Building a home after his own heart

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baby Food Experiments

I was not in a hurry to feed Sadie solid foods.  I knew that I wanted to wait until she was at least 6 months old and then see how long we could go after that.  Why, you ask?  From what I've read, Mommy's milk is just the best they can get, at least until their first birthday. I didn't want to complicate that if I didn't have to.  So it was a bit of a surprise when at 7 months, she decided that an every 3 hour eating schedule wasn't gonna cut it anymore!  After a few weeks of eating roughly every 2 hours (except at night)... we both decided maybe it was time to start incorporating some solid foods.  It completely caught me off guard!  What does one feed her first??  I haven't researched this!  All of these milestones are coming up too fast for me!  And to be quite honest, it made me a little sad.  Nursing may be difficult and exhausting at times (sometimes it feels like the life is being sucked out of you), but for the most part it has been a very special time for Sadie and I and I'm not at all prepared for that to end. The thought of her eating solid foods was just the first step to her weaning off of Mommy. :( It makes me want to cry just thinking about it!  Anyways, if you know me at all then you know that I can be a little bit skeptical of doctors and like to research things before taking their recommendation.  So I started Sadie with a banana because I knew that breast milk is pretty sweet already and thought it might be an easier adjustment.  She wasn't too excited about it... pretty funny experience for Jim and I, though. ;)

I started feeding her some food here and there, but I would honestly just forget about it at first because I've never had to worry about it before... you mean I have to find both her and I something to eat... right now??  I started feeding her some avocado and sweet potato, which she seemed to enjoy.  These 3 foods were her only solids for probably the first month or so until I decided she might enjoy a tad bit of variety!  So naturally, I started buying baby food.  I was at a little bit of a loss.  I felt like I wanted to buy organic for sure, but other than that I had no idea. Just in case you hadn't noticed, that stuff is expensive!  So let me just admit that I've been buying the organic brown rice cereal and cans of baby food for a little over 2 months with some banana, avocado, and sweet potato thrown in there.  I finally decided that our budget cannot keep this up!  I had aspirations in the past of making my own baby foods, but that was kind of put on the back burner since I'm not in my own kitchen with my own things and was just a tad bit lazy right up until a few days ago.  Here is my fancy equipment:


Tada!  I finally decided that I was going to give this a go. Like with cooking, I just had to jump in!  So my first baby food creations were sweet potatoes and then carrots.  I baked the sweet potatoes, removed the skin, put them in my mother-in-law's mini food processor (can I just say that I seriously love that thing... it shreds chicken, chops up onions, etc) and wallah!  You just add water until you think it's a good consistency.  Now for the easiest part: I could be doing this wrong, but it's worked so far... I just spooned it into ice cube trays and when frozen, popped them into labeled plastic bags.  Then I just put them in little containers in the fridge 24 hours before she eats them.  For that reason, I started not filling the ice cube trays quite as full because I couldn't fit the chunks into the bowls.  The carrots were a tad bit more complicated in that I had to steam them over the stove until soft and then did the same; put them in the food processor, adding a little water until it was the consistency it needed to be and then wallah!  I've done it again!  This is about as difficult as it gets.  So if you've had any cooking experience, you can do this, no problem.  Now this is my favorite part... it gets even easier!  I was looking for a compromise between 100% fresh baby food and better than store bought and found that buying cans of fruit, veggies, and a big tub of applesauce was an even easier way and still much cheaper than buying baby food!  I made some pear baby food by dumping my can of pears (in no syrup, only water and/or juice) and mixing it with a little water until it was the perfect consistency... or in my case more along the lines of imperfect.  I also added some applesauce to it to make things interesting. :)  I would prefer to go to Trader Joe's or something and get some organic canned fruit and veggies, but I wanted to do some experimenting before spending more money and I don't have one near. :(  One mistake you don't want to make is buying just a plain ole can of green beans and not noticing that there's salt!  Oops!  That was my bad, Sadie.  She was not too excited about that.  So do yourself and your poor baby a favor and make sure it's labeled "no salt"... I try to look at the label to be sure there's no surprise ingredients.  Now for storage... here is what works for me:

I highly recommend this storing method!  It's incredibly convenient.  You go to grab one flavor and you end up with 10 more on the floor that you forgot you had!  So I tend to go a little insane when I start experimenting with something like this... the sweet potatoes and carrots worked, so why not try every other fruit and vegetable that I could possibly imagine??  Three trips to the store in one day?  Absolutely!  Must make a year's worth of baby food... NOW!  It's pretty ridiculous.  After doing all of that work, I'm ready to stop using my brain and just get it in there!  So my current stash of baby food includes: sweet potatoes, carrots, apple/blueberry/spinach, brussell sprouts, peaches/banana/apple, pears/apple, green beans.  For breakfast and dinner, I like to add some organic brown rice cereal or organic oatmeal cereal to the fruit or vegetable to make it more filling.  I also have been giving her some little bite sized foods to feed herself.  She loves zucchini, smashed peas, bananas, etc etc etc.  The possibilities are endless!  So I hope I have inspired someone to give it a try and save some big bucks and help keep that sweet baby be as healthy as possible!  Good luck in all of your baby food endeavors. :)