Practical advice about raising children
KyLynn Hull is a freelance writer who dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl - Bound by the Seasons.
This is our newest addition. His name is Lukas or "Lu" for short. He's six months old and the smiliest little thing you'll ever meet. I wish I could say it was always like this, but we had a rough start when he developed a little thing called colic. After a few dozen tears (on my part) we got through it with flying colors and his charming personality shined through.
It's funny how quickly you move on from those tough times with a newborn. It's like it never happened, and now the fun begins. He is a breast-fed baby, which I'm happy to say has not only gave him a nice nutritional start but also saved us A LOT of money. Recently, we started introducing solids after a recent trip to Idaho visiting my sister. We are a bossy bunch and she demanded to be around for some of his firsts, which included starting him on solid foods. (And this she says after being there when he was born; I would say that was some first!) So we steamed some of his "first" carrots, added some unsalted butter and watched him go to town. It was like he had been eating this stuff his whole life. (Yes, all six months of it!)
I don't like to rush my kid's little lives, but I have to admit I was anticipating this stage because, with my first son, I loved preparing his food and being very specific about what he ate. It was always a family joke about my obsessive ways and the many kidney beans I gave him to snack on. "Kidney beans?" My brother would ask, convinced I was ridiculous. I was a little, but it gave me complete satisfaction to methodically prepare his food and I was really looking forward to doing it again.
The best thing about making your own baby food, besides saving you tons of money, is the fact you know exactly what you're giving them. I like choosing fresh foods and, although I don't always buy organic for my family, I do for my baby. Somewhere down the road later, much later, they'll want their candy fix and some french fries—but right now it's a time for wholesome baby foods.
Fresh pureed carrots. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Adding unsalted butter to carrots actually makes them more nutritious. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Steamed peas ready for a spin. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Homemade baby food recipes are so ridiculously easy. It's a cinch to make enough food ahead of time to store in the refrigerator. I don't spend the time freezing mine for future use, because I make small enough batches. (I think I just like the whole process of preparing the food, so I don't mind making new batches twice weekly.) If this isn't your style, and you would rather make several weeks worth in advance, I'd definitely recommend freezing your homemade baby food.
Now the fun part: exploring homemade baby food. It's a fun process and the opportunities are endless. These could be the easiest and quickest recipes I write, so let's get started. Here are some tried and true wholesome recipes you'll have success with. These are "firsts" for baby when introducing them to solids; down the road you can add some fun stuff like wild salmon, organic chicken and legumes.
Homemade Baby Food Recipes
Note: you can add rice cereal to any recipe with baby's preferred milk. You can also have fun combining the recipes below for a variation, like peas/carrots, avocado/carrot, apples/pears, etc.
Homemade Organic Pureed Carrots
Adding butter to the carrots actually adds nutritional value because it allows the beta-carotene in the carrot to be absorbed.
Unsalted, high-quality butter
Peel carrots and place in a steamer over boiling water; steam until soft and place in food processor or blender. Add a dollop of unsalted butter and blend until soft; add carrot water to thin puree.
Homemade Organic Pureed Peas
Frozen varieties are just as nutritious as fresh.
Bag of frozen, organic peas
Place peas in a steamer over boiling water; steam until soft, add some reserved water or baby's preferred milk and blend each until smooth.
Homemade Organic Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato Puree
Peel and cut in cubes and place in a steamer over boiling water; steam until soft, add some reserved water or baby's preferred milk and blend each until smooth.
Homemade Organic Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree
Note: broccoli loses half of its vitamin C content when boiled; it pays to steam it.
Place in steamer over boiling water; steam until soft, add some reserved water or baby's preferred milk and blend each until smooth.
Smashed Banana, Avocado and Papaya Baby Food
No need to make in advance: these are dandy no-cook, nutritional options.
Half, ripe banana (or avocado or papaya)
Baby's preferred milk
Smash banana in bowl until smooth; add baby's preferred milk to thin.
Homemade Quinoa Baby Food
The best part of making this highly nutritional seed is you can add any above fruit or veggie to add additional flavor.
Box of quinoa
Cook as directed on package. Blend in food processor until smooth. (Now would be the time to add banana, steamed apples, carrots, etc...)