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Homemade baby food.

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Okay, I was on the General Board asking about the best organic baby food brands, and virtually everyone told me to make my own. Various books and techniques were recommended, but I thought this might be the proper board for homemade baby food recipes, tips etc.

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  1. You can make virtually anything by cooking it and pureeing it in the food processor. My grandaughters had the experience of homemade baby food by a nanny who cooks everything with garlic.LOL.

    1. It's easy. You can control ingredients, organic content, seasoning, salt (or not), sweetening etc. You can also control portion size by freezing in whatever size works for your baby. We used to make several foods at a time, freeze in ice cube trays, pop out and save in freezer bags for later use. Good luck. (Our kids are now 31, 25, 22, and 20)

      1. This site has a lot of info, recipe ideas and sample weekly menus:

        http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/

        I made a lot of baby food for my daughter and some of it she loved and some of it she didn't. I used ice cube trays to freeze it in portions (each cube is about an ounce), then, once frozen, I popped them into freezer bags. Then, I'd defrost/warm them in the microwave. It was only a wee bit less convenient than opening a jar of commercially made food. I'd buy a few jars of commercially made food to take with us if we were going somewhere (no refridg. necessary until it's opened).

        You may want to spend a little money on a food mill, which would remove skins and make the purees a bit smoother. Two things that doesn't really puree smoothly are green beans and peas.

        Once thing she loved as a baby was fresh avocados, so give that a try. Also, once she started finger foods, edamame was (and still is) a favorite.

        1. cook and puree-easy--veggies and fruits-apple sauce-peas,carrots,turnips,sweet potatoes,good for baby

          1. I'd just like to add that once they get a few teeth, babies don't need pureed food. My neice just turned one (the week before Xmas) and she's been eating "regular" food (diced up small) for months. Her parents steam or roast veggies until they're pretty soft, and cut up fruit, meat and cheese. She likes to chew on baguettes, and she even eats cottage cheese with her hands. It sure makes meal time easier (if a bit messy) if the baby can feed herself, rather than sitting there trying to force a spoon into her mouth!

            I think eating real food and being able to feed herself has helped her develop into quite the little chowhound -- you should have seen her at our December family birthday dinner (three generations of birthdays): she was grabbing radicchio out of my Mom's salad (I think she must have liked the color) and happily stuffing polenta and lasagne (with white truffle oil!) into her mouth.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Agreed, mine was initially totally disinterested in being spoon fed but started picking up and feeding herself small pieces of fruit, etc, around 8 months. Now at 13 months she eats pretty much everything we eat (in small pieces) with her fingers. Last night that was a whole wheat pasta bake with hot italian sausage and rapini. She will tolerate spoon feeding of yummy things like yogurt, but not of boring purees.

              So basically I found the baby cookbook someone kindly gave us totally useless. Do you know how to cook and then puree food? You're good.

              1. re: julesrules

                Yeah, I think the most useful part of the baby book was ideas about how to introduce new foods and other feeding techniques. Actually, I think the most helpful thing in Super Food was the suggestion that meal time be about eating -- I think too many people try to coax their babies into a good mood at meal times by offering them toys and other stuff, when they should be concentrating on food. Again, letting the baby feed herself as soon as she shows any interest in it makes it more interesting for the baby as well: it becomes an active experience rather than a passive one where they sit and are fed. Of course, babies are all different -- my neice is definitely the kind of baby who picks things up and puts them in her mouth. On the other hand, my housemate's son (born and raised in my house) was much less likely to do that (we baby proofed the cupboards, which turned out to be completely unnecessary, since he never got into things).

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Some babies have stronger gag reflexes and this apparently affects how well they handle solids as well. And I probably shouldn't be so dismissive of baby cookbooks in general, it was The Baby's Table that I really found a useless guide to pureeing.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    You are so right. Babies put things in their mouths. Better it should be good food. I popped mine in the high chair while I was cooking and put bits of things on the tray. Watching the concentration as they worked to pick it up and get it into their mouths was so funny. Sometimes it went in the ear or on the floor but it amused them as well as getting them to try just about everything. Doing it at their own pace makes them less likely to gag.
                    We pulled the chair up to the dinner table with us too. Monkey see, monkey do. If the adults eat everything, so will a child. Our kids always ate pretty much what we have eaten. Our mealtimes are about food and conversation. No toys, no TV, no answering the telephone.

              2. Check out "super baby food" and the Baby Bistro Cookbook.
                I made about 90% of the "baby food" I gave my twins who are now 4 and I also have a 9 month old whose food I pretty much make on my own. This past summer, I went to the Farmers Market and bought tons of fresh organic produce and pureed or steamed and pureed and froze in ice cube trays and stored them in zipper bage. My 9 month old has a tooth and is now eating meatballs I made with organic beef as well as lots of organic yogurt and mashed fruits and veggies. Yesterday I made chicken soup and saved some of the chieckn and veggies for him. The "baby food" stage isn't too long-- 2-3 months. Also, when I was at Whole Foods last week, I noticed that they had refrigerated organic baby food.

                2 Replies
                1. re: roxhills

                  My only complaint with super baby food is that it is SO anti-meat eating (and this is feedback from a vegetarian). The book has good information on cooking baby food from scratch, but be prepared for a heavy dose of prosletyzing.

                  1. re: Smokey

                    i agree. it is off teh deep end in a lot of ways the part I thought was most helpful was the breakdown of which foods are good at what ages. But, I loaned my copy to a friend who moved away last year so with this baby, I am winging it.

                2. here's a samll portable mill you can take anyhwere. Iv'e given it as a bay shower gift and have had lots of positive feedback.

                  http://www.happybabyproducts.com/kidc...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    Wow! Can't believe that's still around! I had one of those for my kids decades ago. I was a big believer in their eating what we ate from the get-go. With reservations of course for really spicy, way out things. At home, I could easily mash or puree things but that little grinder was easy to carry with us on trips or to restaurants until they were old enough to cope with real food. I'd just pop it into a plastic bag, take it home to clean later.

                  2. I was always too poor to buy baby food so I use to make most of it myself. I would freeze any and all veggies that we ate at dinner - I never even really pureed them in a blender. I would just mash up squash or sweet potatoes or peas and then freeze in ice cube trays. Then according to how much your child ate use either one or two cubes. I would either heat them over a water bath (pre microwave era) or I would just take enough cubes out of the freezer for all the days meals for the baby. Much like I do with my frozen foods for dinner that night. The benefit of doing it this way was my children grew up eating all kinds of veggies that most kids would never touch. They eat asparagus, broccoli, spinach, avocados, artichokes, you name it they eat it. For meats if I didn't cut into miniscule pieces the steak, beef, chicken, lamb or fish we were eating I would occassionally substitute with jarred babyfood meats.

                    1. Since you're giving a present, this isn't a baby food suggestion but something you might be able to give. Once the baby hits early toddler age, you cut everything to bite sized pieces, and it's time consuming. A friend of mine carried a small pair of scissors in a holder in her purse and she'd just cut the food into little pieces. It took no time at all. She'd just wipe it after use and then clean it at home. You could include a small pair of scissors w/ an explanation.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        combi makes a little set called "mommy's food processor" that comes in its own small portable plastic box. it fits in my purse. it's a spoon with a flat bottom for mashing, and plastic tong-like scissors for cutting into small pieces. very convenient and cute to boot.

                        my chowbaby is already showing signs of growing into quite the foodie (she goes nuts over daikon radish, pasta with pesto sauce, hummus, spicy chili and miso marinated black cod). she has not had a pureed food in her life, and certainly nothing from a box or jar. she was exclusively breastfed until she was 8 months old, at which time she started to be able to pick up food with her fingers. her first food was a juicy, yummy, incredible ripe summer peach that i cut into small pieces for her. avocados and bananas are a great first food, just mash it up or cut into small pieces and let them go to town. my daughter still gets 90% of her nutrition from breastmilk as a 14 month old but will taste everything we put in front of her and she really enjoys it.

                        one caveat about the super baby food book...the portion sizes in there are insanely large, imho.

                        1. re: mermaidsd

                          Aww, "chowbaby." I'm gonna steal that, Mermaidsd.

                      2. This is quite funny. I guess I must be one of those people who didn't grow up with baby food. Like many traditional families the concept of baby food as a separate entity just doesnt...click.
                        That being said, I do remember that my family serve a lot of 'mushy' food to babies - rice porridge (I think risotto would be excellent as well) and mashed bananas were always perennial favs, and so were soup and sweet potatoes. In fact, it was basically regular food but cut up smaller and cooked more thoroughly.
                        I dont know if this helps at all. I think just avoiding overly pungent stuff and overly bitter/salty/empty calorie food and you'll be fine.

                        1. Oy! I liked to keep it simple for my son when he was little. Used the back of a spoon to mash bananas (the easiest to travel baby food), gave him mashed sweet potatos and mango.

                          Many table foods can be easily mashed. But just because a baby has a few teeth doesn't mean baby cannot choke on certain foods. A good rule of thumb (pun intended) is if the food is the size of your babies little finger it is just the right size to occlude her airway and cause choking. So no peanuts, popcorn, even raisins hard stuff for the under 3 set. Even peanut butter can stick to the back of the throat and cause problems.

                          I am a working mom, so all the elaborate pureeing and making special foods for my babe didn't work for me. Simple "smashed foods" and yes even mashed table foods went a long way.

                          Breast fed babies already get a wonderful sampling of flavors and smells through mama's breast milk. So a little variety is wonderful for them once they get to the solid food stage (my kid was a boobie boy for nearly three years).

                          I just say no to the commercial stuff- costs too much and really smells (and tastes) horrible. I haven't been all that impressed with the "designer organic baby foods" either.

                          Messy is good with babies, they love to try out feeding themselves. So I just put down a plastic mat under the high chair and let my son have "fun with his food." Babies do a lot of exploration with their mouths and hands- why not let them do it with edible stuff?

                          1. Have you checked out http://weelicious.com/?
                            Amazing easy, fast and fresh baby food recipes, feeding tips and more!

                            1. Hi there! I have another website for you that has recipes for homemade baby food...it's "less cluttery" than some of the other websites and easier to navigate...

                              www.nurture-baby.com

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: aimeesmom

                                Hi chowhound parents, I just started to add legumes (unsalted organic canned) or meat to make all-in-one meals for our baby. Some favorite combinations:

                                sweet potato, kidney beans, apple.
                                potato, white cannellini beans, peaches.
                                black beans, polenta, spinach
                                organic chicken thighs, millet, carrots.
                                organic grass-fed beef, barley, sweet potato.
                                hard-boiled eggs, cereal, whole milk yogurt.

                                I'm on a mission to find good iron-rich foods and am thinking of ways to use more legumes and grains like quinoa and millet next. Any homemade recipes ideas are appreciated.

                                1. re: vicki_vale

                                  funny post, I recently did a detox and it required me to boil veggies and puree them in the blender for dinner. Hilarious that i actually did this but, in the midst of the detox I was like, I am totally going to make my baby's food in the future (god willing I have a baby in the future). It is very easy. I made lots of veggie combination "soups". One that tasted o.k. was cauliflower and broccoli. You simply boil veggies until soft and then strain out the veggies, put veggies in blender, add some of the cooking water, like 1/2 cup, and puree a few minutes. Easy and cheap! Cauliflower is like $3 a head and broccoli was like $3 this made 4 huge bowls of "soup". Buy organic and still save money.

                              2. have you ever tasted the jarred earths best stuff....really if your not gonna eat it why would (should) your baby
                                I make everything for my little one and did with my first (and I work)
                                Do it in bulk, freeze it in bpa free containers (be careful about ice cube trays)

                                1. http://www.thedailymeal.com/25-homema...