Our family primarily uses cloth diapers and makes our own baby food. Although I appreciate the idea of being “green”, I have to admit our primary reason for choosing cloth diapers was the financial savings. My husband and I have both made many sacrifices for me to spend so much time at home, with our daughter, while she is young. So, I consider it one of my Mommy duties to find all the ways possible to parent with frugality. I just didn’t know I would enjoy it so much a long the way.
We started our daughter, Emiana on cereal at six months and followed it with solid foods. In the weeks leading up to to the introduction of solids, we stocked the freezer. I perused many different websites researching the best order to introduce the foods. Boy are there many varying opinions. However, our primary resource in the beginning and even now is a fantastic book, Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months by Lisa Barnes. We were blessed to receive it as gift from a dear friend of ours, Jen.
Homemade baby food is able to maintain many more nutrients than its commercially prepared counterparts which are cooked at extreme temperatures to extend its shelf-life. I’ve tasted all of Emiana’s food before serving it to her and have found it to be pretty tasty (the asparagus was a little much). One of my favorite features, no baby food smells! The main downside is that the food has to be refrigerated so if we are on the go I pop it in a small lunch box with a few ice packs.
I prepare the food in large batches and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of the whole process. The basic process that we use includes washing the fruits&veggies, steaming, pureeingin the food processor, freezing in ice cubes trays, and storing in labeled Ziploc bags. I have also saved the water leftover after the steaming process, combined it with the vegetable trimmings and fruit cores, and used the broth in other recipes. Another resourceful way to add a few more nutrients.
If I had to make an estimate, I would say that in the three months (6-8) in which my daughter consistently ate purees, I spent between 15-18 hours total preparing her food. More about this in another post but, I am still batch preparing food only now it has switched to chunkier foods able to be devoured by little fingers.
I have found making Emiana’s food to be extremely gratifying and I’m so glad that I had the chutzpah to follow through.
Update, the time for guessing has ended so…. the foods featured in the post are brown rice, peaches, plums, asparagus, blueberries, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, sweet peas, pears, apples, mango, green beans, butternut squash, and avocado.