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

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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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What not to say to a pregnant women!

I know people mean well, but after two pregnancies in two years I can definitely say that there are some things I wish people would never say to pregnant women. Here is a list just to clear up some things you should never say to a pregnant women:

1.“Are you sure it’s not twins?”

2.“Are you sure they have your due date right?”

3.“You’re going to have your hands full!” (As they look at my 1 year old.)

4.“Was it planned?”

5.“You had a natural birth last time? Was that planned? And you seriously want to do it again? Come on–just ask for the epidural! What are you trying to prove?”…..seriously? You want me to answer you?

6.“You look like you are due any day now! Do you really have three more months?!”

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7.“I was all belly when I was pregnant. I only gained 15 pounds.” (I definitely gained more than that!)

8.“Wow, you look like you’re going to pop!”

9.“Wow you’re so huge”

10.“Wow you’re so small”

11.“Are you gaining enough weight?” Any other time in a women’s life you NEVER talk about her weight, why is it all of a sudden okay to talk about our size when we are pregnant? Sure “You’re all belly” and “That bump is adorable” makes us feel good. But do NOT make general statements, because Lord knows we are painfully aware!

12.“You don’t look pregnant. Are you sure you are?” (This can be a compliment to a women of multiple children who has gained a lot of weight, but it can be disappointing to the first-time mom who is already nervous and desperately wants to look pregnant!)

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13.“I think you’re having a …..”

14.“Can I touch your belly?”

15.“You’re breastfeeding right?”

16.“Will you work after the baby comes?”

17.“It’s about time!”

18.“Are you craving pickles?” (No, but now that you mentioned food, I’m really hungry. Thanks for that now go get me some ice cream!)

19.“You can’t eat/drink that” My personal favorite. I will eat and drink WHATEVER I want, because I am pretty sure that it is MY body and you are NOT my OB!

20.“Will you have more kids?”

21.“I feel pregnant too” …..oh? ummm ….

22.“Enjoy your last few months of freedom.” Why do you assume that I will not have a life or freedom after I have a child? Is your life that boring? Just saying.

23.“Your baby is going to be huge/tiny” Again, are you a doctor?

24.“You look tired”

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25.“Anything yet?”

26.“You’re still pregnant”

27.“You know it’s really 10 months.” Gracies. No, seriously. Thanks for that. Because I’m not already praying I can hold my baby any day now, but you have to remind me how long I have to wait.

28.“Well elephants are pregnant for 22 months so you don’t have it that bad” Yeah, thanks for pointing that out.

29.“Good luck my labor was terrible.”

30.“Aren’t you a little young/old to be having a baby?”

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31.“Shouldn’t you be resting?”

32.“You’re quite hormonal.” You haven’t seen anything yet…..

33.“I thought your boobs would be bigger”

34.“How are you going to handle two?”

35.“I never had morning sickness”

36.“I was ripped open from end to end.”

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37.“Can you even see your feet anymore?”

38.“So, how do you get your shoes on?”…..Good question…..

Pregnancy is a beautiful and also disgusting thing! Please do not make the gorgeous women who are making tiny humans want to rip your tiny peewee little head off by saying any of these statements, or any in their likeness! Haven’t you heard not to mess with a pregnant women? The only acceptable statements are:

“You look FABULOUS!”

“I am so happy for you!”

And, “I can’t wait to meet your beautiful baby!”

Now, where is that ice cream you were supposed to get me?!?!?!?

~Amanda

p.s. We have all been there at least once, and we wanted to show you that we really do feel for you preggie mommas!

Breastfeeding Glossary

Antibodies- A substance that protects against infection

Areola- The circular area of pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple

Breastfeeding.

  • a. Exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment and fluids at the breast.
  • b. Almost exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment at the breast except for small amounts of supplements.
  • c. Partial: Frequent or regular supplements.
  • d. Token: Minimal breastfeeding

Breast shell – a plastic shell that fits over the nipple, used to correct flat or inverted nipples.

Breast shield – a thin silicone shield that is placed over the nipple and areola during nursing.

Colostrum- A concentrated fluid secreted by the breast at the end of pregnancy and shortly after childbirth that provides nutrition as well as protection against disease

Engorgement– fullness, swilling, and enlargement of the breasts.

Foremilk– Low-fat milk that leaves the breast first during breastfeeding or pumping; the longer the time periods between breast drainage, the lower in fat the foremilk becomes

Hindmilk– Higher-fat milk that comes later during a breastfeeding or pumping as the breast becomes more fully drained

Inverted nipple – a nipple that retracts into the body, rather than protrudes when the areola is compressed.

Jaundice – caused by an excess of bilirubin, jaundice causes yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin. Jaundice is relatively common among newborns, and is treatable.

Lactation -The action of producing and secreting milk

Lanolin- This cream is a savior to many breastfeeding mothers who experience sore, cracked nipples. It can soothe and protect, but make sure that you only use a pure form of lanolin to prevent allergies to the toxins that come in impure forms

Latching On – Latching on is when the baby takes the nipple and areola properly into his mouth to begin nursing. Proper positioning is critical, because your nipple needs to touch the roof of your baby’s mouth to stimulate him to latch on, suck and swallow.

Let-Down- This is the process where the brain tells the body to produce milk and make it available in the breast. Let-down occurs when the baby’s sucking action on the breast sends a message to the brain. The message stimulates the hypothalamus gland, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland. Hormones are then released that act on special cells in the breast to produce the milk and send it toward the nipple where it is available for the baby.

Lipase – An enzyme that breaks down fat in breastmilk. In rare instances, some women may have it in higher quantities in their breastmilk, and it can cause breastmilk to develop a bad smell or taste when frozen.

Milk ducts – ducts in the breast that carry milk from the alveoli to the nipple.

Mastitis – generally occurring in breastfeeding women, mastitis causes the breasts to feel hard, sore or uncomfortable. Mastitis is caused when bacteria enters the breast through a break or crack in the nipple’s skin (such as those caused by chapped nipples) or by a plugged milk duct

Oxytocin– the love hormone, in both mom and baby which helps with bonding, stress relief and makes you relax.

Plugged (milk) duct – often caused by mastitis, plugged ducts occur when small milk ducts in the breast become blocked.

Positioning – The way a baby is held or situated when breastfeeding. There are different breastfeeding positions, and you may have to experiment to determine which one is most effective and comfortable for you and your baby.

Prolactin – A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is responsible for milk production within the alveoli in the breast. During pregnancy, prolactin makes the breasts grow, and after giving birth, it stimulates the milk production. Prolactin is made in response to nipple stimulation when the baby suckles at the breast. Low prolactin levels can affect the mother’s milk supply.

Progesterone- A hormone produced by the placenta in large amounts during pregnancy that stimulates breast development and inhibits production of large volumes of milk.

Pumping – The method of extracting breastmilk with the help of a pump. There are both manual and electrical breast pumps. Pumping enables mothers to provide breastmilk for a caregiver to give to the baby while mom is away (for example, working).Pumping is also often used to stimulate production in a mother who has a low milk supply, to induce lactation or relieve engorgement.

Rooting Reflex-The rooting reflex occurs when touching your breast to the center of the baby’s lips or stroking his cheek causing the baby to open it’s mouth and turn it’s head to one side looking for the breast.

Suck, suckle– The baby’s milking action at the breast; in traditional usage, a baby at the breast “sucked” while a mother “suckled.”

Thrush – a common yeast infection of the mouth and throat caused by the fungus Candida albicans, marked by white patches in the mouth. Thrush can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract and can cause certain types of diaper rash in infants.