Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baby Food Solutions

With five in our family to feed I hate going to the baby aisle and buying the baby his own specialized food at higher prices so I do what I can to incorporate our food into his diet. Here's a few things I do:

1. Buy large jars of no sugar added applesauce (not baby food jars). Great for breakfast mixed with baby oatmeal or other homemade foods. My older kids like applesauce too so we keep this stocked.

2. My wonderful mother-in-law bought me a food processor one Christmas. A gift I never knew I needed but LOVE! Not only does it help make meals quickly but I use it all the time for making baby food. I buy the plastic, stackable baby food containers (Parents Choice-Walmart now has some) and then wash them after they've been used. Throw some canned veggies (no sugar or salt added) into the food processor and fill up 3-4 containers and refrigerate. I also buy the large bags of baby carrots at Sam's Club (Costco), great snacks for the rest of us. I cook some, throw them in the food processor with some applesauce (for taste and texture) and he loves it.

3. Mash ripe bananas with water. Good way to get baby use to texture. Mix in some rice cereal or oatmeal to thicken.

4. Munchkin brand sells a "fresh food feeder" with a mesh pocket to allow babies to eat whole foods on their own. It can be a pain to wash but when you're desperate for hands-free time and your baby's craving independent feeding, it can be a life-saver. When my baby's crying for food and I'm trying to make dinner I toss him in the highchair with this contraption. Bananas are easy (killer clean-up though). I also like baking a sweet potato and cutting off chunks to throw in the feeder (if you bake instead of boil, the skin peels right off).

5. Make your own Zwieback Toast by toasting bread until crispy and slicing into strips. When my daughter refuses her crust, I just hand it to the baby (as long as it doesn't have honey, pb, or strawberries on it).

6. Cut fruit, cooked veggies, and hard cheese into tiny pieces for baby to self-feed. My 9-month-old wants real food now and has little patience for the spoon anymore, so this is how we compromise right now, while he eats his tidbits I sneak bites of baby food in (when he opens his mouth for his fistful I stick the spoon in).

7. If I'm trying to get baby to eat a food he doesn't care for (or something new) I give it to him with something I know he loves. So if he has pured turkey I'll serve it with peaches. I alternate bites so he keeps his mouth open in hopes for the peaches. Or I scoop up a little turkey then peaches in the front of the spoon.

What's your baby-feeding secrets? Got a favorite "recipe" or trick?


shayla said...

I hadn't ever thought of blending canned vegetables. Duh!

Because of my laziness, I did just always buy jars of baby food. However, even when he was just starting out, I'd buy the 3rd stage of pureed fruits and vegetables and just split the jar out over a couple of meals. Saved a little money. Not much though.

I agree that those "fresh food feeders" are fabulous. But you're also right when you say they're a nightmare to clean!!

Thanks for all the other great tips. I think I'll be a little more practical next time around.

Robin B said...

I used to puree carrots, apples etc and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then when they were frozen put them in a ziplock bag and then you just thaw and serve. It was great.

raffleckt said...

I use the ice cube trays too.

As for the mesh food bag, two things I do to make cleaning easier are hold it in extra hot running water, & also filling the sink a bit & swishing it very fast.

Any tips for introducing bottles &/or sippy cups? I'm so ready to wean!

Jodi Jean said...

i made a lot of my own baby food too. i have the recipes typed up on my computer and if anyone wants them just email me (its a LARGE file, like 20 pages) my email is on my profile page.

Jodi Jean said...

oh and frozen veggies are better (more vitamins, etc.) than canned.

Samantha said...

When my daughter was about 8 months I got a baby food mill. It's small and non-electric. I would just throw whatever we were having for dinner into the mill, crank the handle, and have instant pureed baby food. It would even do soft cooked meats, like chicken. I could put veggies and fruits in it too for a quick, one serving meal. It was handy when I didn't have time to make a big batch. It was dishwasher safe too. I think the brand was Kidco.