Monday, January 25, 2010

Making your own baby food

More and more, moms are starting to make their own baby food. Or at least some of it. With my first, I thought there was no way I had enough time to make food with working full time, a baby and a full time step daughter as well. Aside from mashing up some bananas, I bought all of his food.

When I was pregnant with the twins, though, I read the book Ready or not, here we come by Elizabeth Lyons and in it she had a chapter on making baby food. After reading that chapter, I realized it was not as hard as I thought it was (or that my mind thought it was). Nor as time consuming. I decided I would try it when the twins were the right age, which I did. As it turned out, it really was easy and not too time consuming... and again, I was a full time working mom of four at that point. My point, if you are on the fence, give it a try! If you know you want to do it, below are some resources.

The resource I used the most was the Wholesome Baby Food website. This site has just about everything you could possibly need to know about making baby food and feeding your child - from when and what is appropriate at what ages, nutritional info, how to cook it, recipes, and so much more. I used the "Foods for Babies" tab the most. This is broken in categories (veggies, fruit, grain, etc) and then by food. It will tell you at what age it is best to feed each food item, what is good about that item nutrition wise, the best way to cook it and also give you recipes for mixing different things once they get older (many of these combos I would have never thought of, like avocado/banana mixed, but the twins loved it all). Another thing I found on this site was the use of spices in baby food. I didn't know I could even use spices! But how great is that to 'spice it up' and get their palates ready for what is to come later (you can find the spice info under Tips and Topics, then Introducing Solids, then Spice it up). I really feel as a result, my twins like more flavorful food than my five year old does.

The other resources that I have heard nothing but good things about (though I never used myself) is the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron and Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes (sold through Williams Sonoma).

As far as equipment, you really don't need anything special - though there are tons of products out there marketed specifically for this use. I either baked or steamed all the fruits and veggies I made, so all I used were glass baking pans or my steamer insert in my pots. I used a food processor to puree the baby food, though you can use a blender too (I found the food processor worked better since I was typically making big batches). Since then (long after baby food making times), I found a fruit and veggie strainer attachment that goes on a Kitchen Aid mixer that would work well too (I use it for applesauce now and it's wonderful!). As far as storing, I used ice cube trays and lots of plastic wrap (both of those I researched on the web and contacted the manufacturer directly to verify they were BPA-free). Once the food was frozen, I popped them out of the ice cube trays and into glass pyrex containers which I marked with the name of the food and date made. If you are pushed for space, freezer bags work well too. And that's it as far as the equipment I used.

Though I had my moments of "seriously, this is for the birds" thoughts as I stayed up in the wee hours cooking and pureeing so as to stock up, over all I was and am very glad that I did it. I liked knowing I made it and that I controlled the process and the food quality. I liked having a lot more variety for them and different combos than you can get from jar food. I liked being able to add spices. It was a good experience and one I would do over again in heartbeat.

What about you?
Has anyone else made their own baby food? What resources do you recommend? What equipment was invaluable to you? What advice would you give fellow moms who are interested in making their own baby food? Please send us a something to post or just comment below.

If you are getting ready to start making your own baby food and have questions, please put it in the comments for us to answer.


  1. I did my own babyfood with the twins because it just seemed so expensive to buy so much prepared babyfood when I also had 4 other people to buy groceries for. It really is pretty easy!

  2. My pediatrician has actually pushed me away from purees. I found this to be very difficult, so I do a mixture. My doctor suggestd more of a Baby Led Weaning, basically giving the baby whole sticks or chunks of very soft foods so they can learn to eat and choose what they eat. Whichever method I do use, I try to make my own foods. I do not do bulk batch cooking (except for apple sauce). I simply cut a pear and freeze the leftover for the next day or cook a sweet potato and use it over a couple of days. I am also hoping to start simply feeding the babies whatever it is I am eating for dinner. They are just barely 7 months, so we are working on this one still. Neither method takes any time at all.

  3. Mommy Made and Daddy Too! (Revised): Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby

    I used this book when my twins were tiny. I love this cookbook and still use it today. I highly recommend this one.

  4. I am proud to say i too make my babies food. I like knowing exactly what they are eating, and knowing I'm not putting all those little glass/plastic containers in the landfills. I also use the Wholesome baby food website, it is AWESOME and sooooooo CHEAP!

  5. Making baby food is SO easy! All the equipment you really need is a vegetable peeler, a saucepan, and a food processor or blender. And like Wendy said, freeze any extra in ice cube trays and then offload into freezer bags. Although with twins, unless you make huge batches, you can usually use it up within a day or two in the fridge.

    I really liked the book Blender Baby Food. I learned a lot of combinations from there (sweet potato, carrot and pear was a big hit) and basically just used whatever produce was fresh and in season. We started to work in cooked rice when the girls figured out how to "chew" with their gums and eventually gave them shredded cheese and cooked sweet potato as their first "solid" foods.

    One thing that wasn't in the books but I figured out independently (though the Ball's canning book, actually), was that you can also make your own fruit juices. We are part of a CSA and would get fruit in large quantities. you just wash, chop, add water (and sugar if desired), simmer and strain. No need to remove seeds or skins since it all strains out. Our favorites are apple-grape and pear-raspberry.


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