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Are you interested in making your own baby food? Parents have many different reasons for why they might choose homemade over store bought, and either is fine! After having gone both routes, though, I truly feel that homemade baby food can be easier than store bought and I truly think that the makers of packaged baby food don’t want us to know this! If you haven’t read my post on why I think it’s easier, you can read it here. If you’re ready to find out HOW to make homemade baby food quickly and fit it into your crazy mom schedule then read on…
Here are my tips and method:
1. The first time you make baby food, make an extra-large batch.
This is to get you started so you always have a variety and backup for those extra-busy weeks. An extra-large batch, could consist of 3 or 5 vegetables and/or fruits. If your little one is just starting out and you’re doing just one or two foods a week, then maybe just prep 3 or 4 foods. You’ll be amazed by how many servings you can get out of a single butternut squash – you really don’t need to buy that much to get your large batch started.
2. Each week, add 1 or 2 more vegetables or fruits to your stash.
This doesn’t need to be a new ingredient that baby hasn’t had before but can be if you want. You should use this to replenish an ingredient you have run out of. The key is to make a small batch of baby food with one or two ingredients each week so that you never run out. Since your first batch was extra big, though, you can definitely miss the occasional week and still be fine!
3. Roast or Steam your foods.
Never boil your ingredients or you will lose nutrients. Since you’re probably pressed for time, putting one or two ingredients in the oven to roast them, and one or two on the stove top to steam works out great! You’ll be able to work with multiple ingredients at the same time and get done that much faster!
I love roasting vegetables AND fruits though as it seems to taste so much better than steamed… so I often opted to just roast.
Just a heads up… if you roast them, you might need to hide the food from others in your house. I found my older son breaking into the food as I was making it a few times!
4. Puree them in a blender or food processor.
You don’t need any special equipment to make baby food – even for “stage one”. Just pop the pieces of cooked/softened food in a blender or food processor and puree until you get the desired consistency. At first you’ll want it to be somewhat watery and will want to add some water to it. As you baby gets older and used to eating “solids” you can puree it less and less. Towards the end, you’ll be able to mash food with a fork after cooking it.
Just play around with it and add water, formula, or breastmilk into the blender with the fruits or vegetables until you get the consistency you’re looking for based on your baby’s age.
5. Don’t mix ingredients.
You’ll do this later when you make your own custom baby food combinations! By not doing it until right before you feed your baby, you won’t end up with an entire batch that you baby doesn’t like and you won’t limit yourself!
This one is key… Don’t add any spices to your fruits or vegetables, and don’t mix any of the fruits and/or vegetables together when you are making them!
6. Freeze the purees you make in freezer trays.
This was a huge time saver for me. You can freeze your baby food in just about any freezer tray, but I absolutely love these (also shown in the picture). They are inexpensive and make small roughly one ounce portions of baby food. Plus since they come with a lid, you can get a few and easily stack them in your freezer. I used two of them plus some other freezer trays I had. Sometimes I’d leave the baby food in the trays until I needed to get a cube, but other times, I’d freeze them and then pop all the cubes out and put them in labeled freezer bags. Either way, these trays were absolutely amazing and really made freezing baby food in a practically already full freezer easy. I also put dry erase labels on the tray lids so that I could mark what was in the trays in case I decided to leave the food in there until I needed them. These are the same dry erase labels I mention in my post about labeling bottles for daycare, so you can just reuse those if you bought them.
7. Mix and Match!
If you followed #4, all your frozen cubes of baby food should only contain one ingredient. That means that when you’re ready to combine foods, you can make just about any combination you like, and you can easily adapt based on what your baby likes. So for example, if you made an entire batch of say Apple and Banana but then found out that your little one doesn’t like it – what would you do? This way, you could take one cube of apple, and one cube of banana and try that. If your little one doesn’t like it, make a note, and don’t do that combination again (or at least for a little while). You’ll have so much less waste this way!
8. Get some reusable containers.
You will ocassionally need to take baby food with you out or need to send some in to daycare. You can use little plastic Rubbermaid containers, but my favorites are these little glass jars! I would pick out the frozen baby food cubes I wanted to send my son in with, pop them in the little jars, and then send them into daycare. The daycare teachers would then warm the baby food up slightly.
Sometimes I’d also sprinkle some baby cereal into the jars and they’d mix it in. As my baby got older and preferred chunkier texture, I’d add mashed food into the thinner puree to make it more like your typical “stage 3” food.
Do you EVER need store bought baby food?
The one time I would use store bought baby food is if I knew I’d have to feed my little one outside and I wouldn’t have anywhere to heat it up.
Why is heating it up so important? Well… Since the baby food is usually frozen or refrigerated (it needs to be), it’s likely to be cold when you’re ready to use it. I don’t know about you – but I don’t love cold green beans!
This is only a factor for the first few weeks though. Eventually you could bring a soft banana or avocado and a fork and be able to mash it with a fork.
It’s just helpful (and gave me peace of mind) to have a pouch or two of shelf stable baby food just in case. More often than not, soft “mashable” food was usually available, or my little one would just eat the thawed food that was brought to room temperature.
So to recap….
- Steam or roast a few different fruits or vegetables individually
- Puree them in whatever blender or food processor you have on hand with water, breastmilk, or formula
- Freeze each pureed ingredient individually in freezer trays
- Mix and match the ingredients and warm up just before feeding
- Buy a couple puree pouches to leave in your diaper bag just in case when you’re out
I hope you give this a try! I found that I was able to feed my little one mostly organic foods that ultimately cost less and it was so much easier than I would have thought! What do you think? Will you be trying it out?