Jump to content
Beth Cover

Food for Baby

Recommended Posts

Okay, I'm being a complete geek. My son will be turning 6 months before I know it, and I would like to make his baby food. Although we will start will simple things, I would like to learn more recipes than pureed sweet potatoes.

Any good recipe books, classes, or recipes someone would share?

Many thanks, Beth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'm being a complete geek. My son will be turning 6 months before I know it, and I would like to make his baby food. Although we will start will simple things, I would like to learn more recipes than pureed sweet potatoes.

Any good recipe books, classes, or recipes someone would share?

My daughter's first food that she fed herself was polenta. I would cook polenta with some milk as part of the cooking liquid, add some reggiano, spread it onto a sheet pan until it cooled and solidified, then cut it into small cubes, which she was able to pick up and put into her mouth. She loved it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pete Wells wrote a great article about making your own baby food for Food and Wine magazine in June of 2005. I used to share it with my patients when they asked me about making their own baby food. It is a great back-to-reality reading for "foodie" parents. Pete Wells now has a monthly column in the New York Times called "Cooking with Dexter" so his explorations into baby food have not been totally unsuccessful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used a lot of the recipes shared in Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.

It was also the first time I made a lot of stock and broth and then used those things to make the baby food because it would be more nutrious. Had a lot of fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found making (some of) my own baby food was much easier than I expected (and I do work 40 hours +/week), freezing food into ice scream scoop size lumps or in ice cube trays, then storing in freezer bags. I also bought one of the baby food mills and put most vegetables and carbs that we were eating through the mill, adding broth or water if needed to thin; as my kids got older I also put fish and some meats through the mill. I found that this little plastic, non-electric mill was one of the best baby items I owned. I followed generally widely available guidelines for when to introduce various fruits and vegetables, but experimented a lot, with things like adding mild spices and herbs, for example. I would cook things together, such as potatoes and carrots (red bets and potatoes, while colorful, were not a hit). One resource I found informative for introducing new foods and ideas for different foods, is a book called something like Mommy Made and Daddy Too, but not sure if it is still available. My kids have never been picky, so that may have helped - I think I even put pad thai through the food mill (made minus peanuts and shrimp).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son is 9 months old, and loves to eat food! (and milk too, still).

The puree-only stage was pretty short for us--only a couple of months--and now he is much more into foods that he can pick up himself. So I would caution not spending a ton of money on stuff that you'll only use for a short time, although I think babies do differ on how quickly they get into solids. I do love the ice-cube trays, though--I have some designed for baby-food which are BPA-free and have lids, and I'm sure I'll be using them for years after we're done with baby food, since they are perfect for pestos, and herb butters, and cubes of stock ...

I would absolutely recommend the "Baby's First Solids" class at the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington. It's an hour and a half class for $25 per person. The class covers infant nutrition, recommended first foods, common allergens and how to detect allergies, and foods to avoid for the first year. (You don't have to be breastfeeding your child to attend the class.)

Some of the foods we started out with: mashed sweet potato, mashed banana, applesauce, pureed carrots, pureed broccoli, various combinations of the above. At 9 months, favorites include hummus, yogurt with fruits, labneh, blueberries, green peas, macaroni, black beans; but I'm finding more and more that he will just eat bits of whatever we are having for dinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all of the information. I'm looking forward to making food for him...though I realize that most of it will probably end up ON him. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hands down, the best $20 I spent as a new mom was on Feeding Your Child For Lifelong Health. Practical advice grounded in science, without an agenda. Just the information about proper portion sizes is worth the price. Both of my kids have behavioral disabilities, but thanks to the strategies in this book they eat a wide variety of foods and are slim & active.

My kids both hated homemade pureed baby food, because of the texture. I fed them organic jarred veggies with no guilt whatsoever and started them on table food as soon as I got the green light and they seemed interested. YMMV, of course.

There's some opposition to the book's strategy of not overwhelming the little ones digestive systems with a lot of fiber (whole grain bread) but I didn't give my kids starches to snack on. Their first finger foods weren't Cheerios - they got no-salt cooked green beans, peas, and carrots (softer texture) and little broccoli florets cooked until easily mashed. Another thing that worked well when they were old enough for cut up sandwiches was buying thin sliced bread. I also never used the "kid-friendly" recipes in any book. They got the same stuff we did, the only difference was that I would cut back on the chilies or other hot stuff. We're getting them used to spicy food right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now you can also purchase Norah O'Donnell's "cookbook" (wife of Chef Geoff Tracy of the chain of Chef Geoff's).

I particularly enjoyed reading the comments and find it hard to believe that the Tracys have never bought a jar of baby food, as they claimed in their interview. Possible, yes, but also extremely difficult sometimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I particularly enjoyed reading the comments and find it hard to believe that the Tracys have never bought a jar of baby food, as they claimed in their interview. Possible, yes, but also extremely difficult sometimes.

Not difficult at all when you can tell the housekeeper/nanny/au pair to make it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm relatively new to the lit, but the most useful book I've found thus far has about six pages on babies; focus is on young children: Jenifer Lang Cooks for Kids, 1991. Author's a CIA-trained mom who isn't above the use of canned beans, Pillsbury and V-8. Lots of practical advice.

Some of her suggestions are here in this thread. While Lang bought jars of baby food, she says that after her son reached 12-14 months and had a few teeth to chew food, the Happy Baby Food Mill was her favorite gift for grinding 1-2 oz. of adult food to toddler-consistency. For fun as well as good info, also consult Hungry Monkey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 11(!)-month old really likes eating our table food. He's smart enough to know when his portion doesn't look like ours and is seriously indignant when he doesn't get his fair share of the good stuff. I've taken to setting aside a portion of anything he can eat before the final salting/sugaring. We were introducing one food/ingredient at a time, but this approach went out the window last month when we fed him Singapore noodles to avoid a meltdown at a restaurant and he loooooooved it. *Shrug*, I guess my kid likes tasty food. The most successful dishes so far have been: congee, oatmeal, fried/scrambled eggs, sauteed greens, carrot soup, cornbread, pancakes, and tamales (with red chile sauce). Soft tacos are still too dry. Next up will be a lentil curry.

Previously I'd been making purees and mashes of peas, broccoli, spinach, peppers, corn, beets, green and wax beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes, thinned with homemade vegetable stock. Prepared fruits were stewed prunes, mashed blueberries, melon, cherries, and raspberries. Bananas and avocados are great because they don't require any prep and you can mash as you go. In fact, we fed him bananas for his first solid food. I was making applesauce but it is SO much easier to just feed him regular applesauce bought in big jars (not the individual baby food jars). All foods were frozen in cubes and stored in gallon-freezer bags for easy access.

So far he eats every kind of cheese - mozz, Babybels (life-saving while out of the house!), feta, cheddar, and smoked gouda.

He still eats his vegetable and fruit mashes, but shows a noticeable preference for pretty much everything else. Particularly, whatever the nearest big person is eating.

Not bad for a kid just starting to sprout teeth!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We make small batches of the purees in the Magic Bullet and whiz larger batches with the immersion blender.

I was reminded this week that this step:

All foods were frozen in cubes and stored in gallon-freezer bags for easy access.

is key. For some reason (sleep deprivation!), it didn't occur to us for a couple weeks to take all the cubes out of the freezer tray at once, so we were wrestling with the darn thing (and its extremely tight-fitting lid) several times a day to pull out one cube at a time. That approach is...not recommended.

Kiddo also likes slightly smashed pot pie filling (I'm sure he'd eat the crust as well but we're holding back the buttery stuff for the moment) and oatmeal baked with fruit.

My niece pretty much lived on the inside pieces of fried chicken (my sister removed the skin and pulled the inner meat for her by hand - yes, chicken prepared any other way was completely unacceptable) for years. Copying her play, we gave the baby the flaky inner pieces from our favorite restaurant salt and pepper fish and he is a BIG fan.

We just started with yogurt, but it is surprisingly difficult to find small cartons of whole-fat, unflavored yogurt around here (Southern CA). Oodles of flavored and low- or no-fat yogurts, but nothing like a single-serve Stonyfield that I know I can get back on the East coast. I suppose I could go back to making my own, but that is much better in large batches and I certainly don't need whole-fat yogurt!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sister, who is a La Leche league member, and a labor and delivery nurse, is of the opinion that you should not give a baby anything but breast milk until the child is trying to snatch the food from your hands or plate.  But she's hard core, and breast fed easily, two girls.  I had a hard time breast feeding, and two big boys.  I used one of the plastic mills, probably Gerber.  Mine liked smooshed up peas, carrots, egg yolk, applesauce, but absolutely loved pureed beef stew with potatoes and carrots.

One is over 6'2", one is over 6'4", but weight problems, probably due to mistakes I made, although I expect that pizza, hot pockets, pop tarts and McDonald's more to blame than the baby food.  Well, diluting formula with apple juice was a major screwup, for the first one, knew better the second time. Wish I could go back in time and do it over.

My motto used to be, "I am a trial lawyer, therefore you eat fast food."  Cringe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sister, who is a La Leche league member, and a labor and delivery nurse, is of the opinion that you should not give a baby anything but breast milk until the child is trying to snatch the food from your hands or plate.  But she's hard core, and breast fed easily, two girls.  I had a hard time breast feeding, and two big boys.  I used one of the plastic mills, probably Gerber.  Mine liked smooshed up peas, carrots, egg yolk, applesauce, but absolutely loved pureed beef stew with potatoes and carrots.

One is over 6'2", one is over 6'4", but weight problems, probably due to mistakes I made, although I expect that pizza, hot pockets, pop tarts and McDonald's more to blame than the baby food.  Well, diluting formula with apple juice was a major screwup, for the first one, knew better the second time. Wish I could go back in time and do it over.

My motto used to be, "I am a trial lawyer, therefore you eat fast food."  Cringe.

Eh, we do the best we can with what we know at the time. Stricter views on childhood nutrition and gourmet/handmade everything is a lot more in vogue these days than in the past. And time/convenience is NOT an inconsiderable factor in just getting through the week. Everyone making it through alive is the most important thing!!! There are always things we can do better in hindsight.

I am very lucky in that I've had no trouble breastfeeding and I work from home. I recognize the incredible good fortune we've had in both of those things and try to be grateful every day (even with the biting! ahhh!). We did wait until he was sitting up and snatching and yowling about being excluded from mealtimes (around 6ish months), but I know and have read about lots of people who started quite early with watery solids (from 4 months!) and the kids seem to be fine (there doesn't seem to be a ton of hard scientific evidence on this topic either way because it's hard to do controlled experiments on babies, and different books vary on the best starting time for solids!). Making food for him also just happens to fall very easily into our routine, since I've been batch cooking weekend meals to last through the week for years, so adding a few vegetables and porridges into the prep mix is no trouble. It is getting easier as he eats more of what we're having, especially since he really kicks up a fuss at having different food. Turns out he does like curried lentils, which opens up a whole new slew of foods that we can eat with us, as we eat a LOT of curried things. I do not expect him to keep his wide palate through the toddler years, but it's nice for now and if he's picky for a while hopefully it will return when he's older.

We're currently debating when to start peanuts. Our pediatrician advice (though it varies widely depending on which doctor you ask!!!) is to wait, but a good new paper (by good I mean randomized experiment on hundreds of children and published in a great journal) and older observational papers are advocating for early exposure to potential allergens, especially peanuts. We don't have any food allergies, but have lots of other allergies and eczema (hence our dr.'s stance for the baby) and we're already out of the early exposure window from the paper. We gave him whole eggs and he is fine, and accidentally fed him foods with almonds, so he is fine with tree nuts. Plus my husband eats a ton of peanut butter, so we've probably already had cross contamination and secondary exposure. Hmmmm, yeah, we're probably going to try formal exposure in the next week or so.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our little buddy (16! months now and 8 teeth) has mostly moved past the puree stage. He mostly eats what we eat (else there will be yelling in the land) made small, but I still make some vegetables exclusively for him. I'm using the food processor to shred various vegetables and then sauteeing them until soft. I've done shredded carrots and zuchinni, and finely diced onion and mushrooms. I've made these separately and in combinations and they are all acceptable. I'm also still roasting him yams periodically and making random mixed greens (whatever bags of organic frozen green stuff I grabbed from Trader Joe's that week) cooked till soft in chicken stock and roughly whirled with the immersion blender.

He's a huge fan of peanut butter, nutella, pesto, and hummus. No allergies thus far thank goodness.

He can eat most beans now, though I will smash bigger beans such a kidneys before I give them over. He will eat any shape of pasta made small and can handle spoonfuls of rice even when it's dry. We are terrible about letting him feed himself (So. Slow. and the mess!!!) but he's pretty good with blueberries, peas, chunks of cheese and oranges, and cereal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny, I was just thinking this morning how nice it is that our almost 2-year-old eats most of what we eat at this point. I still make her separate meals sometimes if we're having leftovers or for her breakfasts and lunches at daycare.

She loves yams -- I give them to her with black beans and maybe some cheese. (She also LOVES cheese -- hmm, where did she get that from?) She also likes peanut butter, hummus, pasta, blueberries (LOVES them -- eats them like I eat M&Ms), bananas, applesauce, strawberries, and grapes. She'll eat carrots, peas, mushrooms, and other vegetables in other dishes but not so much by themselves. We don't have any known allergies, either, thankfully. Lately I've been making baked omelettes (the last one had cheese, bell peppers, and chorizo), and she likes those (although the one time I gave her omelette for her lunch at daycare she refused to eat it -- sigh).

She's getting better at feeding herself with utensils, but I'll be happy when the messy stage is over!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...