You Want Me to Eat What?!
The Joy (yes, the joy) of Making Your Own Baby Food
by Theresa Sirois aka NurturingtheNaturalMama
I don’t like to follow rules. I eat tuna fish and deli meat and sushi when
I’m pregnant, I enjoy a glass of wine when I’m nursing, and I certainly
don’t follow the baby solid-food charts you find at every doctors office and
I nursed both my babies until they were 6 months. Both of them were
supplemented with formula. I was willing to nurse longer with the second,
but she peetered out just like her brother had. For me, who had spent six
months ‘making’ their food, it did not ever make sense to then suddenly
switch to pre made, processed, sodium-ridden jarred items. In fact, I was
a little disheartened when I learned that our WIC vouchers included less
produce and instead provided canned baby food. Hmph! But alas, beggars can’t
While the jars remain on perpetual stand-by for packed lunches on daycare
days, our mini food processor has been very busy, several times a day, for
about 3 months now.
So HOW do you make your own baby food?
1. Purchase mini food processor (no need to buy expensive baby varieties if you ask me).
2. Buy your regular groceries, and just set aside a small portion at each meal to puree for your baby.
Easy, right? So you’re probably wondering....
What should my baby eat?
Around 6 months is when you could start introducing solid foods. You want to
start simple to ensure you have a smooth enough consistency, and to make sure
they are not allergic to the food you are using. Both my babies started with
apples, bananas, brown rice, oatmeal, prunes, and pears. I would puree each
one with some breast milk or formula, and set aside the extra in a reusable
Now comes the FUN part! Adding texture and tastes! :) After about a month, I
started mixing it up a bit! Who would want to eat the same thing day in and
day out? 7-9 months I start adding cinnamon and/or nutmeg to her oatmeal and fruit. I
use any canned or fresh fruit I have in the house. And of course, depending
on the type of fruit and how your baby is eating, you may be able to skip the
food processor step and just fork mash or cut into bite size pieces. Items
like organic applesauce, canned pumpkin, yogurt, bananas, avacados, soft
tofu, canned beets and black beans are all great arms-reach choices that can
be fork mashed or fed immediately.
My babies were both around 8 months when they started wanting to hold and
suck on the whole banana, and mouth some hummus on wheat bread. At this
point, it’s also fun to experiment with things like wheat pasta, couscous,
sweet potatos, scrambled eggs etc.
And I LOVE to experiment with flavors! Check out some of the fun lunch/dinner
options baby A has indulged in recently:
-couscous with feta cheese
cook couscous following package instructions. once finished, add a tspn of
olive oil, and toss with a fork. add in some crumbled feta cheese. top with a
hint of basil.
-wheat pasta with sauce and ricotta cheese (or you can substitute cottage cheese)
boil wheat pasta (I used mini elbows) following package instructions. Once
drained, add organic marinara sauce (or sauce of choice). shave in about ½
carrot and toss with 1 tspn of olive oil. add some crumbled ricotta cheese.
-SWEET sweet potato
bake a sweet potato and add butter, 1 tbspn dark brown sugar, and 1 tbspn
maple syrup. Serve with a side of plain organic yogurt.
What if I don’t want to make two meals?
Totally fine, and understandable! The JOY? You don’t have to! For example,
baby A is almost 9 months old. This morning, I was eating a wheat waffle
and a banana. I gave her a some water in her bottle at the high chair, and
let her gnaw on ½ the banana while I waited for part of my waffle to become
saturated in strawberry jam. At which time I cut it into little bite size
pieces and fed them to her. My breakfast and hers complete.
Dinner can be super easy too. If what you’re having is not conducive to
cutting up into small mushy pieces, throw a small portion of it right into
your food processor! Having rice and tacos? Take a couple tbspns of rice,
a tbspn of meat/veggie crumbles, and tspn of any of your toppings (salsa,
tomatoes, avacados, beans, etc) and pulse for 1-2 minutes, then spoon or
fork feed. YUM. You’re exposing them to some fabulous textures, as well as
tastes and spices! yum! (skip the jalepenos-we’re not talking THAT spicy!)
You can follow the same rule for any meal you’re having, a little bit of
everything can get tossed into the processor and away you go-no two meals
Over 12 months?
Here’s where I tend to butt heads with other parents and professionals. At 12
months, if they’re not already, they can feed themselves ALMOST anything. My
son at this age was eating things like; oatmeal (real oatmeal, rolled oats)
with fruit and honey, Kashi Heart to Heart cereal, tofu dogs (cut into bite
size pieces), veggie burgers (cut into bite size pieces), whole bananas,
whole apples, whole grapes, any berries, firm tofu, etc.
And I am lazy, and/or impatient. I do not take the skin off produce. Nor will
I cut up anything smaller than finger. (For example, I had friends that were
cutting their kids grapes in half!) Sorry, not this mama.
Anything is free game to me at this point, with the exception of 2 things.
I have a perpetual fear of my kids choking (no idea why) so I save raisins
and nuts for closer to 24 months. But at 12 months, my kiddos enjoy hummus
sandwiches, anything on the grill (fish, veggie burgers, steak, chicken,
zucchini, summer squash, portabello mushrooms, etc.), honey, peanut butter,
Nutella, Tahini paste (yummy on toast!), fruits, veggies, cheese, yogurt,
etc. I also stop formula at this point (since I’m no longer nursing) and
switch to Soy or raw milk. My kiddos get any additional vitamins that that
fabricated powder, also known as formula, claims to provide from their
Overall mamas, my point is this: EXPOSE your kids to different foods. Older
infants and toddlers can eat Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian... have them
try a host of flavors and textures and spices. And it doesn’t have to be
expensive, it might teach you to eat better too! Our family of 5, has a
budget of about $70-100/ wk for groceries. That is not a lot. I use the
smaller carts, and always ensure that at least half my cart is produce
(whether it be fresh, frozen, or canned). The remaining half should consist
of other WHOLE foods like wheat pasta, wheat bread, dairy, eggs, meat, etc.
We will also buy veggie burgers and tofu dogs or veggie bologna for quick and
easy daycare lunches :)
And exposing your kids to different foods, also means having FUN. When we
grocery shop-we do our best to purchase whole foods. That being said, my
kiddos have enjoyed a munchkin here and there, as well as a McDonald’s Happy
Meal (oh calm down! I do the chicken nuggets and apple dippers with milk!).
Anyways, the point is that you have FUN with food, so your kids will grow up
to embrace food, while also having a healthy respect for correct portioning
and nourishing choices.