When it comes to feeding your baby, it seems as though there are endless options to choose from. In the beginning, it was formula feeding vs breastfeeding and when my baby started to eat solids, it was making my own baby food vs. buying baby food from the store. Whatever your choice, the options a new parent faces can seem overwhelming.
When my son was four months old, and I got the go-ahead from the doctor, I decided to start solid foods with him. However, I didn’t go to the grocery and buy jars of food, I was excited to try making my son’s food. I cook for myself every day, so how hard could it be to cook for him too?
Before I started making his food, I read The Wholesome Baby Food Guide from cover to cover, I learned about what foods were safe at what ages, allergies, and got some delicious sounding recipes. Looking back on these past seven months of making my son’s food, I can easily say that making my own baby food was the best decision I ever made. It allowed for me to make sure my son got all the nutrition he needed, all the while getting to experience and enjoy new flavors, spices, textures, and food groups.
What To Cook
I started my son on sweet potato first. I washed and baked the potato and when it was done, I pureed it in the food processor with some of his formula. He loved the sweetness of it and I was thrilled that his first experience with food was positive. It bolstered my confidence to try more foods. As an added bonus, one sweet potato was only .88 cents and lasted many meals for my son. As he grew, I started to give him the same foods I was eating, just pureed or mashed up.
Making his food enabled me to have control over the ingredients. I could make sure that his food was made without sugar or salt, but added lots of spices that he grew to love, like cinnamon and curry. If I didn’t have the fresh fruit or vegetables in the house, I bought frozen organic fruit, such as blueberries or peas. I also stocked up on canned coconut milk and cans of pureed pumpkin, squash and sweet potato (Farmer’s Market Foods does not use BPA in their cans, and their food is organic). By not having baby food jars in the house, I always had to be one step ahead and make sure I had shelf-stable back up food.
The Adjustment Period
I found that my son easily adjusted to new foods, as long as I mixed them in with his old favorites. A mash of avocado and banana, which took approximately one minute to make, became a favorite for him. This made traveling easy, for all I had to do was throw easy to mash food, such as an avocado or banana, in his diaper bag, and no matter where we were, he had food to eat. If I we were headed to a restaurant, I would simply order my salad with extra avocado and mash that for him.
The Bottom Line
The main reason why making my own baby food was the best decision I made, however, is that by sharing food with my son, it gave us a shared experience at the table. Because I gave my son the same food I was eating, he got to experience all the same smells, tastes, and flavors that I did.
Now that he is older, I am still giving him the same food as I eat, however now I cut it into tiny cubes for him to pick up and feed to himself. However, the food is still the same favorites he has been eating since he was tiny, just in a different form. I want my son to enjoy eating and to eat healthy and nutritious food. By making the decision to make his food this early in his life, I hope it sets him up for a lifetime of enjoying the same healthful and delicious foods he ate as a baby.