There are two reasons that most people want to make their own baby food.
- They want to save money.
- They believe homemade baby food to be healthier.
It is important, however, to realize that while you can accomplish both of these, it is not inherent that just because you are making the baby food yourself that it is cheaper or healthier and sometimes you can achieve one but not the other. There are things you need to consider. You can use organic or local produce for healthier food, but it may be more expensive, OR you could use regular store produce shipped in from other countries or states and have cheaper food with fewer nutrients.
All of the baby food I have made for J so far has been from fruit or veggies we have either grown ourselves or that I bought from a local farmer/produce stand (with the exception of the bananas). Local food usually contains more nutrients because of the shorter time span between harvest and consumption. Also, in my area, locally grown produce is usually cheaper or comparable in price to shipped produce. And obviously, produce from my garden has a negligent cost considering how cheap seeds and seedlings are once your garden is in full swing.
Let's compare the cost of my homemade butternut squash to that of Beech-Nut. At the local farm stand, I can buy a whole butternut squash for $1. I usually use ice cube trays to freeze my baby food. One butternut squash usually makes a minimum of two full trays (32 cubes). Each cube is equal to one ounce, so I get at least 32 ounces of baby food for $1 while a four ounce jar of Beech-Nut's squash is 50 cents at our local grocer. On the flip side, I bought a half of a peck of locally grown apples for $8 and ended up with only a little more than three ice cube trays full once I cooked them, making the apples 16 cents more per four ounces than a store-bought jar.
Hindrances to many parents in making their own baby food include: a lack of knowledge on the subject, a lack of time or they think that homemade baby food is inconvenient for on-the-go. I'm here to tell you that making baby food is pretty simple and that there is really nothing to be afraid of. Also, making baby food does not require that much time or effort. It is definitely easier than canning if you think you're in for that sort of effort. And I hear ya on the inconvenience. With L, I made some of our own food, but due to not knowing how to transport homemade food with us when we were out or when I took her to my mom's, I usually bought jarred food for her. However, after I had J, I did some research on reusable food pouches. I was skeptical. I figured that they would leak or be a horrible pain to clean, but I wanted to try them before dismissing the idea.
I bought a variety pack of Squooshi brand pouches on Amazon, and I loved them! I've had no leaks and they aren't that hard to clean. I simply make sure to rinse them out well as soon as I can after using them, but other than that, I just put them in the dishwasher. My husband thinks they are easier to feed J with than using a spoon and bowl.
Because I loved the Squooshi pouches, when I decided to write a post about baby food, I reached out to them about sponsoring the post. I was so excited when they said that they would love to work with me, and that they had a new product coming out...a filling station. Yay! My one complaint with the pouches had been that they weren't easy to fill with unfrozen food. I had been putting the cubes in them frozen and letting them thaw inside verses trying to fill the pouch with liquid.
I used the apple recipe to try out the new filling station. I was initially worried about size of the filling station when Squooshi first mentioned it to me. I hate wasting cabinet space on gadgets. When you hear the word "station," you think of something big, but this is smaller than your gas station big gulp glass. The station also comes with six 4.5 ounce pouches in addition to everything you need for the filling station itself.
There is very little to do in the way of prepping the station for use. You simply wash it before and after each use. The silicone on the plunger makes sure that there is very little food left on the edges. I had almost no waste as you can see from my pictures below. There is also a silicone ring on the base to prevent the station from sliding all over your counters, which is nice because when filling the last pouch I did have to apply a bit more pressure. The silicone comes off of the plunger and base to make cleaning easier. I simply rinsed and washed the station as soon as I was done and had no trouble getting it clean. I don't think I could go back to the pouches without it. You are definitely going to want to get yourself one of these if you are interested in homemade baby food on the go! And it just so happens that Squooshi has given me a filling station to give away! You'll find the registration at the bottom of this post.
Things to remember when trying new foods with baby:
- Never try more than one new food at a time.
- Try the same food for at least three days in a row before moving on to a new food. This allows you to assess for any potential allergies.
- Example: You try cereal for several weeks. You then add green beans for three days. After three days with no reactions, you can try another vegetable like squash. Try squash for three days and then move on.
- Previously tried foods can be mixed with new foods to give baby a wider range of flavors and appetite.
- Avoid honey, eggs, and peanut butter with infants under one-year of age.
- I am NOT a pediatrician. If you have ANY concerns concerning feeding your baby or an allergic reaction, please contact your pediatrician IMMEDIATELY!
Stage 1 Baby Food Recipes
- Steam green beans for about 15-20 minutes. You want them to be soft.
- Place them in your blender or food processor (I prefer the blender.)
- Blend, adding a tablespoon of spring water (don't use tap) at a time until you get a smooth consistency.
Yellow Summer Squash
- Chop your squash into 1-inch cubes
- Steam the squash for 10-15 minutes. You want the squash to be soft.
- Place the squash in your blender or food processor until you get a smooth consistency.
- I have never had to add water to summer squash.
- Poke holes all around the potato using a fork and then wrap it in wax paper.
- Cook a large sweet potato in the microwave for 6-8 minutes or until soft.
- Cut the potato in half and, using a spoon, scoop the insides into a blender.
- Add about a half cup of spring water and blend.
- Add an additional tablespoon of spring water at a time until you get a smooth consistency.
- Place the whole squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the squash at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45-60 minutes. You want the squash to be soft when you squeeze it.
- Cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Then scoop the squash into a blender.
- Add water, a tablespoon at a time, and blend until you get a smooth consistency.
- Make sure all of the stems are off of the blueberries.
- Steam the berries for about 3 minutes, just until the skins start to crack.
- Blend until smooth.
- Note: blueberries are VERY runny!
- Take a two-inch piece of banana and smash it with a spoon until there are no chunks. Using a ripe banana will make the smasher process much easier than using one that is too green.
- Feed to baby immediately.
- Banana tends to brown quickly.
- Slice a half of a peck of apples, removing bad spots and core, but leaving the skin.
- Add about a half cup of spring water to a crock pot.
- Add your apples and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Put apples into your blender and blend until smooth.
Favorite Combinations and Add-Ins
I haven't mixed any of my foods prior to freezing yet. I combine foods as I thaw whatever I'm wanting him to have for the day so that I can change up the combinations more often.
- Blueberries and bananas
- Sweet potato and blueberries
- Butternut squash and blueberries
- Green beans and yellow squash
- Apples and bananas
- Add cinnamon to the apples (treat a new spice just like a new food and try it for a few days before adding anything else new to baby's diet)
- Add cinnamon to sweet potatoes
- Add nutmeg to butternut squash
- Apples and blueberries would probably be good, but we ran out of blueberry food already
- Add baby oatmeal or cereal to any of the foods for additional fiber or to get a thicker consistency when baby is ready
Alright, now its giveaway time! If you would like a chance to win a Squooshi Filling Station, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the directions there. (This is my first time using Rafflecopter.) Good luck!
Disclaimer: I was given a free filling station for my personal use to review here on the blog and one to give away. However, all opinions and reviews are my own. I would like to take a moment to thank my giveaway sponsor, Squooshi for their generosity. This post also contains affiliate links.