I am one of those crazy people who made their own baby food. Yes, one of those. You know the kind. I pull out my baby food mill at restaurants and grind up steamed carrots (ordered with no seasoning, no butter please!) while my friends look on with an incredulous look that says, “we knew you were weird, Kristi, but this…?”
Why did I do this? (For two babies so far!) Obviously every new mom is a little fanatical when it comes to health and safety. We dutifully pick up every single thing that falls on the floor and sanitize it. We carefully boil or sterilize everything that will enter our child’s mouth. I was no different, and the thought of feeding my baby unrecognizable vegetable-based substances that are who-knows-how-old from a jar that has been who-knows-where did not sit well with me.
These thoughts were confirmed the first time that I tasted jarred baby food – wow! That stuff is bad! I was used to tasting my daughter’s homemade purees, and I was shocked when the jarred butternut squash tasted more like dirt than anything resembling a fresh vegetable. She obviously agreed, because she wanting nothing to do with that orange muck coming toward her mouth!
So, I chose to make my own for health reasons and taste. That, and let’s face it – we are extremely cheap. Those little jars of baby food seem cheap when you’re standing in the grocery isle, but when your baby starts eating 3-4+ jars a day, suddenly that really adds up fast! For example, you could buy a 5lb bag of carrots for $2.99 and end up with 36 servings of baby food- if you buy carrots in the cute little plastic containers it would cost you $18.00 for that much! Yikes!
So, here’s what to do: (it’s very complicated, so take notes! LOL!)
Get some vegetables or fruit
Cook them until they’re soft
Puree them in a blender or food processor
Freeze them in ice cube trays
Pop them into labeled plastic freezer bags
Presto! Tricky, isn’t it?
Most people seem to feel more comfortable with the little jars and containers for some reason. I am frequently asked how you know what to feed them. My suggestion? Go to the grocery store and look at the “level one” foods. What are they? Buy them. Cook them. Repeat the steps above. You can even buy one jar to check the consistency if it makes you feel more comfortable. Trust me, Gerber does not have some magic formula for carrots. They use: carrots!
If you want a book that spells out what to do when and gives you some more specific ideas and pictures of the purees, I love First Meals by Annabel Karmel. I also like www.wholesomebabyfood.com.
Another great benefit to making your own baby food is the ease of transition to other foods – once they are ready for ‘chunkier’ foods, just do a quick, coarse puree and freeze them in ice cube trays (or I have found that silicone muffin cups work great once they start eating larger servings). Once they’re ready for finger foods, just chop them into chunks and freeze them. As they get older, start grinding/ mashing up whatever you’re eating for dinner, and they automatically learn to eat what the rest of the family eats. I usually will pull a portion out before I add salt, etc.
You can do this! Your baby will thank you (well, maybe not. But you’ll feel good about it!) and so will your wallet!
Kristi is a full time wife and mommy. When she is not trying to thwart her 1 year old’s efforts to engage in a variety of dangerous and destructive activities or learning about butterfly metamorphosis with her 3 year old, she is drinking coffee. When she is not doing any of the above, you will find her blogging about motherhood, womanhood, homekeeping, and knowing God through His Word at http://runwatchplaywait.blogspot.com.