Making Your Own Baby Food- Way Easier, Way Faster Than You Think!

happybaby-organic-frozen-baby-food

Seriously, it is I promise! When I was about 5 months pregnant I decided that I needed to create enough baby food to last my child her entire life. I really went a little nuts with how much I made, but when the time came for solids, I was so glad I had everything prepped and ready to go! One less thing for my new mom brain to worry about.

I am really not a crazy organic/all natural person. Will I choose something that is GMO-free and all natural ingredients 9 times out of 10? Sure. But I’m not shopping at Whole Foods on the regular. I’m a sahm and military spouse, ain’t nobody got funds for that. I buy what is reasonably priced and what works for my family. When it came to my LO, I looked at all the prepackaged options out there and was just disgusted. It looked nasty, it sounded nasty and the price was outrageous. I started doing some research (thank you Pinterest) and realized that it is super easy to make your own baby food that can sustain freshness for months in the freezer. So I decided to get to work…

STEP ONE: Buy Food

Fruits, veggies, grains, you can even get a little wild and try meats. Fresh, frozen, canned…it doesn’t matter. Here are some recommended starter foods that most babies generally like (until they become toddlers of course) and are safe for baby tummies:

  • STAGE 1 (4-6 months old): Carrots, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes, Bananas, Peas, Apples, Pears
  • STAGE 2 (6+ months or when you and your pediatrician think your LO is ready for thicker purees and textures): Squash, Brown Rice, Blueberries, Chicken, Spinach, Lentils, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Rice, Mango

STEP TWO: Prep and Blend

Pick an afternoon (really you could do it in an hour) and gather a couple things together:

  • All your fruits, veggies and grains
  • Ice cube trays
  • Freezer Bags
  • Sharpie
  • Blender

Steam any fresh or frozen fruits or veggies so they are good and soft. Obviously canned goods are ready as is. Make sure everything has cooled before you start blending.

baby-bulletWhen I did my foods, I used a Baby Bullet. I registered and received one as a gift at my baby shower. Loved it. All of the accessories and storage containers are super helpful. I especially love the grinder attachment that allows you to grind grains, nuts, etc. to add to your baby foods (read: make your own rice cereal!). Is a Baby Bullet completely necessary? Not at all. Any good quality blender will do.baby food trays

Now you’re ready to blend all of your ingredients. I started simple. Carrots and sweet potatoes together, bananas, and peas and avocados together. You can also blend in rice cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, whatever other additives you want to your mixtures. I was too scared to try meat but I know you can easily blend meat and freeze as well. After everything is blended to a very smooth texture, pour the mixture into ice cube trays.

STEP THREE: Freeze, Label and Store

Pretty self explanatory. Once everything is frozen, pop them out, place into freezer bags and clearly label and date. If you have a deep freezer, this is optimal to ensure your baby food stays the freshest for the longest amount of time. Different foods vary in how long they keep while frozen. A simple google search will tell you how long each food you chose will keep.

STEP FOUR: Serve

To defrost, I simply place one frozen piece into a microwave safe bowl and put it in for about 15 seconds at a time until it was completely thawed but not too hot.

That’s it! I told you, simple! Not only is making your own baby food wayyyy cheaper, but you also have the peace of mind in knowing exactly what is going into your LO’s belly. This is also a very effective way to track any allergies or sensitivities your child might have. Starting with one food at a time for a few meals before introducing a new one will help you pinpoint the cause of any reaction very easily.

Now I’m no doctor, but I swear making my own baby food helped my LO be a more tolerant eater as she grew into toddlerdom. Her favorite food is still peas. She is much more likely to try new things as finger foods because she is used to eating all sorts of colors and textures as baby foods. We were also very lucky that she has had minimal food sensitivities throughout her transition into solid foods. Every child is different. In my opinion, what do you have to lose? Do yourself a favor, save the future new-baby-no-sleep-going-crazy you a little sanity and plan ahead.Especially if you are planning to return to work, this will be a lifesaver. It’s not rocket science and trust me, you’ll be so thankful you did!

-Chelsea

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Our Sleep Schedule

Sleep-Training

The first 2-3 months of being a parent are brutal. There is such a HUGE adjustment period, and acclimating on little to no sleep is nearly impossible (not to mention those post-partum hormones.)

Like many, I brought my LO home thinking he’d sleep soundly in his beautiful nursery in his giant, expensive crib. HA. Oh man. I gave up within an hour. My LO was quickly laying in the Rock n’ Play next to my bed. Soon after, we upgraded to a full-blown pack n’ play with a sleeper/changer built in. My LO stayed in our room solidly for the first 6 weeks. In all honesty, it was easier. I could quickly feed and change my LO, watch him breath and fall asleep, and go back to bed (in-between Googling a billion things at 2AM.) When the 6 week mark approached, I knew I needed more sleep since I was going back to work at the 8 week mark. So, I set up a plan. I’m not a proponent of the CIO method, so I needed another way to get my LO to sleep more than 2 hours at night (especially with reflux.)

Once we got our reflux issues worked out (more about that in our “reflux” category,) my daily scheduled looked something like this:

6AM: Wake Up. Whether he was up or not.

9AM: Nap

Around noon: Nap

Sometime in the afternoon: Small nap

Bedtime: Firmly 8:00PM. I would take him up to his nursery, lights off, no talking, no playtime. He would eat, and, as much as I wanted to hold him forever, I’d lay him down in his crib.

During the day I kept him active. Lights on, window shades open. TV or background noise, and lots of play and interaction.

After putting him down at bedtime, if he would stir/cry I would give it a minute before running in instantly to console. I never let him cry hard, or more than a whimper.

I also put him to bed without his binky. Though, I sometimes had to go back in and give it to him to console him.

After about a week and a half of the routine, he was set. We have had the same schedule for months now, and it’s worked out SO so well for us. I was firm with our routine, and I think it helped us to really feel confident and get through the day. Disclaimer: you will get grief about this from someone. Do what works for you.

And, of course, this won’t work for all babies. Every baby is absolutely different. To any parent trying to get a scheduled day? Keep on it. Eventually you’ll have some progress, no matter how small.

-Katie