Instead of buying jarred baby food, I thought I'd give making my own baby food a try. Pictured above is some of my "finished product" of baby food - steamed, pureed, frozen in cubes, and then stored in freezer bags. It's recommended for babies to start solids between 4-6 months of age, beginning with pureed basic foods like veggies or fruits or baby cereals.
In our case, we had decided we would wait until Quincy turned six months old before starting solid foods. In speaking with our pediatrician, we had also decided to start with vegetables, as some babies can enjoy the sweetness of fruits and then have difficulty liking vegetables.
Despite what we may have planned on ahead of time, Quincy had a slightly different idea in mind for a start date. For the week before we began giving him solid food, he had this face after nursing:
Much like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, I came to the realization that he was still hungry. So instead of waiting out the remaining weeks, we started Quincy on solids.
I've realized I have a certain pattern for parenting, and the H-G Parenting Model might work for you, too. It goes like this:
I browsed a few books to figure out what foods would be good, and how to actually add in meals...
This is a great book for all things baby/children. It reads like a textbook, but it's very informative
|Great book for gourmet recipes for being a super fancy cook (Quincy will eat better than I do, ha!)|
|Great book of easy recipes AND really good insight on how to start food and which foods to avoid|
This is where you gather up all the stuff you'll need - in the case of making baby food, you'll need produce, something to puree the food, and something to store the food.
|Picked up fresh veggies from the local farmers' market and grocery store.|
Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Carrots, & Peas
I had heard from a few friends that make their own baby food, that freezing the pureed food in ice cube trays was the best way to go. Each cube was like a portion, and you just pull out what you need and leave the rest frozen. We purchased these ice cube trays because they were dishwasher safe, made of silicone (no risk of BPA's), flexible, and looked cool.
|Flexible Ice Cube Trays to freeze pureed foods.|
To puree the food, I used a Baby Bullet and a regular blender. Any kind of food processor should work, too.
|The Baby Bullet|
After getting all the gear together, I got to peeling, slicing, steaming, pureeing, freezing, and storing. It was a grand old time!
|Fresh Peas (with the shell) vs. Frozen Peas (without shell)|
Bottom Photos: Frozen Peas - SUCCESS! These blended much better and had a much brighter hue after freezing. Use shelled peas, not the whole pod!
You may notice I didn't include asparagus in the prepared foods above - we instead opted to grill it with olive oil and lemon juice for a cookout on Father's Day. Boy, was it good! Quincy, unfortunately, did not get to try it. Maybe next time!
When pureeing the food, use the water leftover from steaming the veggies to thin out the mixture.
|I poured the water used for steaming into a measure cup,|
and then added 1/4 cup at a time to the veggies until it was the right consistency.
I'll admit, you have to set aside some time to get everything together, but once you have it all cooked and then frozen, it's easy to just take a cube out of the freezer, place it in a container to thaw for the next day, and then serve it up when he's ready!
We started on a Saturday with butternut squash, and it went pretty well! (Side bar here: Squash is referred to a vegetable with cooking but is actually considered a fruit, in case you were wondering). With his first meal in the morning, he was very puzzled by what we kept putting in his mouth, but he eventually figured it out. By the third meal of the day, he knew what to do.
|First Tastes of Butternut Squash|
Everything was going great.... until.... teething struck again (I've shared a few woes of teething before). No, Quincy still hasn't actually had any teeth come in, but they sure like to move around.
Here is what Quincy was like on Day Three of Butternut Squash - note the happy snorting a few seconds into the video clip:
One quick note: I won't make a habit of uploading videos of every meal Quincy eats, but wanted to use this to demonstrate how things can change with babies. You may have something figured out, and then the next day it's as if it never happened.
The following day, he wanted nothing to do with solid foods (I tried squash, then carrots for a few days, then peas just two days ago), and all it did was upset him.
|New Talent - Crying with Carrots in One's Mouth|
So many questions have run through my mind: Did he not like the food? Was it too cold, too warm, too thick, too thin? Should I have started him on a less-sweet food? Should I try baby cereal? Ultimately, it became obvious that his gums were bothering him (heavy drool, fussier than usual, Tylenol/Ibuprofen helped...), so I'm chalking this one up to another battle with incoming teeth, and hopefully it ends soon.
ADJUST & EXPECT NOTHING TO GO AS PLANNED
I'm a bit of a planner (I'm sure there are a few of you out there laughing at the phrase "a bit"), but there comes a point where the plan goes out the window and you just see how things play out. I'm hoping his gums calm down soon, and we can get into a rhythm with solids, but for the meantime I'll keep trying a little bit at a time until he's ready again. I might also use the H-G Parenting Model and start over with some more reading...