I’ve made all of Liam’s meals ever since he turned 6 months (no store bought jars!), and I have one thing to say about it:
First off, you do not need to invest in a fancy baby food making machine like one of these:
… A blender will do just fine! It’s better to invest in something the whole family can use, not an appliance that will just take up room in your kitchen once your baby outgrows it.
(We love the Ninja blender.)
Secondly, you do not, by any means, need to get too complicated with recipes if you don’t want to. I’ve experimented with some fun concoctions, but on most days I keep it simple. Simple prep, healthy ingredients, always 🙂 If you do decide to spice things up, Pinterest has so much inspiration! I also shared 10 of my favorite creative purées a few weeks ago.
What you do need to do is make sure you wash each fruit and veggie thoroughly, organic or not (if you’re unfamiliar with the many uses of baking soda, check out my post, “Making Healthy Choices For Your Family”. I like to use baking soda and vinegar as a fruit and veggie wash!)
If you can, of course, go organic – it’s only a dollar or two extra and so worth it! Think about the 5 or 6 dollars you’re willing to spend at Starbucks for a medium coffee… why not spend the same amount on a package of organic strawberries?
After you wash your fruits and veggies, then comes the easy part! I promise.
Here’s what I do on a daily basis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…
After I nurse Liam around 7:30am, I usually hang out in bed with him until 8, then sit him up in his Pack & Play next to the kitchen. During that time, I make both of our breakfasts.
Liam usually always starts his day with oatmeal. Does he love it? Eh, not really.
It’s just alot easier for me to whip up a little bowl of oatmeal than it is to make a fruit/veggie purée at 8am. I got him used to diverse flavors at such a young age (the kid loves curry and ginger!) so oatmeal must taste a little… blah. And I don’t blame him! I like my own oatmeal with tons of fruit and maple syrup, but those are off the list for Liam. Instead, I add cinnamon and organic apple sauce or mashed banana to make it tastier for him. It usually does the trick!
I also give Liam a handful of Plum Organic Super Puffs to pick at between each bite of oatmeal. He loves to feed himself… and the dogs love the failed hand to mouth attempts! They love Puffs just as much as Liam does!
If your baby is between 7-9 months, try placing one Puff at a time on his tray. He will most likely try to grab the Puff with his whole hand at first. Then, little by little, you will notice that he practices using two fingers. Bingo!
To help him polish this skill, hold a Puff in front of him and do not let go until he grabs onto it with two fingers. He’ll get good at it in no time!
After Liam’s first nap (which ends around 11:30am), we usually play for an hour before I nurse him. Then, it’s walker time! While Liam explores the living room (under supervision, of course), I make his lunch and dinner.
Guys… it’s really super easy to make baby food. If you have 5 minutes to spare, you can do it. Really.
I just use a steamer insert in a medium sized pan (as shown below). It’s super convenient and easy to clean. Just insert the steamer into the pan, fill the pan with water until it touches the bottom of the insert, put your veggies/fruit in, cover, and voila!
Remember to set your kitchen timer for 10 minutes so you don’t forget about the veggies! I learned from that mistake…
(Hey babe, what’s that smell? Are you making caramel?!)
I’ve been going for simple combos lately: carrot/zucchini (house favorite), sweet potato/cinnamon, and butternut squash/apple. Although blending is great, I like to fork mash the steamed veggies now (Liam is almost 9 months and does great with chunky purées!)
I always make enough food for both lunch and dinner. It saves me a lot of time to do it that way! If any is left over after dinner, I freeze it.
Remember: you don’t want to heat and reheat baby food or let it sit in the fridge too long! Once the spoon goes into your baby’s mouth and back into the bowl, bacteria starts to grow…
Speaking about spoons: I’ve been loving both of these products by BabieB:
These spoons aren’t just any spoons. Not only do I love their ergonomic design, I also love that they slightly change color when the purée is too hot. Babies are so much more sensitive to heat, and it gives me peace of mind to know that the food is at the perfect temperature for Liam.
These bowls are so much fun, especially as we embark on Liam’s self feeding journey. Affixed on giant suction cups, they stay put and give your baby a chance to explore its contents all on his own. Of course, you can’t expect no movement at all — the suction cup does slide back and forth — but at least the bowl doesn’t go flying off the table! That’s a major plus 🙂
Silicone scoop bibs are great because of minimal cleanup and the fact that they also act as great snack holders. I’ve often taken my son out to lunch and sprinkled some Puffs in his bib as an easy distraction. Serious mom points right there!
On days when I’m on the go and don’t have time to steam anything, I’ll settle for organic yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with apple sauce. Or… I’ll just pick and choose from my frozen stash!
I usually always feed Liam some of our own table food as well: he makes it very clear that he wants what we’re having! Nothing makes our son happier than sharing a plate with his mommy 🙂
Note: If you can’t commit to all homemade meals, then start small — pride yourself in feeding your baby fresh, healthy foods, even if it’s 4 out of 7 days of the week. There’s no shame in having some emergency jarred food! … just as long as it’s not banana baby food. That’s just plain laziness. (Come on guys… all you do is mash and serve! It doesn’t get any easier than that!)
Here are a few other posts I wrote on introducing solid foods to baby:
Do you have any tips that make lunch and dinner time a whole lot easier? Please do share!