11 Things to Consider Before Making Your Own Baby Food

18 Jul

In yesterday’s post, I laid out 9 Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food. But there may be things you haven’t considered because you’ve never done this before. I’ve happily served as your baby food making guinea pig. Read below for some intel.

#1 BENEFITS OF STORE FOOD
There are certainly added benefits for making your own baby food, but remember that many store-bought foods are fortified with extra goodies, like DHA and iron. I can’t decide for you what benefits outweigh the others, but just know there are benefits all around. Because Jane Darby is more at risk for iron-deficiency anemia because of prematurity and low birth weight—not to mention blood tests confirmed it—I came to appreciate the iron fortification found in store-bought foods.

#2 PEDIATRICIAN GUIDELINES
I took these a little more seriously when making baby food. For example, it’s not suggested to introduce berries before nine months because of allergies, and my doctor confirmed this. Some six-month-stage store food, however, includes them. I still followed the doc’s rules, as I personally concluded using the real thing was a little more daring. Turns out I was right! This post explains the difference in homemade vs. processed food with berries.

#3 BPA FREE (AND ALL THAT JAZZ)
The food pots I used were BPA free, but not the ice cube trays or freezer bags I used for freezing and storing. I actually didn’t realize this until well into my food-making process and had an uh-oh moment. While it’s totally possible to store food BPA free, being BPA free at every level (making the food, feeding the food) seemed too tricky for me. I had room for improvement in this area for sure.

#4 ADDING MILK
Have lots of excess breast milk, or looking for other ways to use it? Using milk to thin food and make it process easier worked really well for me. Plus, it added nutrients and flavor. I followed the typical rules for freezing milk and did not use any thawed milk in my foods as I would have had to refreeze it if I did. However, I had to break the no microwaving milk rule to thaw my frozen food cubes.

#5 CONVENTIONAL BABY FOOD STAGES
It’s hard to keep up with the conventional stages of baby food you’ll see on the commercial stuff. Even when I was making my food very fine, it still ended up being thicker than store-bought “first foods.” I don’t think this was a bad thing in the end, as my baby became used to new and different textures pretty quickly. However, if your baby is just starting out, you’ll want to make sure your food is smooth and easy to swallow and digest. You may have to use extra tools, like a sieve, to get it just right.

#6 TRAVEL
Traveling with frozen baby food was troublesome, but we did it. (Thank you, dry ice!) I was already needing to travel with frozen milk, so I just took the baby food, too. Not sure how this would be possible if flying to and from your location. Had push come to shove, I would have bought her food on the road.

#7 MEAT
Yep. You’re going to have to puree meat.

#8 FREEZING/SELECTING FROZEN FOODS
Freezing some fruits and vegetables, like spinach, can account for an increase in nitrates over time. Not going to lie: I don’t know what this means, but I didn’t like the way it sounded. Thus, Jane Darby didn’t get cooked-then-frozen spinach. Do your own research and make your own informed decisions where this is concerned. Also, when selecting frozen fruits and veggies, watch for sodium levels. In most cases I was able to find no-sodium options, but when I wasn’t able to, I always ensured sodium levels were low.

#9 TIME
If you don’t see yourself being able to carve out about 1.5 hours every two weeks or so to make baby food, I wouldn’t suggest it. I certainly don’t consider myself a supermom for having made my own baby food, but it did take a lot of time that some new moms might not be willing to part with. Also, consider the time it takes to serve the food. Instead of just sending her to school with a jar of food, I had to thaw it and put it in storage pots. (And regularly wash those pots, too.)

#10 OUTLAWED
A few fellow food-making moms have shared with me that their daycare facilities do not allow homemade baby food. This was not a problem at our facility, but I can imagine my frustration had it been. Before you put in the work, you need to make sure your concoctions of motherly love won’t be banned.

#11 NAYSAYERS
Some folks will think you’re pretentious for making your own baby food. Some folks will think you’re weird. Some folks will even think you’re putting your baby at risk. But don’t worry: you don’t have to have a reason to give your baby parsnips as long as she likes to eat them!

In tomorrow’s post, Part 3, I’ll cover what you need to make baby food, and how to do it! I’ll also share my favorite resources. Stay tuned.

Part 1: 9 Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food

Part 4: A Case for Store-Bought Food: What It’s Like on the Other Side

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