Thursday, March 24, 2011

Homemade Baby Food

And now for a post that is TOTALLY unrelated to running...

Disclaimer- I know many decisions with babies are sensative issues so I preface this post with the statement that I am doing what I feel is best for our baby and best for the way we live and have researched and I hope you do the same for your kiddo whatever decisions you decide to make.

I pretty much knew that along with doing the cloth-diaper thing, I planned to make my own baby food.  I am not at all domestic and don't always get a meal on the table for my hubby and me.  So I knew to stick with this it would need to be pretty easy and something I could do in batches (no so much an everyday thing.)  The hubby was on board for the health and cost-effectiveness but didn't want me to feel stressed out about it (which I can appreciate).  We made the decision to delay the boy from getting lots of the gunk that seems to come in canned baby food.  (Even some of the organic baby food brands that don't add stuff to the food still use BPA in part of the lids.)

Well-- now that he will be 7 months old tomorrow-- we have just started with "food" which is more about the skill of learning to eat than much nutrition this early on.  Per what I have researched, Mama's milk contains all a baby needs until about 9 months when it doesn't quite supply enough protein for little ones.  So our goal was to have him at least knowing how to eat with some regularity by nine months so we can more regularly supplement his milk.  I plan to continue to breastfeed (Lord willin' and the creek don't rise) until 12 months give or take and supplement after one or two nursings with some puree.

We started with just breastmilk on a spoon around 6 months "feeding" him about once a week just to see how he liked it.  He'd been watching us eat for a while with great curiousity so he liked it and did pretty well.  We recently added a bit of organic, whole-grain rice to barely thicken the consistency.  I had wanted his first food to be avacado since its easy to mash and has lots of health benefits.  So I bought an organic avacado, mashed it and mixed it with some mama's milk and he liked it too.  BUT he got a little rash on his belly so I stopped just in case it was related to that and not a heat rash after a hot day.

So flash forward to what this post is actually about... 

I made my first real baby food today!  I made spinach and green beans!  I did a bit of research and found that only Hamilton Beach food processors do not contain parts with BPA.  So that determined the brand I got.  I bought this one which is the Big Mouth 14 cup version.  The thing is a monster but it was the only version I could find at a local store and managed to pick it up on a major deal at KMart for only $24!

I bought two bags of frozen organic veggies (spinach and green beans), went ahead and washed them again before cooking and then followed the instructions on the bag to boil/steam them.  I had my little helper in his chair so he could watch the process.

After cooking I drained and dumped the contents of the pan into my HUGE (did I mention the thing is HUGE?!) food processor with some breastmilk and turned it on.  My little helper started crying so I picked him up and talked him through it as we turned it back on.  (It was a lot less scary with Mama holding him!)  The processor is an animal and rocked out at puree-ing the food to a consistency I was happy with in less than a minute.  The picture below was taken in the first few seconds. 

It was nearly my helper's naptime but I went ahead and let him have a taste of each.  He was in love and I am sure he is hardly sleeping as I type this in eager anticipation of his meal after his next feeding! You can see his tiny green mustach below. 

Once I got the items pureed I put them in these BPA free Ball canning freezer jars which I found for $3 for a pack of 5 "cans."  It is actually not what I wanted but will work for the smaller volumes I am making and freezing now.

Oh and since all the parts of the food processor are dishwasher safe the mess I made will easily clean up in one dishwasher cycle. 

So I will just give him one veggies at a time (I will probably start with the spinach) for a week to make sure he doesn't have a food allergy and then move on to the next.  I am planning carrots, peas and squash as they are fresh and organic or that I can find frozen and organic. 

I will eventually do much bigger batches a time to save getting out everything again.  And may do the icecube trays filled with food to freeze and then store (I couldn't find bpa free ice trays at the local stores) but no need to buy that just yet.  So far I am out less than $30 in supplies and can know what my baby is eating.  So that's my experience so far.  I'll add more info as I find a must-have addition or feel free to ask your own questions or leave your own experiences below!

More about baby food making can be found at these great sites!  and from this mom's blog who is raising her baby girl on a vegan diet.


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