March 3, 2015

Our Stage 1 Baby Food Methods & Resources.

Entering Stage 1. 
The past 6-8 weeks have been SO MUCH FUN. My son has started munching on solids, and by solids, I totally mean pureed, smoothie-ish textured foods :) This new part of our routine has led to a much better sleep schedule for us all. Of course, as I type this, I am completely sleep-deprived, because he has been teething this week which just throws everything off again, again. But he has worked so hard for these two little bottom teeth that sprouted up this week (all the moms feel my whole-hearted HOORAY!) In spite of this little teething blip, I must say that overall, things have been really smooth sailing in the baby department lately. Which is saying a lot, because it has been a whirlwind ride since this little boy made his appearance 7 months ago. So, yaay for teeth and fun foods and SLEEP.

"Knowing" He Was Ready.
My pediatrician kept telling me that I would know when my son was ready for solids. I didn't really know what she meant by that. But all the sudden, at 5 months old he started reaching for everything I was eating. He almost drooled into my coffee cup as I poured the happy morning beverage. How does he know to drool over coffee? That's my boy. I guess this was the "I'M FRIGGIN READY, MOM"-indicator. I wasn't ready for him to be ready, but he was! So at 5 and a half months, I tearfully strapped him into his little high chair and slowly armed his clothing with his rubber bib (see a few pics HERE.) I sat down in front of him with my first batch of homemade apple sauce, and after weeping a tiny bit (me, not him), I began spoon feeding him. That little smile. Smeared across his face in mashed-apple joy. He LOVED it. He was in apple Heaven, and started banging on his tray, as if to say, "I want more, cmon woman!" Every day since then, we have given him apple sauce or banana for "breakfast" and fed him different fruits and veggies at dinner time. Of course, this is all in addition to his many nursing sessions each day :)


Resources & Recipes.
I'm not into reinventing the wheel. So when it comes to making my own baby food, I have reached out for lots of help and guidance. I have pulled on the resourceful brains of my big sis Kara and my dear friend Liz, along with the Momtastic Wholesome Baby Food website and book. I started with recipes for making singular pureed baby foods, including Bananas, Sweet Potato, Apple Sauce, Pear Sauce, Mangoes, Avocados, Carrots, Peas and Zucchini. I have started combining some of the foods, creating blends of Apples & Carrots, Pears & Peas, Zucchini & Pears and Banana & Avocado. This isn't proprietary information, since pretty much every blogger under the sun has published the same baby food recipes over and over again. But I really needed step by step instructions spelled out for me, and in case you're a little bit like me, I wanted to share the method I've most enjoyed.



Stage 1 Baby Food Prep:
Cooking.
1) Peel, (when appropriate, core) and chop your fruit/veggie.
2. Place in a steamer basket within a stockpot of water on the stove. Make sure the water is high enough to just barely cover the fruit/veggies.
3) Steam/boil the fruit/veggies until soft enough to easily stick a fork through. The timing will totally depend on the type of fruit/veggie and how much you're steaming. Give yourself anywhere between 7-20ish minutes for this stage.
4) Remove chunks from heat and strain the fruit/veggies out. Reserve that water! It's nutrified.
5) Place chunks into blender (I use a Vitamix), and add a cup or two of the reserved water.
6) Blend mixture until a smooth puree is achieved.

Storing.
7) Pour mixture into ice cube trays. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. In the morning. place cubes in a large zip-top bag. Label the bag with the food type and date. Keeps in the freezer for 3-6 months.
8) Voila! You've made your baby food! You deserve chocolate.


Serving.
9) Remove a day's worth of baby food from the freezer at the beginning of the day. This could be 1-2 cubes for "breakfast", and 2-3 cubes for "dinner". I haven't really opted in to start serving him solids around lunchtime, but you could!
10) Place cubes in individual baby food containers. Allow to thaw. If you would like to serve the food warmed, you can place this container or this container in a cup of hot/boiling water to quickly heat. My favorite method to thaw/heat baby food is by water submersion, but there are tons of different options.
11) Make sure to stir the mixture well and taste-test each new serving (just to make sure there aren't heat pockets that could burn a baby's mouth.)

// I had a pretty cute audience for this food prep. //

Our Kitchen Tools:
- Tommee Tippee Easi Roll Bibs (These were a genius baby gift, thank you Jordan!)
- Munchkin Soft-tip Spoons
- Keekaroo High Chair (Another gift, thank you Merritt family! We love our pretty high chair!)
- Vitamix Blender
- OXO Freezer Storage Containers (for storing/heating baby food)
- Ball 4-oz. Jars (for storing/heating baby food)

A Few Last Thoughts:
Making baby food is no joke. It feels like a very domestic, wonderfully mommy-ish thing to do, but it is hard work. There is NO SHAME in serving your child store-bought baby food. On our first road trip I gave Everett some of these and these pouches of Stage 1 baby foods and he loved them. So there you go. Kids really don't know the difference.

A helpful note about how much to serve your baby.

A good reminder to always nurse or bottle feed your baby before serving solids. 

After preparing all this food, I was ready to go on a baby food diet myself. Seems so healthy.

I hope this helps! Do you have any tips for feeding your baby solids or recipes/methods that have been super successful in your own family? Do share!

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