Monday, February 1, 2010

It turns out I'm a little crunchier than I thought with this one.

First it was the strange urge to have a "natural" childbirth. Then it was the cosleeping, although that's sort of ended (Jr. still spends every night from about 4am on in our bed. I can only walk up and down the hall so many times during this "4-month sleep regression" before I go crazy.) And now...I think I want to try making my own baby food.

J is a horribly picky eater, something that has been a huge struggle for a long time and is only just now starting to improve. The list of things he doesn't like is ridiculously long and includes lots of things that average preschoolers love - spaghetti, french fries, mashed potatoes, beans, any kind of wrap or quesadilla or tortilla, grilled cheese sandwiches, noodle soup, "real" hot dogs (he only likes the Jennie O Turkey Store kind), bread, and up until maybe 2 weeks ago he wouldn't eat pizza... Although in his defense he does like alot of good foods that most toddlers ignore like broccoli and rice (white or fried) and green beans and salad. The kid will eat a spring mix of lettuce with vinaigrette every day if we let him. I know that being a picky eater is partly the kid, partly the parents, partly the age, but it gets old having a super-skinny kid who won't eat anything regularly except for pancakes.

So awhile back I was having a conversation with someone who wondered aloud if jarred baby food was part of the culprit with really picky eaters. Yes, it's convenient, and affordable, and easy...but it's so bland and even gross depending on the flavor. If kids start out with Gerber green bean puree instead of real green beans that have been pureed, are they more likely to be adverse to anything with real flavor? It's an interesting theory, maybe a little quacky, but it intrigues me anyway. Not to mention the lack of real organic and preservative-free choices in the baby food you buy at the store.

Sooooo.....the Big Experiment for the next couple of months is going to be Making My Own Baby Food. I've never even attempted it before, but it can't be THAT hard, right? I would think that over time it will save me money and probably will be more convenient than buying baby food at the store. I have a coffee grinder, and a steamer, and a food processor already. Has anyone else made baby food before? What do I need besides those items and something to store the food? I've checked out a few websites that have good tips and tricks, and a couple of books on the subject. Jr. just turned 4 months, so we'll probably be starting "solids" in the next 4-6 weeks (I'd like to wait until he's about 5 months unless he seems ready before then). Wish me luck...


Jen said...

I never did the homeade baby food for my May 06 DD, but for my 8 month old that is all she's had. My doctor strongly urged us to try it this time around. It's true, baby food tastes nothing like real food and it's very bland. Then when the babies are ready for table food, it tastes completely different from anything they've been introduced to! My doctor recommends introducing as much variety as possible and even just throwing our table food in the processor for her to have, and not worry about the spices! But mostly I stick to the traditional pureed fruits and veggies.
Check out they have great instructions for every type of food you can imagine and even some nice combination meals.
Also, you'll need a few ice cube trays to freeze it in 1 ounce portions. Then after it's frozen, just dump in freezer bags to store. It's sooo much easier than it sounds!

Joanna said...

I'm pretty sure that Karen has been making her own baby food. I'll tell her to stop by and give you some words of wisdom.

I hope you have some luck this time around. The fussy eater thing gets really, really old after a while. If I were to have another child, I decided I wouldn't even do baby food. I'd just start offering mashed up stuff or food in the mesh bag instead.

Of course, Michael never ate baby food either, so in his case, I'm pretty sure that he's just a fussy eater...just like his dad and his aunt.

Heidi O said...

I make my own food sometimes. Kind of mish mash. I like roasting sweet potatoes and carrots. They go over big. Frozen peas, I just nuke them with a little water and then puree. I have one of those stick blenders so I can make a little at a time but the magic bullet probably is even better.
I never could do string beans so a good enough consistency.

Heidi O said...

PS I like to mix my fruits and veges with cereal and breast milk. Those help dampen the tastes if they are quite ready for the boldness.

Steph said...

Your post on J's eating habits sounds like Cooper, except he won't touch pizza, hot dogs, bread, any type of sandwich. He is good with the things he likes- cucumber, apples/applesauce, chicken nuggets. He seemed like this to me from the get go- never interested in the rice or oatmeal cereal or baby food. I am interested in making my own this time around too and my mom sent me a link for a tool that helps, but I can't find it right now. All I know is that it seemed to be ridiculously expensive (at least to me) when I was checking it out.

Julie said...

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous--we share a brain--LOL! I was just thinking this morning maybe I would try making some baby food this time since Lacey seems prone to allergy, at least I could have more control over what goes in her. I don't know if I will though, it depends on how time consuming it ends up being and as you know I am just TIRED.

Karen said...

I made all my own baby food this time around. To be honest, it was so much easier than I thought it would be.

I only had a mini food processor and a pot that had a steamer insert. I would steam the foods and then puree them. I either added water that the food had been steamed in or breast milk.

We were able to make so many more things than jarred baby food. Avacados, mangos, all sorts of squash, kiwi, string beans, zucchini, snow peas. I didn't do any meats and just waited to introduce them at 8 months in small pieces from the table.

It was much more economical than jarred food and easy to make. I also would do bananas and thaw out a few cubes to mix with cereal in the mornings. I second the recommendation for the ice cube trays and storing the cubes in freezer bags.

A friend got me the book Super Baby Food. It was a great reference point and listed just about every food and when to introduce it and how to cook it.

If you have any more questions, you can email me at

deebo47 said...

Baby food got really old really quick when my kids were babies - I usually mashed up some of what we were having (without the seasoning or butter) and served it. X loved potatoes, sweet potatoes, all veggies, mashed up noodles, even mashed up meatloaf when he was older. Just a lot easier...

LauraC said...

Can I pop in with the twin perspective here?

We used jarred food because it was so much easier and faster for us to pack it up for day care with two than to make it. I WANTED to be crunchy but every time I made it myself, they ended up not liking it and all I could think about was the wasted hours of my life I could have slept.

But I digress.

Given the same exact jarred foods, Alex was a very picky eater and Nate would eat anything. We had to literally give something to Alex 15 times before he would try it. Nate inhaled anything and everything. I have pics of Nate eating pad thai, sushi, etc while Alex cried. We used the method laid out in Ellyn Satter's books for introducing foods and eventually Alex started eating a variety of foods.

Anyway after this, my belief is pickiness is a natural trait. BUT there are many many other reasons to make your own baby food.