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I bought the hand-grinder, (around ten dollars) and used it every day. I would save out single ingredients (before mixing/seasoning, and so on: for example, if I was making chili, I would save some plain ground beef for the baby, as well as a few plain kidney beans). I was careful to read labels, and bought items with less salt, etc.) I didn't use salt, sugar, or other unnecessary ingredients.
I also kept a bag or two of plain veggies in the freezer, so I could have some veggies for her if we were having salad, or the like. For the "starch", I often used pastina or nuked a potato, and fork-mashed it.
I had a Tupperware divided dish that I used and made double quantities, so I could save some for the next day's lunch.
I did the ice cube tray thing early on, when we were just introducing foods, so that they might be eating all squash for a week. Later I did it occasionally so that I always had a convenient back up.
My father-in-law thought the grinder was the neatest thing he ever saw, when I first whipped it out at Thanksgiving dinner to grind some turkey and carrots. (She also had mashed potatoes that I gleaned from the kitchen before the butter and milk were added.) My mother-in-law tended to cook like I did--without salt, etc.; so it was always easy to get what we needed.
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I also believe the varied textures of the foods made the adjustment to "real" foods seamless. My kids would eat anything I offered them.
One thing (speaking as a therapist): parents, please be reminded that it can take your baby up to 12 times to try a new food before they will accept a new flavor. Don't offer it once or twice, then stop, because they didn't accept it! (That is how we get kids with a repertoire of four or five things they'll eat!)
When he got a little older, I bought 100% Juicy Juice and mixed it with a little water instead of paying almost $3.00 for little bottles of "baby juice". I also bought MOTT'S no sugar added applesauce in different flavors instead of baby applesauce.
When he graduated to finger foods, instead of buying Gerber Graduates I bought single serving size veggies at Wal-Mart (they come in little one serve containers like Jello) and then I rinsed them very well and just put them on his high chair tray. I also feed my son some of whatever we are having for dinner if it isn't too spicy or hard to chew. He has had no allergic reactions to anything. He also ate things like cottage cheese or chunks of banana.
By Cindy S.
I probably have at least 10 books that I own, purchased at Half Price books and given to me. The Internet is also a resource for ideas.
Use a blender, cheap grinder or a fork. Remember, your infant doesn't need any food other than breast milk until he is at least 6 months old. And, he doesn't need any teeth. Don't continue to feed an 8 or 9 month old baby only finely pureed foods; it isn't necessary.
Google: making homemade baby food. If you truly want/need to save money, don't waste it on convenience foods.
I love the idea of using aluminum ice cube trays from ebay, thanks!
When my daughter began solid foods, I was shocked at the price of jarred baby food! It is easy to make your own, and is much, much cheaper! There is a lot of info available on the specifics (it's not complicated). You can access this info at your local library, or do a web search. An example of the cost savings: I can get an entire pound of bananas on sale for less than the cost of a single jar of baby food bananas!
By Leann D
Years ago, parents would just chew up a small bite of whatever they were eating and then poke it in the baby's mouth. This seems pretty crude today, now that we have better ways to do it, but before there was Gerber (or blenders or food processors) that's how it was done.
You are right though, baby food is absurdly expensive, and there's no reason you can't make it yourself for a fraction of the price. I wish someone had suggested this when my daughter was little; we were dirt-poor back then but I just couldn't go with the pre-chewing idea, so I splurged and bought the stuff in jars. Heck, we could have saved a fortune and the food would have probably been better for her too. Fresh is just healthier than canned.
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I am thinking about making baby food for our second child so at the store today I checked out the frozen fruit choices. I was amazed that 2 pounds of peaches were $4. If I did the math right, I would get 8 -- 4 oz jars of fruit. I know I would have to add water or baby cereal but I thinking straight numbers here. I can buy baby food 4 oz jars for 50 cents each, so basically my cost is the same.
Am I missing something? We have horrible produce where I live and I can't imagine the time it would take to wash, peel, cut and puree fresh fruit. Canned fruit is not an option for a baby because of all the sugar added.
Does anyone have any sugesstions for what food is the best to make myself? Thanks so much!
Mindy from Oregon
Mindy....I live in your neck of the woods....I cooked and blended foods for both my boys (except with the youngest I did buy some that we normally didn't eat, but switched to "canned" alternatives, like pumpkin (Libby's). If you have a Winco in the area, their prices are the best for frozen veggies, this will cut down the prep time and guarantee the best in terms of vitamins. Cook them until they are just soft (not for the full time) then puree in blender by slowly adding the broth. Freeze in ice cube trays and pop out one-two for a serving (equals about 1-2 tblsp.) This is also handy when you have to go out, as the cubes can defrost! I did the split peas for awhile, as I was on WIC, but frozen peas do not usually have extra salt. You can go fresh if you have a garden, but still buy carrots frozen, as the AAP has warned about nitrates in soil and the carrots can make it worse, so stick with frozen or canned for that (as they are all pre-cooked.)
I also prepped rice based dishes with that, and they ate meats at 6 months (my oldest ate Moose for 6 months, and boy did he grow!) They are easy in the blender too. Buy your applesauce and juice in the regular aisles, don't fall for the fancy baby packaging! You don't have to cook bananas before serving, so that is the easiest baby food! For special cookies, there are many recipes, but zwieback is a nice treat (unsalted crackers are a must during teething!) I also make oatmeal cookies and omit the chips, especially for after doc appointments (cookies are mandatory.) But especially during Thanksgiving, try buying the cans of pumpkin on sale, and if the baby doesn't like them, Nestle/Libby have great recipes for brownies, pies, cakes, etc and they are great for thickening soups. My babies still need their veggies snuck in to their diet, though they eat better compared to most kids (please, only whole grain wheat toast!)
I made pureed food from vegies and fruits for both my children when they were infants, and even as they were toddlers and the textures began to change. It is true that it is easier to teach kids about good foods and flavors if you use real stuff from the get-go. In fact, my boys now ask for things like asparagus, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes (real, not canned), blueberries, etc, etc, and they prefer my home canned applesauce (without sweetners) to store sauce. My method was to steam a bunch of a certain veggie or fruit, and then puree when it was still somewhat crunchy. Then, I would freeze in small containers and only use what I needed. I also pumped and froze breast milk to mix with cereals. To this day, my boys are good eaters and prefer natural to processed. So, even if it doesn't seem like you are saving money in the short run, you are teaching healthy eating habits an a taste for quality!
I made all my own baby food until I got to meats, they just were too hard to puree so small as the jar food, so I bought that. I would puree and freeze in ice cube trays also. I used fresh and canned fruits whatever was in season and lots of yummy veggies. Sweet potatoes, squash and carrots work very well as do canned green beans and peas. I got a $10.00 mini-food processer from Dollar General and it is still going strong. I found it to be much cheaper and MUCH more nutritious.
TC in MO
about canned fruit: stick to applesauce (unsweetend) and you can buy it in individual cups for traveling. You can also buy pears and peaches with the light syrup (pear juice) and rinse off before mashing (no cooking needed.) Bananas are best fresh, and mashed (no cooking needed.)
Talk to neighbors, or anyone who may have fruit trees and learn to make applesauce (you can use juice rather than sugar/water to sweeten.) Or leave me a message and we'll chat about it.....My yard runneth over with fruit!
i have heard from friends that the baby doesnt have to adjust his taste buds from your prepared food to your table food it all tastes right. BUT the canned baby food really doesnt have a good taste so then you introduce him to your food and he has to adjust.
I made "baby food" for my own son, but you don't really even need to go to any additional trouble - just feed baby age appropriate food from your table. When you cook, don't season things heavily, and plan things baby can have. My sister breastfed exclusively until about 6 months, then started with small amounts of veggies - carrots, peas, greenbeans, squash, etc - from her own plate, just smashed with a fork so baby could manage. She started fruits next, with softened bread/ceareals after that, and finally small bits of meat. Introduce foods slowly, the same as with commercial "baby food". You can plan to have "leftovers" for baby if needed. We talked to older relatives - evidently this was how things were done in my grandmother's and great-grandmothers day.
I made my own baby food also. I was shocked to see what a small amount ot meat it took, with broth, to equal that of a jar of baby meat. One of my kids' favorites was any type of fruit with cottage cheese, all mixed up in the blender. They loved it!!
CAUTION; If it were mine, and should your infant develop any rashes, suspect the fruit is too soon to make/give it.
Also, mixing fruit and meat in the same meal will cause MAJOR gas!
Making your own is worth FAR more than the cash
In each jar of veggies SOLD, except one, I think, there is as much as 600% of added Beta Carotene,(read the labels) which makes ANY human so hyperactive that the industry should be sued for doing it under the auspices of it being so necessary for infant eyesight development! Bologna! Children are not supposed to be crying,squirming, and hungry all the time.
Shame on the company that adds such a high dose to their baby foods! In making your own from steamed veggies, STRAINED of all fiber, you should have a WONDERFULLY happy and calm baby. Fruit juices should be given later on as well, homemade, unsweetened, diluted with water. It takes LITTLE to make baby happy. Once you start seasoning, it will learn the trick to demand the seasoning. If you reserve it for 2-3yr. it will be much healthier and calmer.
I do remember back when we had
our Dinosaur pets, lol, cutting the nipples a bit bigger to accept more solid by watery foods than cereals, (which I ALWAYS mixed into the diet, rather
than mixing fruit/meat together).
I'd wait until the child is about two-four before adding fruits .Bananas, weak fruit yogurts may be ok earlier. Give them individually and wait one week BETWEEN each new item to see if there is rash, hives, congestion, cough, runny nose, irritability or
discomfort/illness, any of which could indicate allergy
and/or sensitivity. Make note of what you give and when, so you will know what to eliminate or postpone.
If baby has a lot of mucous, cut WAY back on the milk products and NEVER give the infant gravy or cheese in ANYTHING, because they are mucogenics,
CREATING MORE MUCOUS and consequent infections.
Many infants are allergic to Soy, it's been discovered.
Mother's milk, goats milk, and fat free Organic milk
is much better, adding your own baby vitamins by
Babies can eat things much longer and get bored less often than adults, so just take it slow and easy.
Don't think of the baby's diet as being like YOURS. It should be so simple, it's comical. Don't rush it.
There's plenty of time to allow the infant to develop
resistance to things properly. Rushing into your own
foods out of convenience will cause you serious regret in the near future.
Don't give it FLOURIDES "for it's teeth development"
because it's toxic. It caused my child's teeth to be
mottled which is still there in adulthood.
God be with you as you search for the simplest and
most bland/unseasoned or only lightly seasoned without oils/butter, not to YOUR taste, but according to how God designed them to be eaten. Use all organics where possible:
potatoes(both kinds, unseasoned)
NOT spinach. (It is toxic when heated. We have done it wrong.)
FYI: Peaches has the HIGHEST amount of pesticides used than any other food. Although tasty, only organic peaches MUCH later is the best idea, in my opinion.
Go Organic by ALL means, to save a LOT of gas, medicines, stress. Do your homework about organic
homemade baby foods for a happier you and healthier, happier baby.
God bless you and yours.
Thanks for all the suggesions....I hadn't thought about having the need for them to adjust to "regular" food. I freeze or can most of our dinners (mini once a month cooking) so our food is already seasoned ....but I got the idea from here to set some aside first and freeze it. I saved most of the baby jars.
One thing I did with the first is take unsweented organic applesauce, yogurt (when he was ready) and other baby fruit and mix it with the baby cereal and freeze those. I 'm the type with the two full freezers of everything...lol. Lots of savings there!
I think you'll do fine, Mindy...And alot more companies are making canned foods with no salt added or less sugar, but read the label to rule out "hidden" sweetners (especially artificial!) If it is just salt, most of it can be rinsed away, and a little doesn't hurt, especially if you don't eat alot of seafood (for iodine.)