Chef Mama Part 1–Making your Own Baby Food

I’m in no way claiming to be a pro at this, but here is what has worked for us, how we did it, and how Logan has responded.  I didn’t “plan” on making his baby food upon his birth; however, when it came time to start solids it just made the most sense for our family.  It’s much healthier (no preservatives or added coloring!), half the cost of prepared food, and super easy! 

We started Logan with cereal mixed with formula.  The first two times he spit it back at us (this is an instinctual reaction and completely normal).  The third time he downed it like a champ!  He ate nothing but cereal and formula for the first two weeks.  It may have been a little overkill, but we wanted to be sure that he had the hang of it before we moved forward.  There was nothing needed to start aside from a soft-tipped spoon.

Logan Tries Cereal with a Spoon:  6 months.

Once we decided to add other foods, we contemplated the fancy systems that are on the market right now for baby food making.  WE stuck with our steamer, a pot, and my smoothie blender that we already had in our kitchen.  We later received one of these systems as a gift.  It’s nice; however, it makes less food at one time and isn’t worth the money, in my opinion.  Making large quantities at once is beneficial for a working mom.  I can make baby food in bulk and stick it in the freezer for later.  I don’t have to make a new “batch” every 3 days with this method.  The nicest thing about my system is the serving containers that came with it.  There is nothing else tricky about the cooking process.  You cook the food down until very soft and blend away.  Thin to desired consistency.  That’s it!!!!

What you need:

  • Soft tipped spoon
  • Blender
  • Steamer basket
  • Pot
  • Masher
  • Freezer containers or ice cube trays
  • Freezer bags
  • Spatula
  • Bibs

Steaming preserves the nutrients better, so I steam whenever I can rather than boiling.  However, boiling works just as well to break down the food.  (Save the water that you used to cook the food as it contains TONS of vitamins and minerals–it’s best to add this right back into your baby’s food.)

We didn’t use our high chair at first.  The Bumbo seat worked perfectly and was TOTALLY easier.  Don’t forget the bib–this will become your best friend.



Pictured: Green Peas, Pink Applesauce, Avocado (baby guacamole), Mango and Cereal Mix, Dry Milled Oatmeal, Sweet Potatoes.

What to feed:

Start with cereal then yellow vegetables.  Wait three to four days before switching to a new food.  This will help you to be able to pinpoint allergies.  (See allergy info below.)  Your baby’s first foods will probably be foods from the following list.

  • Brown Rice Cereal
  • Yellow Squash
  • Applesauce
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Avocado (SUPER brain food!)
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Pears
  • Bananas

Note about avocado:  This is a super food that is very, very good for brain development.  Some call it the perfect food as it has absolutely every nutrient that your body needs for survival.  However, most babies don’t care for the taste of it BY ITSELF.  We make what we lovingly refer to as “baby guacamole”.  It’s simply about 70% avocado, 20% fruit (at first = pear, banana or applesauce), and 10% cereal.  Remember, the measurements do not have to be perfect.  The baby just wants to taste a little “something extra” in there.

ALLERGIES!

There are foods that are high allergy and should be avoided for the first year.  These are the main ones that we are avoiding until one year:

  • Peanuts
  • Cows Milk (Logan now eats dairy in foods only at 9 months.)
  • Eggs
  • Shell Fish
  • Fish

There are several more foods that are potential allergy risks.  This is why I say to go three or four days before switching to another food.  It helps identify the cause, should a reaction occur.  Here are a few that we were careful with in regards to Logan:

  • Wheat (We just introduced him at almost 9 months.  Wheat is HIGH risk for children with eczema problems such as Logan has.)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots (We waited until 8 months.  This is controversial, but some babies don’t handle the niacin very well.)
  • Melon
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes

SIGNS OF AN ALLERGIC REACTION (includes but not limited to):

  • Rash
  • Eczema
  • Difficulty Breathing / Wheezing
  • Swelling (mostly in the eyes)
  • Gas and / or vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Stomach Pain

Contact your doctor at the sign of any one of these symptoms if you believe it could be related to a food allergy!  If your child is having difficulty breathing after eating any food, call an emergency squad right away as time is of the essence.

Other Pointers:

  • Fresh food lasts for 3 days in a refrigerator.
  • Frozen food can last for one month in a freezer.
  • Be sure frozen foods are sealed tightly.
  • Don’t feed baby when he is REALLY hungry–he will not be cooperative and will only want his bottle.
  • Be careful not to overheat food.  It should be room temperature or slightly warm to the touch.
  • First foods should be nearly liquid–only thick enough to stick to the spoon to start!
  • (If it’s too thick, add water from you pot or add breast milk / formula to reach the desired consistency.  My son has always liked his food thicker, but I don’t believe most babies are this way)  This is another point–none of this is set in stone.  ALL babies are different!
  • Do not appear nervous when you feed your baby.  Try to remain calm–babies can pick up on your nervousness. 
  • GET A CAMERA READY!

Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t eat much at first.  The first few times may not be successful, but stick with it–he’ll soon be eating like the best of them!  Remember that the facial expressions of your child eating are not a true representation of if he likes the food or not.  Babies make faces when they experience new flavors.  This does not always mean he doesn’t LIKE it.  Even if you feel that he does not like what is being offered, keep at it.  Logan turned his nose at certain foods and then a week later gobbled them up like nobody’s business.  (We are still working on cottage cheese.)

Part two to follow shortly with feeding times / serving ideas and new foods to introduce each month.  This is the list that I have gone by so far with my son.  You aren’t limited to these, they are only my suggestions.  Be careful to not add rich, greasy foods or high allergy foods too early.   Babies’ digestive systems aren’t ready for biscuits and gravy until much later in life, no matter what granny says. 🙂

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