Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adventures with baby food

When it comes to baby food and Lil Bee, this is probably the most research I've done since I found out there was a Baby Bee! In the end, it was a lot of trial and error haha.

By 4 months, he was sitting with support and we were cleared by the pediatrician to introduce baby foods. I read all the recommendations from Baby 411 and everything I could find online as far as just how to introduce solids (waiting 4 days before introducing more foods, make sure to wait when Baby Bee was ready, etc). His first foods were rice cereal, pouches of fruit, and containers of baby vegetables. The recommended list of Stage 1 foods and all of the rules were very difficult to follow, much less understand. By the time we went back for Baby Bee's six month checkup and talked to the pediatrician about solid foods again, I was convinced I had spent the last two months overfeeding my child. Ooooops....

Then I found Weelicious (blog-turned-cookbook). **Granted, you absolutely do not need to buy a baby cookbook. It's really pretty simple to make baby food: 1) steam, 2) puree, 3) serve.** However, Weelicious does contain all spiffy tips and tricks on traveling with and feeding a baby (avocados and bananas are now my go to travel baby foods!) as well as suggestions on baby's first foods and recipes for the whole family. 

When I realized just how easy (and affordable) it was to make food for Baby Bee, I started pureeing everything I could get my hands on, fresh or frozen! (Seriously, there were times I opened up mystery containers in the freezer and thought I could puree that!) I basically had all the tools that I needed: a food processor (in my case a Magic Bullet), a pot, and a colander. After reading multiple Pinterest pins on "how to make your own baby food", I also bought this and these. And believe me, not all of my cooking adventures worked. (Pureed blueberries and instant oatmeal might sound appetizing but it looks absolutely disgusting- trust me on this one. Also pineapple chunks don't puree- they turn to juice... ) But it's been really fun trying things out!

My process for cooking vegetables: 
  1. Peel and chop into similar sized chunks, while boiling water in a large pot.
  2. Place a metal colander like this into the large pot and throw the vegetables in there. (that way you're cooking using more of a 'double boiler' method.) 
  3. Throw the steamed food into the food processor. Add some of the cooking liquid in there to help during the puree-ing (I shredded the silicone ring for my Magic Bullet because I failed to do this). 
  4. Pour the puree into the freezer tray. Cool in the refrigerator then toss into the freezer. The next day, I popped out the 1 oz portions into a plastic formula container or freezer safe Ziploc bag. I made sure to label and date the food too so there was no guessing game later. 
  5. Whenever I needed to feed Baby Bee, I took out a couple of frozen puree cubes out and microwaved them in one of those tiny Corningware ramekins that no one really seems to use anyway. 

Tips to keep in mind: (also see the Weelicious website)
1) There are the "dirty dozen" but there are also the "clean 15". (A list of the Environmental Working Group's 45 fruits and vegetables can be found here.) When it comes to making food for your little one, it makes sense to go organic whenever possible for fruits and vegetables with the heaviest pesticide load but you also don't have to buy all organic when you really don't need to. 
2) Always follow basic food safety whenever you're making your own baby food. Remember whether or not it is made from organic sources, there are no preservatives in homemade baby food. So do whatever it takes to avoid food poisoning for your little one! Prepare it and cool to room temperature (but never on the kitchen counter) then stick that into the freezer as soon as possible. Same with thawing- put them in the refrigerator or in the microwave but never out on the counter.

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