*This is an older post I’ve updated on 10/5/2018
I’ve posted on Instagram about how I make my own baby food and lots of people have inquired about what I do and I finally got around to snapping some pictures last week! Here’s a quick video on how I make my baby food and everything is outlined below and shared on IGTV! Sorry about the wonky format, next time I’ll film one in horizontal for YouTube, too!
I want to preface this by saying I understand that not all families have the time or resources to make their own baby food, and there’s nothing wrong with that – its a personal choice and I’ve always known that it was something I wanted to do for my girls.
For us, making the girl’s food couldn’t be easier – it’s also so much more affordable than buying the pouches or jars of food at the store if you’re going the organic route like we are. Now that Flora’s 9 months we are starting to introduce a lot more and move away from the purees onto more chunky, solid food but today I’m just going to share what we’ve been doing the past 3 months! There are a few tools we have on hand that I rely on to make this process so much easier, at this point I’m making her food about twice a month and freezing individual portions. Each time I make food it takes about 3 hours, but I’ll be working, cleaning etc. during that time!
Here are the tools we use:
Beaba Babycook: We got this for Christmas and it was the best gift for us because I’m so busy working full time, having my own business, Austin being in grad school & working…. that we need quick & EASY. This makes it easy. Some argue it’s not worth the cost – you could steam food on the stovetop and then use a regular blender to puree but for me – this is so much better. You steam and blend all in the same device and it’s small and easy to clean. It has a timer so I just prep the food, plop it in the basket, push the button and can go take care of other things. I can’t recommend this enough if you’re planning to make your own baby food!
Ice Cube Trays or Baby Food Trays: I started with regular ice cube trays and will say it was fine — I liked the size of the traditional cubes especially when just starting food with Piper. I’d cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. Getting the individual cubes out of a regular plastic tray is a little more difficult — so I tried the silicone trays that came with lids specifically designed for baby food. We have 2 sets of these NUK ones and combined with the old fashion trays we have plenty of options to work with. We also have these Beaba ones we got for Flora that are larger!
Ziplock Freezer Bags: After the food cubes are totally frozen I pop them into labeled plastic baggies with the date and ingredients.
Large Tupperware: I put the baggies of food into a large tupperware in the freezer to contain them and help prevent freezer burn. **Flora goes through her cubes so quickly that I just keep them in the freezer in freezer bags (no tupperware)
And now onto our process! Always check with your pediatrician before giving your baby solids – we started solids with Piper & Flora at 6 months and introduced fruits and vegetables first based on our doctor’s recommendation. We started with simple 1-ingredient purees (mixed with water or breast milk) waiting 3-4 days between introducing new food to be sure they weren’t allergic (given both of their allergies I’ve been really cautious about this and have a big list of *safe* foods on the fridge that we’ve tried). Then I started having fun with different combos and more complex blends made with vegetable broth like risotto & split pea soup.
Some of the first foods we started are listed below.
Baby’s First Purees
Sweet Potato, Carrot, Green Bean, Zucchini, Peas, White Potato, Beet, Pear, Banana, Apple, Avocado
Baby’s First Blends
Sweet Potato & Carrot
Carrot & Beet
Green Beans & Peas
White Potato & Beet Swirl
Mango & Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato & Red Pepper
Apple & Broccoli
More Complex Blends (Piper likes now at 9 months)
Avocado Mousse: Avocado, banana, spinach and breast milk
Green Smoothie: Spinach, mango, banana, pear
Quinoa With Sweet Potato
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Beet & Strawberry — mixed with Oatmeal or Quinoa
Apple, Broccoli & Chicken
Sweet Potato & Beef
Broccoli, White Potato, Olive Oil
Cauliflower, Apple, Chicken, Sweet Potato
Zucchini, Pea, Apple
Like I said I do this 2x a month so I prep ALL my fruits and veggies on my cutting board and lay them all out so it’s easy to make my different blends. To make the purees, I simply wash, peel, chop the food and placed into my Beaba Babycook — then added the proper amount of water, hit the button and go on with my day. 20-30 minutes later the food is ready –flip it over and dump it into the blender and use a little of the reserved water or add breastmilk/formula and puree until smooth. I make the cubes with 1-3 ingredients only so I can blend them as I wish later and add cooked meats as well. You can also use a steamer basket on your stovetop to steam the food! I spend 2-3 hours twice a month making all of her food at once for the most part– I’ll make fresh food here and there like quinoa or ripe pear or avocado for example. Piper has oatmeal every other morning which I usually mix with fresh fruit or shredded apple that I’ve simmered on the stovetop with water until soft. (I’ll make a batch of this that will last 2-3 days). On the days she doesn’t eat oatmeal I try to give her smashed avocado and some other fruit.
To serve – I try to remember to leave out the cubes in the fridge several hours before meal time — but a lot of the time I end up heating up the cubes in a glass bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and then letting it come back to room temperature, stirring to ensure there are no “hot spots”.
My mom gave me this cookbook and I can’t recommend it enough! Piper loves the split pea soup & spring vegetable risotto and I can’t wait to try more recipes .I also use the recipe for homemade vegetable broth in this cookbook as a base for other recipes.
A few reminders when making your own baby food!
- Never heat up your food in plastic!
- Fresh baby food should be stored in the fridge and eaten within 2-3 days
- Always wait 3-5 days before introducing a new food to your baby, watching for a food allergy (rash, hives, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Consult with your pediatrician before introducing any solid foods, spices or fat!
- Don’t force it! If your baby doesn’t like something, offer her something else and try again later. Piper didn’t like most foods the first taste! I’ve read it can take up to 15 tries before a baby may like a certain flavor — don’t give up! Come back to those foods or combos she doesn’t like at first.
- Use small bowls to serve your baby, once she’s used a spoon on her mouth and you’ve put it in the bowl of food, you can’t re-save it. For this reason, I portion small amounts to start with so I don’t waste food – You can always add more to her bowl!
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Images by Anna Reynal