The Baby Has to Eat

Ollie loves eating pretty much everything I make for him, plus his hands.

Ollie loves eating pretty much everything I make for him, plus his hands.

… and eat, and eat and eat. Let’s face it, baby food is expensive and doesn’t last very long. By the time my kid was about 7 months old, he was up to two jars of fruits and veggies per sitting. It seemed like we were running out to Sam’s every week to stock up on food. Being a cautious first-time parent, I figured there was something magical about these little pre-packaged foods with the baby’s face on them. Newsflash: it’s mushed-up food.

With that in mind, I started making my own. Not exclusively (I still buy applesauce and other foods on occasion), but as baby gets older and graduates to more textures and flavors, I started making more of my own food. If you have food and a way to mush it up (aka a food processor/best investment EV-AR), there’s no reason you can’t (unless you are THAT lazy, and hey, I know, sometimes you just don’t feel like any extra work).

Pretty much anything can be pureed. Texture is important, though. You don’t want to be feeding baby soupy foods (it’s messy and sort misses the point of feeding baby more interesting foods). Of course, there are a number of foods you don’t want to feed your baby until he or she is older (honey, peanut butter, shellfish, eggs, soy, etc.).

Ollie’s 9 months old now and loving mommy’s homemade versions of Gerber’s jarred food:

Simple spaghetti

Orzo cooked until al dente

Organic spaghetti sauce

Drain orzo. Puree with sauce in the food processor until desired consistency. Store in single-serve containers. Refrigerate until mealtime.

Chicken noodles

Low-sodium chx noodle soup

Canned or frozen mixed veggies (make sure there is no sodium added)

Drain most of the liquid from the soup. Combine remaining soup with a can of drained veggies. Puree together until desired consistency. Store in single-serve containers. Refrigerate until mealtime.

Veggie noodles

Low-sodium alphabet soup

Canned or frozen mixed veggies (make sure there is no sodium added)

Drain most of the liquid from the soup. Combine remaining soup with a can of drained veggies. Puree together until desired consistency. Store in single-serve containers. Refrigerate until mealtime.

I found this very useful, too (though if you are ever unsure if your baby is ready for certain foods, ask your pediatrician):

-DO

Do use ice cube trays to freeze puréed foods. Each cube should be about one ounce. Once frozen, pop out the cubes, store in a sealed plastic bag, and use within two months.
Do discard unfinished meals. Bacteria forms quickly.
Do introduce new foods at the rate of one per week, so you can pinpoint any allergies.
Do make sure your child has accepted most vegetables and fruits before trying any meats.
Do steam or microwave vegetables and fruits to retain as much vitamins and minerals as possible, as opposed to boiling.
Do use as thinners: water left from steaming, yogurt, broth, or apple juice.
Do use as thickeners: wheat germ, whole-grain cereal, cottage cheese, farmer cheese, cooked egg yolks, yogurt, mashed white or sweet potato.

-DON’T-

Don’t feed nuts, raisins, popcorn, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruits, or peanut butter to children under the age of 2.
Don’t give honey to children under the age of one year due to potential contraction of infant botulism.
Don’t give beets, spinach, collards or turnip greens to babies under one year of age due to high concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which can reduce the baby’s hemoglobin.
Don’t add salt, sugar, or strong spices to homemade baby foods. If you are using part of the family meal for the infant, remove the infant’s portion before seasoning food for the family.
Don’t use cookies as a pacifier for a fussy baby.
Don’t use canned vegetables as they are usually loaded with sodium and additives. Check labels, but usually frozen vegetables have little or no sodium.
Don’t use a microwave to warm foods. Even well-stirred foods could have dangerous hot spots. If you do, use the defrost cycle, checking and stirring often. Always test the temperature by touching a spoonful to the outside of your upper lip. Be sure to wash the spoon before using.
Don’t put diluted foods into a bottle with a larger hole in the nipple for night feedings. It’s dangerous, bad for the teeth, and doesn’t build good eating habits.
Don’t give highly acidic fruits, such as oranges, tangerines and pineapples, to babies under one year as the acid is harsh on the immature digestive system.
Don’t feed egg whites to babies under one year of age, due to potential allergic reaction. Cooked egg yolks are fine.
Don’t forcefeed your child. To begin solids foods, start with one or two spoonfuls and let your baby guide you.
Don’t limit your child’s fat intake during the first two years. Fats are necessary to development.

-SOURCE: ABOUT.COM

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