Google+ Mommy Moments with Abby: Baby Food Making!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Food Making!

Have you ever read what goes into the baby food you buy at the store or wondered how a little jar of mashed up food is able to last sitting on a store shelf or in your shelf for so long and still be "natural" or good for your baby? Now, I will admit to buying baby food by the jar or pouch from the store and it is just fine for babies. That said I do feel that if you can find the time to make it yourself it is better. You get to tailor the food to your baby and their personal preferences as those develop, you cut costs, and you know exactly what is going in your child because you made it. The problem I see is over making food and ending up with more than your little one can eat before it goes bad. I recently decided to make some baby food as my youngest will be starting to eat foods this weekend. First, get the food you plan or want to start with; some doctors say start with fruit or apple sauce, while others say start with a veggie. I say do what is right for you. I start with sweet peas and then will go to peaches alternating between veggie and fruit for a more balanced diet.

Some tips and guidelines before starting :

1) Remember it will take around 15 times for your little one to truly decide if they like something or not so don't be afraid to try something again if the first reaction isn't good.

2) Remember anytime you introduce a new food to only feed that food and foods already introduced for 4 days.

3) The texture(thick or thin)of the baby food will depend on age, consult a doctor but typically you'll start with liquid smoothie and end up at a thick paste before starting with food chunks.

4) Anything with a skin-potatoes, fruits, avocados, etc...must be peeled prior to making the food as the skin is a choking hazard.

5) Season as you choose once the baby has been on foods for a while and is older than six months (consult your doctor first), but remember seasons can cause reactions too! With seasons it is best to use a four day rule. Never use Salt!!!!!

Some seasons that can be used are:
Vanilla (watch for alcohol content as many extracts contain alcohol)
Garlic - powdered (blends better in my opinion)
Lemon zest
Cinnamon (this can also cause a topical reaction as it is a very strong spice so offer it slowly and consult a doctor if you see any reactions)
Curry powder (yes, you may offer your older infant a dash of curry powder in her foods. You do need to watch for any reactions as some components of curry or even chili powder may give baby a rash)

6) Do not combine foods until both have been introduced and no allergy is seen. Usually this is seen in stage 3 jar foods.

7) Always watch baby poop for indicators that something is causing digestive issues and consult a doctor if any questions.

8) Typically if a food is a color, baby poop may also become that color. Peas can mean green poop! If your feeding baby a lot of peas and the poop is looking the same color the baby is not becoming the incredible hulk of pooping, just processing those peas! That said if they are not eating a lot of peas and suddenly the poop is green, call the doctor! Basically, watch the poop and use common sense.

9) A typical ice cube is about 1-1.5oz of baby food. A stage one jar of food from the store is anywhere from 1-1.5oz and a stage two jar is 4oz.

10) Normally baby food is only good for about 48 hours in the fridge.

11) Frozen baby food depends on the food so take that into consideration but normally it’s good for about 3 weeks to 3 months depending on the food. Good rule of thumb would be not to keep anything longer than you would keep it for yourself.

Again, I offer these guidelines as my personal preference and you need to do what is recommended by your doctor and your preference since you know your baby best.

Back to my adventures in baby food making: I started by steaming the peas to kill any bacteria and to make them easier to mush. Then, I pulled out the trusty cuisinart. I put in the peas and blended away. Now, some will say an expensive baby blender is the only way, or a hand blender, or one of those bullet processors, but I say it is half budget and half preference. If you can afford the expensive baby blender and have the space to store it go for it as they have settings specifically for different stages of baby food, but if you can't then use what you have available as long as you can get the food truly blended into a semi-liquid state. Next make sure you have some ice cube trays on hand and put the food into the cubes remembering liquid tends to expand when frozen. Once frozen label a freezer bag and put cubes in the bag keeping them in the freezer for storage. Storing them this way makes for more space in the freezer and you’re not stuck without ice cubes. Now you’re ready to heat either by microwaving or thawing naturally and start feeding baby!

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