Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{Feeding Baby}: Firsts

Let's keep things real around here. Ella's first "real food" {as in non-formula} was not a puree of the lovely organic carrots you see above. Her very first was brown rice cereal, followed by oat cereal, and then very ripe bananas. So, you know, nothing worth snapping a picture of. 
Last time we chatted about feeding babies I promised I get some purees in the freezer for Ella before she started cereals. Guess what? That never happened. I readied myself with various prepared baby foods instead just in case. 

We started slowly with the cereals at about 5.5 months*. {We found the brown rice, kinda, er, backed her up. As did my sis-in-law with her little biscuit.} Once she settled on the oat cereal and her system was happy again, she got bananas. I pureed a few in my mini blender with a little bit of nursery water. Froze the puree in standard ice cube trays from the grocery store. Once the banana-cubes were frozen solid I transferred them to zip-top freezer bags, labelled them, and returned them to the freezer. 

When she was ready to eat I pulled a cube from the freezer - defrosted it in the microwave for a few seconds and we were ready to go. That girl really loves some bananas! 

Soon after, I got lucky in that I had a free nap-time one Sunday. I went to the grocery store {the hubs stayed with Ella} and bought some sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, and avocados. I got home and went to slicing, steaming, pureeing, with in an hour I had a freezer full of brightly filled ice cube trays. So much so that I had to start finding other ways to freeze the puree. I've never been happier to have 4 mini muffin tins. I followed the same routine with the frozen cubes of fruit and veggies as I did with the bananas - freeze solid, bag, and tag. 

I've yet to tap into our store bought baby food. I tend to pick a a few jars of whatever Ella is eating currently so we can travel with them if we need to. 

What surprised me the most was when I broke down the cost of a prepared baby food verses the same serving of the homemade stuff. The jar of carrots above cost $1.09 and its probably 2 servings for Ella and yes it is organic. The three cubes pictured above cost me 20 cents and it is three servings for Ella and yes I did buy organic carrots. Granted I did make an initial investment in my pots, pans, knives, steamer basket, food processor and blender long before I had a baby. And I did buy new ice cube trays, so maybe those carrots cost me 25 cents if we divide those cost into all the baby food I have made so far. 

What about you? Is your baby eating real food yet? Have you snuck her some ice cream? Will you make some of his food too?

Here are my tips and suggestions: 

- Don't buy any equipment especially for making baby food. Its a rip off. Buy a nice steamer basket. Invest in as many ice cube trays as your kitchen will hold. 

- Buy produce while its on sale, but only if you have time to process in the next few days. Don't get caught up on whether the carrots are organic or local or friends with Alice Waters. 

- Process a large quantity of a few things at one time - my first go was sweet potatoes, carrots, and peaches. It makes the clean up easier. 

- Work in a clean kitchen - you don't want cross contamination while you're trying to rule out allergies.

- Cut the produce as small as you can for steaming or pureeing. In theory this helps them hold more nutritional value as then are processed. In reality this helps them steam or puree faster. I used a mandoline for my carrots and it was so helpful. 

- Label everything very clearly. 

As always you can follow along with my feeding baby board on pinterest. 

*The AAP used to recommend introducing cereals between 4-6 months. They recently changed their suggestion to 6 months. If you want to feed your baby a diet completely from scratch (i.e. no prepackaged cereal - 6 months is considered ideal. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or your babies mama - talk to your pediatrician and do what is best for your wee-one. No judgements here. 


  1. Great post! I did this with Lila for what felt like forever. Miss Evie decided two weeks in that being spoon fed was not for her. So I just steamed everything to death, cut it up really small, and hoped for the best! She's done great ever since. I definitely feel like the cost portion is enough to just do it yourself. However, I also think at some point involving the baby/toddler in the chopping is so beneficial. Obviously they don't chop. Evie will stand under me now while I chop and I will hand her little pieces. She LOVES it. Of course, she's 14 months at this point. But, it's all about habits right!? Love the post!

    1. Thanks Jana! I am having so much fun watching her experience new foods. I can't wait til she gets to the self-feeding stage where Evie is now. Those fine motor skills need some work before that!

  2. This is a great post! My son is allergic to peanuts,soy, and eggs so I decided I would just make his food from the very beginning. He is a year old now and we are past pureed foods for the most part but mostly all of his food is still homemade. It is definitely alot more cost effective in the long run. Can't wait to read more about your homemade baby food adventures. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Erika! We thought Ella had a food allergy while I was breast feeding so I also felt like making her food would be the safest thing for her. As someone who likes to cook, doesn't it just bring so much joy to feed your little one things you made for him? Its been one of my favorite things as a Mama!

  3. Great post Meghan! I made all my own baby food for Anna and was pleased as punch with myself for the money we saved. :-) Plus, I think it is just purer and more nutritious. That pureed baby food stage goes by so fast too, before you know it Ella will be eating everything in site! :-)

    1. Thanks Maggie! I agree that the quality is almost more important than the money aspect. I don't want to wish this time away at all, but I am excited for when we can all be eating the same food together!