Guest post: Food for thought

An amazing friend of mine recently had a baby boy, who is one year old now (and incredibly adorable). She also recently started a blog called Real House Mom where she writes about the challenges and joys of being a parent. I asked for her permission to republish her latest post, which discusses how and why to make baby food from scratch. So here it is!

I remember getting stressed about how I would transition Bentley to solid foods.  There are so many things to consider: What foods do I start with?  How much should I give him?  Which brand do I trust?

It’s amazing how these things just worked themselves out without me needing to calculate much of anything.  Bentley, like most babies (I’m assuming), was eager to eat solids and easily slipped into a routine of when and how much he ate.  A factor that I firmly believed made things easier was that I pureed his food myself.

It sounds like a laborious task, and yes, chopping sweet potatoes or squash can be extremely tedious, but the benefits are worth it.  First of all, there are no additives to preserve the food.  Also, the food you make on your own is not cooked in mass quantities like store bought food, so there is a significantly stronger taste.

You might be thinking, “But I work full-time, there is no way I’d have time for this.”  Well, with that kind of attitude, you most certainly won’t have time.  But think about the benefits for your child and maybe sacrificing a night or two a week won’t seem so bad.  In fact, I know working moms who have done just that and still manage to stay sane.  So, you can do it.  If you want to.

You might also be thinking, “Ugh…I hate cooking.”  I had that exact feeling.  I still don’t like to cook.  But making food for Bentley was more like a project than a chore.  I also felt a great sense of pride and accomplished when I was done…and it was an even better feeling if he liked the food!

I normally made two batches of food over the course of two nights per week.  Different foods require different amounts of time, but usually the entire process was 90 minutes (this includes peeling & chopping, which can take a long time for a novice like me). Here is a breakdown of the cooking process:

  • Wash, peel (if needed), & chop food
  • Steam/boil food (a steamer is best, but I boiled my food)
  • Transfer food to a blender & puree (some people use a heavy duty machine…I have a blender)
  • Pour pureed mix into ice cube tray, freeze overnight
  • Dump cubes in a freezer safe ziplock bag, keep frozen until use

See???  It’s not that bad.  As your child gets older and becomes a pro eater, the recipes can get more complicated, but they also get more fun (and tasty).  Making your child’s food is truly a labor of love.

As a result of this process, I am very passionate about skipping the “Graduate” foods altogether. Nick and I have not made a single baby food purchase (besides rice cereal), and we don’t think Bentley is missing out.  The baby food industry would probably hate me for saying this, but your child does not need that stuff…he/she can eat whatever you’re eating as long as it’s not a choking or allergy hazard.

If making food isn’t for you (and I understand not everyone wants to do this), please make sure you read the nutrition labels.  I was disgusted when I compared “Banana Yogurt Bites” (made for babies) to dried banana chips (made for kids/adults).  The yogurt bites listed “sugar” before “banana puree” whereas the chips had one ingredient: bananas.

And remember, you are what you eat.  Your child is depending on YOU to make him the best he can be.

Image via mush: homemade baby food, which seems like a pretty cool blog as well