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.

3. Steam the pears. I have sources that say cooking fruit is not necessary, however I have always given our fruits a light steam. I think it makes them easier to puree and prefer to play it on the "safe side." 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.

4. Puree the pears. I use our Cuisinart food processor to puree our fruits and veggies. It works great. You could use a mixer, a blender, or (for some foods) even just a potato masher or fork. Puree the fruit to your desired thickness. For baby's first foods you want it to be very thin. You can thin with breastmilk, formula or water as you puree or afterward when you serve. 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.

5. Pour the food into ice-cube trays for freezing. Or, should I say, make sure you actually have some ice cube trays before you even start. See I thought I knew where our ice cube trays were and didn't realize they were missing in some box somewhere until after I started making the pears. I wanted to get silicone ones, but we stuck with regular old ice-cube trays. Each cube is about one ounce of food.

6. Freeze. Easy enough, right? Here's some  information about freezing your babyfood.
7. Store. I use Ziploc freezer bags. I am sure there are plenty of other more environmentally friendly methods, but we're not exactly rolling in the dough and we had a ton of Ziploc bags on hand. I freeze smaller batches in quart size bags and then put those bags inside a gallon-sized freezer bag. Then, when ready to use, I bring one smaller bag into our kitchen freezer and leave the others out in the coffin freezer. Make sure and mark the bags with what's inside and the date you made it.

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!


  1. Ha, I was going to do a post on the same thing tonight - I've been making it bit by bit as the organic stuff from the farmers market gets cheap...but I think you covered it 100% here! When was your little one born? He seems to be right on part with my little guy, born April 22 - Earth Day! I'm going to start feeding him bits of food sometime soon here - not yet, but in another few weeks or so. I go the same route as you - sweet potatoes, avocado...not so much into the rice cereal. :)

  2. Wow they are very close! He was born March 14. Have fun making your babyfood :)

  3. I had planned on making Ethan's baby food but he was so needy we ended up buying it. But he only ate Earth's Best organic. Gabriel still won't touch solids. Friends think it's awful, and that he's not getting enough from (organic) formula alone. And they look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them he doesn't NEED solids at this age...

  4. I love your pictures--can I link to them from the homemade baby food board?

    I started right at 6 months with my son, so he's been eating solids for over 3 weeks now. He was really ready and he loves his homemade baby food and snarfs it down. Totally different from my daughter, who was not that interested in solids.


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