After I weaned my oldest son from nursing at 6 months old I was feeling a bit guilty. I knew he would be starting solids now and I wanted to give him the best food I could find. I was talking to my cousin about the guilt I was feeling about weaning him and how I was nervous about starting solids. And then she told me all about making baby food!
Here is what I have learned after making my own baby food for my two boys.
What You’ll Need
One of the best things about making your own baby food is if you have blender you’re set. When I started out I just used a blender and Ziploc baggies.
This got the job done but I wanted to be able to store the food in a more organized fashion so I borrowed a Baby Bullet Blender set from my cousin. If I would’ve known how much I loved making baby food I would’ve registered for one of these amazing sets for my baby shower.
This set comes with everything you would need but you can make your own food without this set all you need is
- something to puree food with (baby bullet, food processor, blender)
- some containers to freeze food in ( ice trays, silicone freezing trays, Ziploc baggies)
- fresh foods of your choice
How to Get Started
Well, you have to decide what you are going to feed your baby. I started my son on solids after I weaned him around 6 months but *I am not your doctor so make sure you check with them and see what is the best time for you to start your child on solids. Depending on how old your baby is will determine what you can make them. I use this awesome chart from One Nerdy Momma
Charts like this one will give you a basic outline of when most babies are ready for each food. Foods are categorized by things like texture, acidity, and how easy it is for baby to digest.
Once you have found what your baby should be trying for their age.. it’s easy peasy.
Making the Menu
There are a ton of ways that I have seen this done but I am going to share how I make my menu. If you have read my previous post, 5 Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Food then you know that I make my son’s food in bulk.
I take one day a month and make all the food he will need. It’s quick, easy and I don’t have to think about what he will eat for the rest of the month. But to get to that point I have to have a plan.
As a stay at home mom and a one pay check household we live on a budget so I try to buy foods that I can use in multiple recipes.
To pick what foods I am going to use I look at the list of foods my son has tried. I then pick a few foods he’s enjoyed, one he hasn’t and I also pick a few new foods to try. We follow the 4 day rule. So, when we introduce a new food we wait at least 4 days until we introduce another new food.
I have also made an easy organizer for the 4 day rule over on my etsy shop, which you can find here —> Foods I have tried. . .
Once we have picked our food I sit down and make a list of those foods and new combinations I can try. This month I am using the list below to make his menu:
- Pineapple (new food)
- Spinach (new food)
- Sweet potatoes (food he LOVES)
- Peas (food he doesn’t care for)
- Ground Turkey
Then I mix and match. I do a few fruity flavors like pineapple-peach, some veggies options spinach and sweet potato and then I try to cross flavors such as sweet potato-peach. Next, I add in proteins. Any of these flavors can be mixed with turkey or chicken or any plant based protein:
- spinach, sweet potato, turkey
- pineapple, peach, chicken
and so on… after you have made your menu you cook!
What’s Cookin’ ?
Making baby food is something I enjoy doing and it’s actually a lot of fun. Once you have picked all your foods it’s time to cook some yummy, nutritious and natural food for your tiny human.
Cooking for your little one is pretty simple, you basically cook down the veggies and some of the fruits until they are in a form where you can easily blend them. For this particular menu I will boil down the peaches, apples, spinach, and sweet potatoes. You can boil them separately or you can steam them all together if you’d like. I will normally boil like flavors together e.g. sweet potatoes and carrots or apples and peaches.
Cooking the meat can be tricky at first if you’re not a great cook like me… For chicken I will boil it in water and then make sure I temp it out until it’s at 165° and for turkey I will bake it until the same temperature is achieved.
Once all the foods have been boiled, steamed and baked it’s blending time!
This is where you need to keep your little ones age and preference in mind.
Your child’s age will determine the texture you will want to blend each food at. My son is 9 months so his food is thicker and has chunks of food in it for him to “chew.”
If your little one is just starting out then a smooth thin texture is what you will want to have. You can get that by adding the water you cooked your fruits and veggies in, to the food when you are blending.
Now that you have a bunch of pureed food it’s time to store it so you can easily grab food and go for the next month. Doesn’t that sounds AWESOME!?
Storing Homemade Baby Food
Things to know:
- baby food has a shelf life of 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- In the freezer about 3 months or so (unless your little one eats like mine, in which case it won’t make it that long).
This is how I do it:
- I take a little bit of everything and store three days worth of food in the fridge.
- I take the rest and freeze it.
- This is where you can use those awesome freezer trays, whether it is ice trays or silicone trays. I personally like the silicone
They are easy to use. I also really like them because the food freezes in the shape of the baby food containers I have, making grabbing food to go even easier. I just freeze one batch at a time. Once they are frozen I pop them out into baggies, label and date them. I continue this until all the food I made it frozen.
But when I first started I didn’t have any of that and you might not either so I used Ziploc baggies. I would store one meal in each bag and freeze them laying flat. Whatever you have will work.
And There You Have It
Easy Peasy right?! Just buy fresh or frozen produce and meat, boil down, blend, freeze, store and enjoy! That’s it! I never would have thought about this if my cousin hadn’t told me about it. I am so glad I did this for my son and myself there are so many benefits but the best one is knowing what my son is eating.
*I am not a doctor please consult with your pediatrician before making any decisions on what foods to feed your child and when.