Duo Ventures

Sunday, May 15, 2016

DIY Baby Food: The Basics

Let me preface this post by saying that I am by no means an authority on baby food & there are tons of great websites out there that are dedicated to baby & toddler recipes.  That being said, I've had several requests on how to make your own baby food and there is something encouraging & real about seeing a 1st time mom being able to make all their baby's food at home with no prior experience.  #ificandoityoucandoit  :)


Before Sami was born, I did some basic research and decided to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months.  At that time, we introduced foods like avocado, sweet potato, squash, & banana.  We gave him veggies first, followed by fruit.  Over time we slowly added meats, legumes, grains, & dairy (he ended up having allergic reactions to both egg whites & dairy...but that is a whole other story for another time).

We also made the decision to forego the store-bought rice & oatmeal cereals.  Although his pediatrician advised us to add a little iron-fortified rice cereal to his food, I never did, & Sami's iron level at his 9 month check up was still perfect.

We decided to start with purees at the 6 month mark & then began incorporating "baby led weaning" when he was about 8 months old to help Sami develop his pincer grasp & allow him to become a little more independent & exploratory with his food.  I started with blueberries (cut in half) & slowly added soft veggies or fruit cut into bite size pieces.  Around 11 months, we started giving him pieces of shredded grilled chicken & he has loved chicken ever since!

Sami turned 1 year old last month, so we've actually been in the phase of transitioning out of purees & into more solid food over the several months.  I won't be making any more veggie, chicken, & bean purees (since he's eating them their original form now), but I will continue with the fruit purees as they are very convenient to add to Sami's oatmeal in the morning or to use in baby feeders as popsicles & teething soothers:

I'm sure I forgot to include certain foods, but these are the main foods we introduced to Sami over his 1st year:

1-6 months: exclusively breastfed (continued to breastfeed until today)

6 months: avocado, yellow squash, sweet potato, green beans, peas, carrots
7 months: apple, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines
8 months: boiled chicken, mango, quinoa, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
9 months: brown rice, hard boiled egg yolk, blueberries, coconut oil & olive oil
10 months: scrambled eggs, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli, whole wheat pasta & homemade tomato sauce, plain yogurt, strawberries, grapes
11 months: grilled chicken, ground turkey, ground beef (limited), raisins, rice with veggie mixed in
12 months: whole milk, almond milk


Personally, this is the most obvious & singular downside for me.  While not difficult, it does require some extra effort & time from your already busy schedule.  I will say though, that once you get a system down, it becomes easier & easier.  Before you know it, you are introducing regular foods & don't need to make as many purees.

On the flip side, these frozen cubes are convenient in the sense that I couldn't always prepare fresh purees every single day (either I was too tired or lazy, or didn't have the time or the ingredients).  So, always having a freezer stocked with a rainbow of puree options made my life much easier.  You have to figure out what works with your lifestyle.

Storing, packing, & traveling with homemade baby food is definitely more challenging.  You have to consider ways to keep the food cool and/or have a way to heat it up if needed.  I usually throw a few cubes into a small Glasslock container & heat it up at our friends' or families' homes.  I usually had no need to worry about refrigeration, as the cubes were frozen & the food was not left out for very long.  Reusable food pouches are another great option to use as well.