by Dana B. Bryant
Are you shocked by the price of those tiny jars of baby food? Do you want more control over what your baby eats? Would you like kid's diet to include the types of foods your family eats now?
Fortunately there's an alternative to those jars at the grocery store.
Try your hand at making your baby's food from scratch!
We asked our members to share tips and stories about their challenges and successes. They came up with some sure-fire things to do and not do when it comes to creating delicious and nutritious food for your baby.
Making your own baby food saves money! Adelvise says, "I think making baby food is way cheaper than buying it at the store. Our markets have squash for three dollars. It makes a ton of food. It's also so much yummier for the baby. I never buy jars of banana either. They are so cheap and it is so easy to just mush it up raw for them to eat."
You can create your own "first foods." "We chose pears as our baby's first food. We didn't have a really important reason for choosing pears. They are easily digested and organic Bartlett pears were on sale for super cheap. Avocado, bananas, and sweet potatoes are also great first foods for babies," Kristen said.
Should you use fresh or frozen foods? Mel says, "That can be confusing! If the vegetable or fruit is in season and from a store that has very fresh produce, then I use fresh. If not, I use frozen. If you grow your own food or shop at a local produce market, then always use fresh. I mixed it up with both of my children and used both."
What's in a stage one food? "It takes a lot more liquid than you think to thin foods enough for stage one first foods. I started off using breast milk, but found plain old water was easier," Suzie shares.
Tip: Use the cooking water! "Save your cooking water to use to thin the purees. Nutrients from food will often leach into the cooking water during cooking, so adding some back in can help you keep more nutrients in the food. The only exception is foods high in nitrates like carrots, broccoli and spinach," Brittany says.
Tip: Using breast milk to thin baby food : MrsMangoBabe reminds, "If you use breast milk for thinning purees, make sure it's only frozen once. If you have already frozen breast milk, don't thaw it, add it to your puree, and then freeze again. If you want to use already frozen breastmilk, you can freeze your puree thick and add the breastmilk before serving."
Finger foods: "Anything that you can mash between your thumb and forefinger is generally soft enough for your baby to mash with his or her gums. Cooked, diced fruits, such as pears, apples, peaches, and mangoes, make good finger foods for babies. Dices of ripe banana or avocado are also good options," Brittany says.
What's worked for you and what hasn't? Let us know your secret tips for making mom's best food.