Whether you’ve just welcomed your first baby or you are fifth, making your own baby food is something to seriously consider. There are some really great reasons to make your own baby food, but there are definitely some downsides as well.
Let’s start with the Pros:
- Control over ingredients
- The wide variety of options
- Easier transition to table foods
- Tastes better
- Less expensive
- Less waste
Now for the Cons:
- Planning & preparation
- Storage space
- Less convenient
Given the pros and cons, making your own baby food is definitely something that’s worth giving a try. Even if it turns out that it’s not the best for your family, the investment to get started isn’t very much and the money saved over commercial baby food is high, which means you’ll actually be ahead even if you do end up going to commercial baby food, you’ll still won’t be out much!
Getting Started Making Your Own Baby Food
You really don’t need much to get started making your own baby food. Basically, you’ll need three things:
- A Baby Food Maker (electric or manual)
And of course, you’ll need the actual food that’s in your recipes!
There are recipes to be had all over – in books and online. But really it’s best to stick to simple foods, fruits and vegetables. Here are some great ideas to start with:
- sweet potatoes
- butternut squash
Thin these foods with a bit of breastmilk or formula if need be to reach a texture that’s good for your little one. And don’t be fearful of spices. Nutmeg, a bit of cinnamon, some fresh parsley or thyme are great additions that you baby will love. One of the real advantages to making your own baby food is that you can add those delicious herbs so that the food tastes great! Do stay away from salt, as it’s really not great for your little one.
Now for the actual baby food maker. Here are some of the options out there, both manual and electric.
Electric Baby Food Makers
An immersion blender is a solid choice for baby food making as it really cuts down on the amount of mess! You can cook and blend in one dish.
A mini food processor is ideal for making baby food, as you can make fresh food in small batches. It doesn’t have to be especially for babies, any small food processor will work well.
Using a large food processor means you can make lots of food and freeze it for later! And of course it’s not just for making baby food.
Opting to get it all in one package is an easy way to get started with making your own baby food. Everything that you need is in one place and ready to go!
Manual Baby Food Makers
Baby food isn’t just about purees. In order to offer your child a good variety of foods, try steamed and chopped fruits and veggies. Varying textures are great! Be sure that everything is in small enough pieces to prevent choking and go to town
Once food is cooked, it really doesn’t take much effort to mash it. Manual baby food mills are easy to use and offer easier clean up than their electric partners.
A mash and serve bowl is simple and easy to transport. Keep one in the diaper bag and you can make your own baby food wherever you are. If you’re out a restaurant you can just order a baked sweet potato, mash it up and you’ve got a great lunch for your little one.
Once you’ve made all of this amazing baby food, you’ll need to store it! There are lots of great storage options though you’re certainly not limited to these. It is important to store baby food in serving size portions so that you can have a more convenient way to get to it and also so that you don’t risk cross-contaminating food.
A flexible freezer container allows you to make food and freeze it, then pop it out and into a zipper bag to keep for later. You can keep baby food in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
If you’re making several servings worth, consider storing in a bowl with a lid in the fridge so that you don’t have extra dishes to clean up!
There are also some great storage containers that will allow you to keep baby food in single serve containers corralled in the fridge or the freezer.
Looking for something innovative and that promotes self-feeding? Try some squeeze bags! These are really for slightly older babies, but making them at home means you control what’s in them.
Enjoy Feeding You Baby
Feeding your child shouldn’t be stressful, it should be an experience that you can both share and enjoy. Food is something that we all share, and that is one of the ways that we connect with each other. Making your own baby food is just one way to connect with them, and to share the foods that you like with them!