Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Homemade baby food

I mentioned in a previous post (probably several, actually) that we have made most of Aed’s food from scratch. Initially we decided to do this for one reason. Ian has a mysterious food allergy as well as a plethora of other non-food allergies. This means there is more potential for Aed to have allergic reactions to foods than a baby whose parents have no allergies. Normally this would not be an issue, but here in Scotland it is actually impossible to find a jar of baby food that has only one ingredient (at least in the places we and many of our friends have looked). As you’re introducing new foods to your baby, if you think there is potential for an allergy it is fairly important to introduce one food at a time so it is clear what is causing the reaction if there is one.

Since this was a concern for us, there was only one way to go: homemade. So we started little by little, gradually building up a good variety of food and finding our child to be allergic to nothing thus far. Along the way I found a few resources for making baby food that are really helpful.

My absolute favorite and my go-to website is I have found this website wonderfully helpful for what foods to introduce at what age, how to select good produce, how to prepare a huge variety of foods, how to store cooked and uncooked foods, etc. The information is extensive and very clearly presented. There are also recipes that are kid friendly and parent friendly for once your baby starts eating a wide enough variety of foods to eat the same meals as mom and dad.

One other resource that I mention because it is also quite extensive is Annabel Karmel’s cookbook. She has several cookbooks, I have the Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. I had high hopes for using this book, but found that it didn’t really fit my personality very well. I often function best by just trying things and figuring out what works for me and my lifestyle as I go. This book felt too structured for me and I found it overwhelming rather than helpful as I set out on my homemade baby food adventure. But, it has a lot of information and puts forth a really clear plan for introducing food to your baby, and then continues on into the toddler years with recipes that toddlers are likely to happily eat. I reference it occasionally and may come back to it more frequently as Aed ages.

All you need to make the process happen is your food of choice (steamed or baked, typically), a food processor or blender, and some ice cube trays. Cook the food, puree it, put it in the trays and cover them with cling film, throw them in the freezer and you’re ready to go!

Overall, we have been very happy making homemade baby food. It is a bit time consuming (especially when you are feeding a hungry, hungry hippo), but I found it encouraging to remind myself that I don’t feed myself pre-packaged food at every meal, so it’s not that unreasonable to sacrifice a little time and effort to feed my baby fresh food, too. But, the most encouraging thing was realizing that instead of spending over £1 on less than one meal for Aed, I am spending less than a pound for at least a day’s worth of produce for him. If that doesn’t set your food processor blade to spinning, I don’t know what will! :)

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