia when he was about 7 months old and he loved it! (Now, before you get all upset – I made triple-sure there were no bones and watched to make sure he didn’t have a negative reaction to it!)

This was my take on it:
In general (meaning there are a very few exceptions), fruits and veggies are fine as long as they are prepared in a way that your baby can eat them without choking. Our pediatrician told us to stay away from honey and nuts until one year, and after that, everything was fair game. If you ever have any concerns or questions, just give your pedriatician a call and ask! Sadly, no two pediatricians will have the exact same opinion on everything, so keep that in mind!

Start out slow, and introduce one thing at a time. Three days between each new food is the rule of thumb, and that is because if your baby happens to have a reaction to something, its much easier to pinpoint the culprit if you know he/she just tried a new food that day. This also gives your kiddo a chance to get used to the taste. Remember, your little tyke has never had anything but milk or formula so far, so this food business is pretty strange stuff!

Oh, and even though your baby can down a 6-oz (or larger) bottle of milk, that doesn’t mean they will eat 6oz of food! Not at all! Try for two or three tiny spoonfulls at first. Chances are, they will push most of it back out with their tongue for the first couple of weeks! But don’t worry, that is compeltely natural. God gave babies that natural reflex as a defense against choking – its a good thing!

You may think you’ve seen your baby make funny faces, but it’s likely that you will witness a whole slew of brand-new facial exrpessions when you start offering different foods. I remember when I first gave A peaches – Oh. My. Goodness. It was the funniest show ever! I’ve never seen him shudder or get his face so squished up since then! (I may or may not have continued to feed him just for the laughs. Go ahead and say it – I’m a horrible human being!) The thing is, just because they’re making faces doesn’t really mean they don’t like it. Turns out, A loves peaches, but it just took him a couple of tries for him to get used to the flavor.

Most importantly, you have to learn to roll with it! Go with the flow! Have fun and laugh! If your lovlingly prepared baby food ends up smeared all over your kiddo’s face, dribbled on bibs, and puddled on the floor, or if your docile little angel suddenly scowls at you and shivvers when the spoon touches his/her tongue… welcome to the land of spoon-feeding! And congratulations, because you and your delightful bundle of wiggles are completely and totally NORMAL!

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I don’t know where you live, but here in Florida we are getting drenched! It’s been several years since we’ve had such consistent rain. I have a kiddo who likes to be outside, and we don’t have a yard, so it’s a challenge! The nice thing is that the rains keep the temperatures down.

Well, as I have mentioned before, I work full time. So, when I started on the baby food train, I immediately set out to come up with a streamlined process and method for storing it. After all, what would be the point of making it if I couldn’t manage it? In my last post I gave you a run-down of my method for making the food, so I figured it would only make sense to follow up with an explanation of how I stored it all.

I tried several different options, trying to figure out what worked the best for me. In the end, I used three different methods for storing it.

I ususally made large batches of food on the weekends, saved a couple of meals worth in the fridge, and froze the rest to prevent spoiling. I know some mommies who make their baby’s food fresh each day, and others who use a food mill and simply give their baby whatever the rest of the family was eating. I don't think there is any one best way to do this – you just have to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Here are the three storage methods I used:

Ice cube trays and freezer bags: Once the baby food was made, I kept a few meals worth in the fridge, and the rest I poured into ice cube trays. I didn’t measure it out – I just poured it into the little pockets and made them as even as I could. Once they were frozen solid, I stored them in ziplock freezer bags. Obviously, I didn’t bother with trying to make them pretty!

frozen baby food

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One tip here – always label your bags! I know it seems like you’d have no trouble telling them apart, but I promise you, once you have squash and sweet potato side by side, it can be really hard to tell! The same goes for those peas and green beans. They are different shades, but after a while, in your sleep-deprived state, you’ll get them all confused.

Storage containers:
I found these at BabiesRUs, and they really are nice becasue they have a rubber seal, which makes them virtually spill-proof. They also come with a little tray, which is nice, but not always convenient.

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They were a little bit expensive, but they are a nice option. I have two sizes – the tiny 2-oz containers (pictured), and the larger 4-oz onces. They were nice for sending to daycare or when we stayed at someone else’s home and I wanted to take already made frozen food. I packed them in a an insulated bag and even though they thawed a little on longer road trips, they never spilled. I did use these for freezing food, but in general I used them more as take-along containers.

Pouches:
You know those handy little pouches of fruit you can buy for about $1 each? I love those things, but they are a little pricey. So, when I discovered the Infantino Squeeze Station, I was intrigued. This little treasure allowed me to make my own, which opened up the variety and also made it a little cheaper in the long run. I didn’t use these until A was a little older (almost a year), but ended up loving them. I try to keep a few of these pouches in the freezer at all times so I have a ready-to-go, healthy snack for A when we’re out and about. They are especially nice for when we are in the car, as it eliminates the need for a spoon. And let’s face it – that’s a big deal! I’ve put all kinds of stuff in these little pouches, including yogurt.

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I have the squeeze station tool that makes them super easy to fill,

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but I’ve read that the puree can be poured in with a regular thin-spouted funnel. Personally, I never tried it that way and it sounds like a messy chore, but it might be worth a shot? I’ve found the whole kit and kaboodle at BabiesRUs, and Amazon. (You’re probably thinking those are the only two places I shop!) Extra pouches can be ordered online, and I’ve seen them in a couple of stores.
The biggest drawback to these is that they are not re-usable, so if you consider yourself “green” at all, you’ll want to look into something else. There are some different ones out there that are reusable, (click here and here for some examples). To be completely honest, I’m just too lazy busy, to bother washing them out!

Like I said, these are just the options I used and liked. You might find another method that works better for you. But until you figure it out, hopefully this will help to get you started.

Hope you all have a wonderful July 4th tomorrow! We’ve having a cookout – yum!!

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Hard? No.
Time consuming? A little.
Worth it? In my opinion, absolutely!

I made 95% of A’s baby food. At first I wondered if it would be complicated. I saw so many mommy blogs that had “recipes” for baby food which had multiple ingredients. They made it sound more complicated than it really is!

I never followed a single recipe. I didn’t do anything fancy either, and if you have access to some kind of blender (in some cases, a potato masher or a fork will work just fine), and a container to store the puree in, you’re ready to go! Seriously.

I always started with fresh fruit or veggies. Frozen will work, too, but I never did it that way. We have a farmer’s market close by, so that was my cheapest option.

I washed everything well, and peeled, chopped, de-seeded, trimmed stems, or whatever needed to be done.

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Next I decided how to cook my choice of produce. Since it was all going to be pureed, I usually stuck to boiling or steaming. Although I prefer baking butternut squash… don’t know why! I normally cut or dice the produce into bite size pieces so it cooks quicker than popping things in whole.

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Once the produce was thoroughly cooked and soft (could easily be squished with my fingers), I let it cool. I tried to blend it up once while it was still pretty hot, and that was a disaster! Don’t do it! (Just in case you’re curious, the heat/steam builds up like crazy in the blender, and ends up exploding all over when you remove the lid!) So, as I said, let it cool until pretty close to room temperature, and then blend with the same water you boiled the produce in. This way you don’t “water down” any of the flavor, and supposedly you don’t lose all the nutrients that are lost while boiling. You’d have to research how all that works if you want to know. I’m no nutritionist!

At first you’ll want to make it pretty soupy. Little babies just starting on solids can’t really handle anything that is much thicker than a creamy potato soup. 🙂 As your child gets older you can add less water, and leave more lumps if your child likes it that way. My kiddo has always liked his stuff completely smooth – no lumps! So, even when I started making it thicker, I always blended it really well.

Peas were never a success when I tried to puree them. For some reason they always seemed gritty. Maybe I just never cooked them long enough to be thoroughly mushy? If you have an answer for this, please let me know! I did have good success with the following:

Apples (boiled or steamed)
Pears (boiled or steamed)
Peaches (boiled or steamed)

(Generally I boiled the veggies – seemed to cook faster that way.)
Green beans
Sweet potatos
“Regular” potatos
Carrots
Summer squash
Butternut squash
Zucchini

A loved all of these… green beans were the most problematic, but I would just mix it up with something else that he did like, and he was happy.

I never pureed meat for A. He isn’t a fan of meat, and the thought of blending it up was revolting, so I didn’t! I also avoided pureeing legumes, because he had gas all the time! I figured I would try to help him out by not making the problem worse. 🙂

At the beginning, there is no need to make large batches since they eat so little. But once they start eating more, you can make multiple large batches at once, and freeze it. I got into the habit of making some every weekend while I cleaned the house, and I never felt like it was taking up a lot of time.

If you’re on the fence about making your own baby food, I definitely recommend at least giving it a try. It might be surprised how easy it is, and I promise you that your wallet will thank you! Not to mention it tastes so much better than the jarred kind.

P.S. I did keep a jar or two of store-bought puree in the pantry as back-up just in case, but I stuck to just the fruit ones because the others are so gross that my little guy refused to eat them!

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