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Feeding baby. The one thing that has stressed me out more than anything else since I became a mom. But like all challenging things, I find a good way to overcome that is to change your mindset. To that effect, I thrive in finding the healthiest, most affordable and most convenient way to feed my 9-month old son. This ends up usually being homemade baby food.
In this post I’m going to talk about how I make 90% of Paxton’s baby food. However, if you aren’t to that stage yet, but breastfeeding exclusively isn’t working out (despite my best efforts I’ve used a lot of formula), check out my previous post on affording baby formula here.
How To Make Homemade Baby Food In 6 Steps
Step 1: Outline Your Goals
When you start your baby food making journey, you want to answer a few questions, so you accomplish what you want with the least amount of money, time and effort. As a mom, I find that all three of those things are in short supply, so I try to conserve them as much as possible.
- Are you planning to use exclusively homemade baby food, or intermix it with store-bought?
- Are you passionate about baby only getting organic food?
- How much freezer real estate do you have available?
- Is baby eating finger foods yet or strictly purees?
- What is baby’s consistency preference?
- Any family history of allergies?
Step 2: Decide How Often You Are Going to Make Homemade Baby Food
You could make fresh baby food every day, but as a working mom, that’s really not practical for me to do. I also know plenty of stay at home moms that don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch for baby every day. If you do, more power to you, but if not, decide how often you are able to make baby food. I plan to make some baby food every other weekend or so. Therefore, I want to make sure there is enough quantity and variety to last a couple weeks. Also consider if baby eats any adult food. My son is to the point where he eats cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc. so I can sub those in instead of homemade food once in a while.
Step 3: Make a Plan
If there are certain things that baby really likes, make them in bulk. This goes back to time-saving. However, for new things, make a small amount until you decide if baby likes it. You should definitely retry things many times, but some of them are just too much of a battle no matter how much you try. You don’t want a freezer full of something that puts you and baby in a bad mood every time you feed it.
I suggest making at least one new food each time, so that you have variety to introduce. Once you have identified a few food baby enjoys, then make these often enough to keep a freezer stash.
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Step 4: Assemble Your Toolkit and Ingredients
When making baby food, you will need cookie sheets for baking, a steaming pot for steaming, containers to freeze food in, and a blender of some type.
I see no reason why someone needs to buy the blenders made specifically for baby food. If you have a ninja, mini ninja, or some type of smoothie blender, then you are set. I use my mini ninja pictured here and it works great! There are plenty of storage things designed for freezing and storing baby food. I have these ones. However, I find that basic ice cube trays with lids from Target work great! I also found these tiny ice cube trays that are great for making things as mix-ins. I’ve made pears and zucchini in these. Paxton eats a solid 2 ounces minimum now, but if you have a younger baby, having smaller cubes allows you to mix a
Once you have everything necessary for making the baby food, you need a way to store the frozen food. If you have a baby food tray or ice cube tray that has a lid, you could store it in the tray. You could also package the food into pouches and freeze these. I have this machine to fill pouchesbut have never used it. My hesitation is because the pouches aren’t really easier to feed at this stage and I can’t thaw them in the microwave. I let everything freeze in the trays and then put the cubes into gallon-sized Ziplock bags. I can write on the bag what it is and the date I made it. It keeps the food from getting frost and is easy to store and label.
Step 5: Making Homemade Baby Food
To actually make the food, you will wash, chop, peal and cook as required to get something that can be pureed or squished between the fingers (for older babies). Most things can be either steamed or baked, but in general, baking preserves the nutrients a little better than steaming. Once cooked until very soft, you can puree in your blender of choice. Some things (like potatoes) will need a little water, breast milk or formula added to make it thin enough. Other things (like pears) will be plenty watery without adding anything. Below is a table of things I have made for Paxton, and my notes on making them.
Step 6: Storing and Serving Homemade Baby Food
Once the food is made, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. Once thawed, you want to use the food within about 24 hours. When reheating, I put the desired number of cubes into a baby bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. I stir and add an additional 30 seconds if required. I then mix with Greek yogurt, oatmeal or rice cereal or applesauce as desired. Alternatively, you can put the food for the next day into the fridge to thaw and serve it cold. Baby doesn’t know what should be hot and what should be cold. As long as it’s not frozen and not too hot, you are okay. You do need to make sure you heat slowly and stir the food well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots. I also mix the food with something cold like Greek yogurt or applesauce to further cool it down.
“Homemade” Baby Food That Works Well For Baby, But Doesn’t Require Prep
- No sugar added applesauce (just apples and water)
- Plain Greek yogurt
Note: Make sure all peels are removed prior to freezing. I cook the sweet potatoes with the peel on and then scoop out the middle. Everything else, I peel prior to cooking. I also chop everything else prior to cooking so that it doesn’t take as long. For butternut squash, I slice in half and scoop out the seeds prior to baking.
Note: There are different stages of solids. When first starting baby on solid foods, you will want them very smooth and a little runny. As baby gets more comfortable, you can increase the thickness. Once baby is around 9-months old and can pick up food, you can start serving small pieces of food that can be squished between the fingers (like really well-cooked pasta or veggies) and things that dissolve quickly (like Cheerios). Also, when first starting solids, only introduce a new food every 3 days or so. This allows you to observe for any allergies.
Ready to start planning meals for baby? Get my free age-specific meal planner HERE!
What homemade baby food have you made? Was it successful? Let me know in the comments.
If your baby is drinking any formula (babies should drink breast milk or formula until they are at least a year old), check out my post on Affording Baby Formula.
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess