Thursday, September 30, 2010
Bubby's first food: a step-by-step guide to making your own babyfood.
We chose pears as Bubby's first food. (As an aside, I don't particularly like the term "first food." After all, wasn't their first food breastmilk???) We didn't have a really important reason for choosing pears. They are easily digested and organic Bartlett pears were on sale for super cheap the last time we were at Whole Foods. Avocado, bananas, and sweet potatoes are also great first foods for babies.
When I tell people that I make all of the kids' babyfood I sometimes get the response, Oh, I would never have time for that. People take different approaches to making babyfood. I have friends who took a whole Saturday and cranked out eight or nine batches of babyfood. As for me, I like to take my time. When I made babyfood for Beanie I just made a batch once, maybe twice, a week. After a couple weeks you have a nice stash of babyfood in the freezer. I like it better that way. I seem to have little spurts of time, but definitely don't have a whole day (or even afternoon) to devote to making babyfood.
Making homemade babyfood is easy. I love knowing exactly what is in Bubby's first foods. We use all organic produce. We don't necessarily eat entirely organic as a family, but I've always used organic products for babyfood. I figure if my child is being introduced another food besides my breastmilk I want it to be organic.
The following is a guide based on how I made Bubby's first food: pears.
1. Pick what food you want to introduce. This chart from Wholesome Babyfood gives recommendations on what foods are best for baby based on age. There are some foods that you likely want to avoid. Research and recommendations on these have been changing, so check with your pediatrician and do your own research.
2. Cut the pears into small pieces. They don't need to be peeled unless you prefer to do so. Pear peels are easily digested. Our pears were so tasty that quite a few pieces found their way into Beanie's tummy. And mine.
Steaming fruits is recommended for babies under eight months of age to help break down sugars and fibers (Wholesome Babyfood). Given Bubby's digestive issues I think we'll steam fruits for some time, longer than eight months of age for sure. You can also cook your babyfood by baking, boiling, or microwaving. Baking and steaming are the best methods.
Never refreeze thawed breastmilk. If I mix breastmilk in, I always do it after thawing the puree, just before serving. There are a few reasons for this: (1) I don't really pump so any "extra" breastmilk we have on hand is in the freezer and (2) If I wait to thin (or thicken as it may be) the foods I can play it by ear as to what baby needs. Pears shouldn't really need thinning. Mine definitely didn't. I think the only food I thinned beforehand for Beanie was sweet potatoes and we used breastmilk for that.
6. Freeze. Easy enough, right? Here's some information about freezing your babyfood.
8. Thaw and feed to baby. When starting out , I just take one or two cubes out of the freezer the night before and thaw for the next day. As you continue with feeding your baby solids, you'll get an idea of how much they might eat each day and you can plan more easily.
It's so easy. I promise you that you can do it. It's fun.
I just pulled some pears out of the big freezer for Bubby. He hasn't tried any yet, but most likely today or tomorrow. They smell so good.
The best advice I got when Beanie was first eating solid foods was that, as a mom, you're in charge of the quality of food given to your baby. Let them determine the quantity. Good advice, even now with a toddler. If your baby isn't interested in baby food yet, put it down. Wait a week and try again. I assure you that someday they will be interested. Don't stress yourself out about it. For the first year, solids are meant only to complement breastmilk or formula. They're for fun, for development. Not for mama stress!