Parents complain all the time that baby food is so expensive and the question I need answered is, “Why do you buy it?” I have no sympathy for you when you are choosing to buy something you could make yourself.
Why do people buy baby food?
- No idea how to make it or what to put in it
- Lack of time
I hear you on the above reasons; however, unless you’re buying organic baby food, keep in mind that you could be serving your child preservatives, additives, BPAs, and pesticides.
Let’s tackle these one at a time…
Yes, grabbing a pouch or package from the pantry, or having a few handy in the diaper bag (or purse) are fab options for when you’re on a time crunch and you’re out of options. I’ll admit I’m likely to keep a few from Plum Organics or Happy Baby on hand, but it can be just as convenient to have your own pouches pre made.
- A food processor
- Squooshi reusable food pouches
- Mini glass tupperware containers
Remember that breastmilk has EVERYTHING baby needs for the first year of like. There’s ZERO need to supplement with solids if baby is feeding well. They’re also getting a great oral workout by nursing so there’s really no need to introduce “real” food unless your supply is dwindling or you’re just worn out from nursing.
What do I use to make it?
For new foodies, they need things super soupy. Add water or breastmilk to foods and puree the hell out of them until they’re soupy. Then, as babies graduate to firmer textures you can reduce the liquid added until you’ve got something similar to greek yogurt consistency, but still soft. Sooner than expected your baby will be eating soft solids without them needing to be pureed or softened at all.
What do I put in it?
Whatever you’re eating at home should suffice! If you’re a junk food junkie then obviously this doesn’t apply to you, but for those of us that eat a well balanced diet, you should have what you need on hand.
First: root vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pumpkin, beets, peas)
Second: Nonacidic fruits (pears, plums, bananas, avocado)
Third: Get creative! Apples, mangoes, prunes, grapes, berries, quinoa, oatmeal, barley, chia, hemp, egg yolks (hard boiled)
You can use water, goats milk, breastmilk, yogurt or almond milk as liquids to soften
Lack of time:
(I don’t buy this one at all! Multitask.)
While you’re cooking dinner for yourself or the family, toss a handful of peas, a spoonful of quinoa, and a few slices of avocado into the processor with whatever liquid you’re using. Or, even easier once they graduate past the beginner foods, throw some leftovers into the processor and store it seperately for lunch. Macaroni & cheese, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, etc can all be appropriate for your older baby once they’ve proven they’re not allergic to anything.
Introduce 1 new food every 3 days and keep a diary. If you see any reactions, cross that sucker off the list and alert your pediatrician. Once baby gets the “all clear” the sky is the limit.
Avoid these for the first year:
- Egg whites
- Cow’s milk
- too much salt or sugar
- Anything too spicy
- Peanut butter (until 1 year)
Many babies jump straight from breast to solids, skipping the spoon or pouch. They just might be more independent. These babies can feed themselves applesauce, yogurt, salmon roe, and tiny bites of berries, bananas, avocado, or quinoa. I like to sprinkle feta into quinoa to flavor it for new foodies.
The secret to making baby food is not to overcomplicate it! Realize that the sooner baby eats what you eat, the happier the whole family is, and the happier your wallet is!