Thursday, March 17, 2011

Please Welcome My Friend Branson...

Hey Everyone! Today I have invited Branson from My Reflection of Something to talk to us about her journey in feeding her baby boy. Sure buying and using store-bought baby food can be convenient, but it is also pricey. There are so many benefits to making your own baby food when possible and Branson's going to tell you all about getting started. 
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When my son was first ready to start solids, I got so excited about this new phase of baby fun. I went out to the store and loaded up on little jars of every stage one baby food out there. I had so much fun feeding him, and seeing his reaction to the different flavors. I noticed that some of them seemed to upset his tummy a bit, but just figured he wasn’t quite ready for them yet. When I decided to quit my job to stay home with Aiden, I knew right away we were going to have to find ways to cut costs. This was when my love of making baby food was born!

I did lots of research, made lists of what he could and couldn’t have, and then stocked up on produce. For the next three days my kitchen looked like the produce department had exploded right there in my home. What a mess! I steamed, roasted, pureed, mashed, and froze little cubes of food until I had enough to last for months. Then, I actually started feeding my homemade food to Aiden. He loved it. He was eating almost twice as much as when we used the jars, and I noticed that the foods that upset his tummy didn’t bother him at all when they were prepared at home. Now, that isn’t to say that store-bought baby food is bad by any means, but I do believe that there are benefits to making baby food at home.

A great comparison between the two products is bananas. This is one of the foods that Aiden did not tolerate when he ate them from a jar, and there is no easier food to prepare at home! A nice ripe banana can be mashed and fed to baby straight from the peel. Sure, when you store the banana puree it doesn’t stay that pleasant color you see in the jars, but the taste difference is amazing. I know this because I tasted all of Aiden’s food, and to me the jars of bananas taste like they were prepared while the bananas were still slightly green. I do believe that is why Aiden got a stomachache when he ate them.

So many people think that making baby food is difficult, and I was one of them. What I found as I got into it, though, is that it is incredibly easy! The website I use most often for figuring out what to make and how to prepare it is http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com. This website is an excellent resource, that breaks everything down by age group, explains the nutritional value of each food, and tells you how to prepare them and what you should mix together. I will be the first to tell you that my knowledge of preparing produce before Aiden was open the can and dump it in a pan on the stove. I didn’t know how to prepare acorn squash, and I had never tried a parsnip. This website took me through every item step by step.

There are different ways to store baby food. I choose to freeze mine in ice cube trays. The frozen cubes are good for up to 3 months, and so I don’t have to constantly be making a mess in the kitchen making new food. When I am ready to feed the baby, I just microwave the cubes, mix in a little organic oatmeal cereal usually, and we are ready to go! Aiden eats such a wide variety of foods, and he loves them all. He is eating things his baby cousins probably never will, and as a result Matt and I have expanded our palates as well. The benefits are many, and I would definitely encourage any parent feeding an infant to look into making their own food. Even if you don’t make all of it, think of the things you can make to supplement what is available in the stores! It is never to early to start encouraging healthy habits, and an appreciation for healthy foods. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying your baby food premade, but you might very well become a baby food making addict like me if you only give it a chance!

3 comments:

Sue said...

My sister was the first person I knew that made her own baby food and also used the ice cube trays for her daughter who is now 31!
Your food looks so colorful and inviting, and you know exactly what your baby is eating:) Kudos to you. Good job!

Susie B. Homemaker said...

Great guest post! I never tried making my own baby food when my girls were young but this sounds like it's simple to do. Love the idea of using the ice cube trays.

Kristen @ Adventures in Mommyhood said...

I loved making babyfood with my daughter. I did a little with my son, too but we did more of a baby-led weaning approach with him as he wasn't too interested in purees. I love knowing exactly what was in his food and I love the example of bananas -- why would I ever buy one in a jar when I can just mash one at home??

Great guest post!