Making Baby Food :: What You Need to Know to Get Started

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Before my babies were born, I was certain that I was going to make my own baby food. Then the babies were actually born, and it never really took off. It was much easier to buy the pureed baby food at the grocery store than to do hours of research on recipes.

I quickly changed my mind again when I browsed the local farmer’s market with my family. My babies were 10 or 11 months old at the time and had eaten most of the produce on display. What was stopping me from serving it to them?

This is my experience in making my own baby food. Hopefully some other moms can benefit from what I’ve learned!

Making baby food for twins is a bit of work!
Elle and June, ready to eat!

Making Your Own Baby Food

Benefits

The most obvious benefit is that you know what is going inside! Sure, the baby food at the grocery store says what’s inside, but sometimes there are added preservatives. The food — in theory — could have been on the shelf for months. When you get the raw produce from the store or farmer’s market, you know it is fresh.

Process

Making baby food is a tiny bit more complicated than just throwing a bunch of fruits and vegetables into the blender. Some foods will need to be prepared beforehand. For example, a baby just getting the hang of solid food will not be able to handle a raw sweet potato or raw carrot. Some foods will need to be boiled, steamed, or otherwise cooked before going into the blender.

As a practical matter, many things that go into the blender will need some sort of liquid to fully mix. The smaller the baby, the more liquid-like the food will need to be. When babies are younger, you can add formula or breastmilk to thin out the food. As my babies got older, I would even add just enough juice for it to mix in the blender.

Younger babies first exploring solid food will need to try single foods one at a time. This will help to determine if there is an allergy or intolerance. If the baby has an issue, then the particular food should be avoided.

As babies get older, foods can be combined once it is determined that they do not have an intolerance. The blend can also start being coarser and thicker as they continue to get used to solid food. If the food isn’t naturally thick, then there are ingredients that will help thicken the mixture. I have seen rice, oatmeal, and chia seeds used as natural thickeners.

Tips and Tricks

I am by no means saying that pre-made, store-bought food is bad and should be avoided. Everyone’s experience will be different. My babies probably have more store-bought food than anything, but I do try to make them some food when we are able to get something fresh. That said, I also use store-bought food as inspiration and influence for my baby food combinations.

If I see a baby food combination that is age-appropriate, then I try to replicate it if we have the materials.

Homemade Baby Food
Fresh homemade baby food.

As far as storage is concerned, my family uses the Kiinde system. We like it because it is very versatile and has different tops that can be used with bottle feeding and solid food. Plus, it is easy to transfer the blended food from the blender to bags. There are several different products out there — everyone’s mileage will vary!

When storing baby food, it is important to label food both with the type of food and the date it was packaged. This will help show when the food may go bad. I additionally put my babies’ names on the containers because I have twins, and this helps me keep up! If the food isn’t served immediately, it will have to go into the refrigerator or freezer.

My Experience

Just about anything, as long as it is age-appropriate, can be blended into baby food. As long as you follow the proper guidelines, your baby can have the same fresh food as you. Making baby food from scratch does take some time, but it is worth it knowing you made it yourself!

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Kristina is an Alabama native who came to Birmingham in 2005 for college (has it really been 15 years?!). She had lived in Muscle Shoals her whole life up until that point. After graduating from UAB in 2009 with a degree in journalism and a minor in music, she married Paul in 2011. Paul has worked in the tech industry since 2009. Kristina has had several jobs in the area - everything from banking, veterinary medicine and receptionist. She most recently worked from home as low-level tech support. Kristina and Paul had the biggest surprise of their lives when they went in for the first 8-week ultrasound and found out that they were expecting "spontaneous" twins! Everything was going to change already, but they had to multiply it by two! Two girls, Elle and June, were born in July 2019 and nothing has been the same since. Kristina is now a stay-at-home mom to Elle and June and it has been the most rewarding job of all! Kristina, Paul, Elle and June make home in Alabaster, where you can usually find them on the weekends. They like going around to the things in the area, such as shopping and going on walks in the park. The babies are famous - neither Kristina or Paul can go anywhere alone without people asking about the twins!

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