Friday, April 11, 2014

The Baby Food Band Wagon

It seems nearly everyone is making their own pureed baby food these days.  There are gadgets and expensive appliances galore to assist you in accomplishing this task.  It has, no doubt become the "it" thing to do.  But, let's just remember: this is something that moms have been doing for years, and without all of the expensive equipment.

When I was a baby, my (self-proclaimed, slightly hippie) mom cooked anything and everything for dinner for my father and herself, added some of it to her blender, and viola - dinner for me!  She did not try one food at a time for 3 days to see if there was a reaction, she just fed me the whole meal.  Granted, food allergies nowadays make this type of introduction to food somewhat more difficult; however, I have basically utilized her method of baby food preparation and serving. (NOTE: How you introduce is entirely up to you. With my second child, I was much less nervous. Sarah stuck with the three day rule at least through the Stage 1 Purees).

Its really quite simple, and bonus, CHEAP.

Pureed Baby Food:
1. Chop, steam or cook desired food(s) for pureed food. (yes, you can combine foods in the cooking process. eg. peas and carrots)
2. Add said food(s) to food processor. (I had a large 12-cup model which was perfect. However, you can use a blender or even a hand-held mixer)
3. Add approximately 1/2 cup to 1 cup liquid, depending on food and desired consistency. Liquid choices: water, cooking water from steamed veggies, pumped breast milk, formula)
4. Puree or mix foods to desired consistency (Note: when first feeding baby solids, you want food as smooth as possible.  Then, as they become more accustomed to it, you can leave some chunks in it for a little more texture)
5. Add pureed food to containers for freezing. (i.e. ice cube trays, pureed baby food storage containers)
6. Freeze and defrost when ready to consume!
AK: 0  Beets: 1

See, it's really that easy!  I typically would aim to make about 2-4 weeks worth of food at a time consisting of 5-10 different combinations of food.  And this would last me anywhere from a few weeks to the entire month depending how much food my baby consumed at that particular time.

Babies usually do not eat pureed foods for too long, so really why invest in all of the expensive stuff?  My second baby, EM, only ate pureed foods for about 3 months before she was over it and wanted the REAL thing. 

Now, for what to make.  Obviously at first, simple, one-item purees are best as your baby gets used to chewing, swallowing, and different tastes.  Then, two to three-item combinations can be introduced to incorporate more than a vegetable or a fruit, and include a grain or protein.  The below recommendations both myself and Sarah had a lot of success with for all three of our children.  Just remember- this is by no means an exhaustive list, so be creative!

Stage 1 Purees:
Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato/Yams
Green Beans

Stage 2 Purees:
Black Beans/Sweet Potato or Pumpkin
Ground Turkey/Spinach/Carrot or Sweet Potato
Ground Turkey/Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash
Whole Wheat Pasta/Parmesan Cheese/Organic Marinara Sauce (A favorite of AK's!)
Soup (if it has chunks in it, just puree it up a bit)

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