So, yes, I am back from my temporary blogging hiatus. Needless to say, three weeks in Florida, Christmas, birthdays, and recovering from my three weeks in Florida didn’t leave me much free time! Liam is on the go, walking with assistance, and getting into just about everything. He loves emptying out the lid drawer, playing with onions, and splashing in the dog bowl (the latter of which I immediately remove him from). Although he is still breastfeeding often, we have been experimenting with all kinds of foods these past few months. Ok, well, not ALL kinds of foods.
We have stayed away from milk, honey, nuts, processed food, and sugar (I know, all the fun stuff, right?) but other than that, its a go. So far, I have been able to meet all of his nutritional requirements without relying on Gerber, Earths Best, or Infamil. Everything he’s eaten has come from myself, the ground, or an animal. Pretty simple, huh? Well I don’t think Gerber would want you to know that.
When most people think about baby food the first thing that probably comes to thier minds are those tiny little jars filled with mashed…..well, just about anything. Baby food companies can get just about ANY food, plant, or animal to resemble a very similar colored mash of slop. I was walking down that isle in the grocery store and thought to myself, hmm…yellow chicken? Interesting. When most people have kids, they have been so used to seeing that food in cute little jars at the grocery store, they automatically start purchasing it by the truck load when their infants are ready to eat. Its starts with the neatly cellophane-wrapped cereal, then to the baby food “stage 1”, then onto “stage two”, and so on. Each stage with a bit more chunks and less mash. What many people don’t stop to realize is that food is food. It doesn’t need to be packaged and labeled “baby food” in order for your kid to be able to eat it. You want to feed your kid some bananas (typically a good first food)?? Buy bananas and mash them up! While I agree, not all foods are as easy to feed your baby as bananas, most take a just little prep and a lotta love 🙂
So if you’re still not convinced and think making your own baby food is not up your ally, I have highlighted some very brief, yet compelling reasons why you should start.
1. You will save money. With the economy in dire straits, who doesn’t need to save a little? A 2oz. jar of baby food costs between .50 cents to 1 dollar. A box of rice cereal runs about $3. Do you know how much rice cereal $3 of rice would make?? A ton! Typically I can get about two pounds of organic rice for three bucks. Conventional is even cheaper. Since rice doubles when you cook it, that adds up to be a lot of baby cereal! When you buy packaged food, you are paying for the jar, the box, the the cost of processing, and the marketing. When you make it yourself, you pay for the food.
2. It’s simple. You don’t have to be Emeril Lagasse to make your own baby food. In fact, you don’t even have to be Rachel Ray. If you can boil, mash, and blend, you can make baby food. All you really need is a pot and a blender and you are good to go. I will admit that there are a few luxury items such as a seed grinder, a book, extra ice cube trays, and a portable food mill that I purchased, but they are totally not necessities. The seed grinder I just really wanted anyways and while Cathe Olsen’s Natural Baby Food is great, there are many free websites with a lot of the same information.
3. Its better for your baby. You want your baby to get the most nourishment and vitamins from their food right? Well by making your own food, you get more nutrients per tablespoon of baby food. Processing not only adds a ton of garbage (salt, sugar, “natural” flavors, etc), to your food, but the process itself takes nutirents AWAY from your food. In order to kill bacteria, the food is heated up to exprememly high temperatures so that it can be jarred. While killing the bacteria is good, it also kills a lot of the good stuff as well. This is why many companies artificially add vitamins after the processing. With homemade food, you know and can control every ingredient that is going into your baby’s food.
4. They can and WILL eat more stuff! When you are controlling what goes into their food, you can feed them just about anything you eat. SInce Liam is still young, he hasn’t been exposed to a ton of stuff, but I have fed him kelp, quinoa, swiss chard, goat cheese, flax seeds, and eggplant. Try finding that stuff in your baby food isle!
Rice Cereal for Infants by Cathe Olsen
Place 1/2 cup brown rice in 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until rice is very soft. Its okay if water is not completely absorbed. Puree in blender. Refridgerate or freeze extra. (this is what the ice cube tray are for!)
Place 1 pear and 1 apple (both peeled and diced) in 1/2 cup water and simmer over low heat untill soft. Add more water if necessary. Puree or mash.
Squash and Peas
Place 2 cups of peeled and cubed winter squash and 1/2 cup peas in a pan with 1 inch of water. Cover and simmer on low heat until soft. Puree or mash
Remember, it is baby food, so you can mix just about anything! Experiment with different food and have fun!