Friday, February 11, 2011

Freezer Cooking: Baby Food Edition

Vera will be starting solids soon (I've been waiting until she is at least 6 months to start, since the gut is still permeable until that point), so I whipped up some baby food for her to be prepared for when she starts chewing!  She's been exclusively breastfed up to this point, so she has already been exposed to different flavors, as what I eat affects how my milk tastes (we had one rather unfortunate incident with jalapeno peppers, but other than that, I've been able to eat anything).

I'm all about baby-led weaning, self-feeding, and mashed food rather than purees, so the food I made is definitely on the chunky side of things (as opposed to being completely liquefied).  I don't know how things will go at first and what foods will go over well, so I didn't make a whole bunch to start with.  I can always add more to my freezer stash!  I also expect that Vera will enjoy eating what we eat (if we're having broccoli, she can have some that has been mashed up, etc.), so I may not need to make "baby food" for very long.  (Also, because she is still breastfeeding, she will not be relying upon solid foods for her primary nutrition yet, so this time is about experimenting, learning, and trying new things.)

I like this perspective on what you make to feed your baby:
"I can control what my baby is taking in, and tailor her tastes to what our family actually eats, rather than giving her a huge sweet tooth for apricots, blueberries, and strawberries, when our family is more of a broccoli, rice, and corn sort of family." (from Making Home's great post on DIY baby food)


There is some great information about baby food and introducing solids on Wholesome Babyfood, and there are some good tips and gorgeous pictures of homemade baby food on Styleberry.

Anyway, back to what I did.  Here's what I made (so far) and how.

4 servings carrots (I steamed 2 carrots until tender and whirred them in my food processor for a bit)
6 servings sweet potatoes (I baked a sweet potato, scooped out the insides, and mashed it a little with a fork)
8 servings mango (I peeled and chopped 1 mango and whirred it in my food processor)
10 servings yellow squash (I steamed 2 squash until tender and whirred them briefly in my food processor)
12 servings pears (I peeled, cored, and chopped 4 pears and whirred them in my food processor - they were super ripe so didn't need to be cooked)

I filled ice cube trays with my mashed-up food and froze them for a few hours.  After they were frozen, I popped them out, separated them into bags, labeled them, and stuck them back in the freezer.

For just a little money and a few minutes of my time (seriously, less than 45 minutes), I now have 40 little cubes of baby food in my freezer.  I'm so excited about introducing Vera to solids!  Can you believe she'll be 6 months in about a week?

Have you ever made baby food? Any tips to share?

8 comments:

  1. I made all my kid's baby food way back before it was cool to do. lol They are 10 and 9 now. Just a few tips... Sweet Potatoes do need to be whirred in the processor especially at first. The strings in them can cause a baby to choke. I was used to just mashing them for my son (15mth age difference between my two kids) and thought I could just do the same with my daughter and she got choked on them. So for the first little while processing them works best.
    Other tip... Speaking from experience Pears should be at least steamed a little. A lot of people (me and both my kids included) are allergic to raw pears. It makes our mouths tingle and go numb. Cooked pears don't affect us though. Another lesson I learned the hard way.
    I kept a small mini processor on my kitchen counter. I would cook our regular meal and whir a spoonful of it up for the baby. So much easier and less expensive then having to buy jarred foods. Plus I knew what they ate!
    Both of their favorites was avocado, sweet potatoes, and then later my chicken pot pie whirred up. Have fun. I miss those days!!

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  2. Good for you Aliesha...I know I had a blast making my own baby food for Gideon...I was constantly doing veggies for him and some days he liked some things and then other days he didn't like that same thing so I would just change it up. I also canned my own apple sauce for him...I guess I'll be back to making some more in just a few months! :-)

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  3. I'm interested in how mashing up table food will work for you. I made baby food for my older son (now three) but I just pureed everything. The idea of sticking "dinner" into the food processor kindof grosses me out. But it does makes sense. My "new" son is just four months, and is breastfed as well. Good luck and have fun!

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  4. Another good one to try is Avocado - owen did not like this at 1st PLAIN, but if I mixed it with some banana he was all about it. Now at 10 months he will eat slices of avocado plain and loves it. Its very high in "good" fat! great 1st food for babies.

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  5. oh and shopping tip for avocado, the longer the tip of an avocado, the longer it was on the vine, so the better it will be. No need to puree it either!

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  6. Sounds like you've got a great plan! One piece of advice that I'm sure isn't actually news to you--in the very beginning you should only give Vera one kind of food at a time, and refrain from adding anything else for at least 2-3 days. That way, if she's allergic to anything you'll be able to easily identify the source of her reaction. She probably has quite a bit of immunity built up due to breast feeding exclusively, but at the same time you've not had the chance to see her response to anything that you haven't already "processed" for her. Keep up the good work!

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  7. Good job! I made Lily's baby food, and honestly I really didn't have to make it for long because I just started mashing up what we were eating and she did great with it! I started her on avocado instead of the normal rice cereal, but I did give her oatmeal after she'd been eating solids for awhile.

    When we first tried carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches and anything else orange/red she got a horrible diaper rash. So I just waited a couple months to introduce them again and when I did, she did fine with them.

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  8. All the best with the baby food!

    I don't have any advice for you, rather than this. Submit your plans before God, even ones as simple as what to feed Vera.

    I found from experience that when I was overconfident that I knew exactly what to do, that's when Nanma reacted exactly opposite to what I expected. On days when I committed her feeding into God's hands, she was fine!

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