I freely admit to knowing next to nothing about babies before having one my own, but one thing I did know was that when the time came I wanted to make my own baby food. I prepare Ben’s and my food everyday, so why should it be any different for my sweet baby boy?
First a little background: we attempted rice cereal when Lincoln was 4 months old but whether he was too young, or rice cereal just wasn’t for him, it didn’t agree with his tummy. We waited two months then tried again with Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal, which you can find in all major grocery/baby stores. Ding, ding, ding, we had a winner and have been serving it to him ever since.
After figuring out the iron-fortified grains, we started incorporating real foods into his diet in addition to oatmeal. I can’t tell you how excited I was for that day to come – it was so hard to wait 6 months! Ben wanted to feed him spring rolls but I suggested we start with sweet potatoes, which has remained his favorite food to date.
We started with 1 Tablespoon pureed food with dinner then gradually added more volume and variety. After a few weeks, we gave him real foods with breakfast as well. Around 8 months, we added a small lunch. Right now, at 9 months, Lincoln eats real food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to oatmeal at breakfast and dinner.
Now, what do I mean by “real food”? I mean REAL FOOD! Here’s the pureed and/or chopped foods he’s currently chowing down on:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans
- Butternut squash – we get those giant clamshells from Costco
- Black beans
- Eggs, usually scrambled
- Well-cooked pasta
- Summer squash
- Salmon sauteed in olive oil
(Lincoln has shown signs of a dairy intolerance so right now we are not feeding him cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt, which are typical in the diets of a 9 month old. I have not had to cut dairy out of my diet though.)
Currently Lincoln prefers finger foods over pureed foods (seriously kind of a divo about it!) but that certainly wasn’t always the case. As the title of this post implies, I made all his baby food using a blender starting at 6 months and I’m going to show you how to make homemade baby food too. Here’s what you need – I’m sure you have most if not all of the supplies already!
- A big pot to steam food in
- A steamer basket to steam food on
- Ice cube trays to freeze baby food in
- A strainer for extremely pulpy/fibrous foods
- Blendtec Designer Series Blender + Twister Jar
Start by choosing the food you want to puree. Soft foods like pears and avocados you can blend without cooking, but harder foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, green beans, etc, you’ll need to prep first by washing, peeling if necessary, then chopping.
Add a couple inches of water to a big soup pot then place a steamer basket inside. Bring the water to a boil then add the raw food to the steamer basket and place a lid on top. Turn the heat down to medium and then steam until tender. How long will that take? Well, it depends on what you’re cooking and how small you chopped it, but foods like sweet potato and butternut squash could take 10 minutes, while peas and green beans will take just 3 or 4.
Pop the steamed food into a blender then add enough water from the pot to blend until smooth, or breast milk if you’ve got extra on hand. These juicy pears didn’t need anything at all!
Blend the food until smooth – I use the “smoothie” setting on my Blendtec – then pour into ice cube trays.
If the puree is thick, like avocado, scrape into a Zilock baggie then cut the tip off and squeeze into ice cube trays. Cover with plastic wrap, I like Glad Press’n’Seal wrap, then freeze.
FYI – homemade baby food is measured in “cubes” which is 2 Tablespoons (1oz) a cube, aka 1 standard-size ice cube. Do not be tempted to buy cheap-o ice cube trays, by the way. I guarantee they’ll snap in half after your second time using them then you’ll just have to buy another set. Spend an extra couple of dollars for thick plastic ones like these or if it’s in the budget, splurge for silicone ice cube trays.
Once the cubes are frozen, pop ’em out then stash in freezer bags. Heat in the microwave or thaw in the fridge overnight if that’s how you roll. Either way – that’s it!
I know a lot of Moms and Dads go on food making benders on the weekends, making a month’s worth of food in one afternoon, but I prefer to make batches here and there. It fits my schedule better…and my freezer!
To recap: wash, peel, chop, steam, blend. Easy peasy. You can totally do it!
Don’t be afraid to blend foods that aren’t “obvious” either, like soups (my sister-in-law religiously blended my Homemade Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup for my niece,) and steamed or sauteed meat. Pureed chicken, sweet potato, and green bean cubes, anyone? Lincoln is on the tiny side so I have been adding a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to his reheated purees, too! As always, make sure you are feeding your child age-appropriate baby food and check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. My biggest piece of advice is don’t rush the process. Your baby will eat real food when he or she is ready so don’t force it.
- Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. They’re just as healthy as fresh, and are frozen at the peak of ripeness. I buy frozen organic peas, green beans, and spinach then steam them according to package directions before blending.
- Buy store-bought when it makes sense. Nobody says that since you make some of your own baby food that you have to make all of it. I feed Lincoln store-bought organic unsweetened applesauce cups, which are the perfect portion size, as well as chopped peach/pear cups packed in 100% juice. Avoid the chopped fruits that are packed in syrup at all costs!
- Mix foods in the blender after you know your child isn’t allergic or have an aversion to it. I used to only blend/freeze foods by themselves, but found myself opening 3 or 4 bags of food cubes to mix up his dinner. Now I blend sweet potatoes and green beans together, for example, and only have to open 1 bag to make a meal.
Now go forth, and blend your own baby food!
Blendtec Blender Giveaway!
Having my Blendtec Blender for making baby food has been invaluable. I tried making purees in my food processor at first but the food just never got smooth enough. The Blendtec whips everything I throw into it until it’s silky and whippy – and does it fast. Heck, it’s so appetizing that I sometimes sneak a swipe or two out of the blender for myself!
Blendtec would like Moms and Dads out there to experience the same blended bliss as I have, so they’re giving away a certified refurbished Designer Series Blender plus a Twister Jar for small batches to one IGE reader! (Note: I have the signature series blender, not the designer series which is why they look different.)
Enter to win the Blendtec Designer Series Blender plus a Twister Jar by using the voting widget below (may not work in Internet Explorer.) To enter, click the “+1″ button then click “Enter” by 12pm central time on Friday, May 9th. Gain an additional entry by Liking Blendtec on Facebook. Good luck!
*** PLEASE NOTE: the voting widget below may take up to a minute to load and may not work in Internet Explorer. The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and will be contacted directly via email. ***
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