We are so excited to read Crystal’s take on introducing solids to her son. A few months ago we shared our own experiences: Grace’s baby-led weaning approach, and Amanda’s choice to buy organic baby purees. Crystal went another route with making her own baby food. Three moms, three babies, three different ways to introduce solids. Happy mamas, happy babies, yummy food.
My Foray Into Homemade Baby Food
By Crystal Kuti, owner of C.Kuti Designs
Being a first time mom, is a HUGE adjustment. Every new mom has different worries, for me it was baby food. It was a moment in history where I lost sleep over what really went into commercial baby food, and was Gerber really the only option for my little one? So as my belly expanded and my hormones changed, I had the amazing idea to make my own baby food. I quit my full time job, to start my new business, C. Kuti Design, from home while raising our child. I thought I’d have plenty of time to make my own baby food. I had these lovely images of puréeing avocado, rice, and carrots while my baby slept and my husband looked adoringly at us.
Well, it wasn’t quite that simple. Sure making baby food is easy at first. It’s a little daunting as you get started, but I use and love the Baby Bullet. It comes with freezer trays, the bullet, baby food jars, a manual with tons of helpful information and starter recipes, and a pocket nutritionist you can take to the grocery store with you. At first this is all you need. I studied the manual and nutritionist guide like my new Bible, determined to make the best baby food for my son.
I started paying attention to prices at my grocery store; fresh produce vs. jarred baby food. A 4oz jar of step 1 baby food was generally 44 cents/jar. While a regular sized squash was generally $1.07/squash. A regular sized squash would make 4 jars or more of baby food using the 2oz Baby Bullet jars. I kept a log of how much I spent at the grocery store on produce for baby food, and how much a jar of that kind of food was in the grocery store. I was actually saving money!
The Baby Bullet states that you can make an entire week’s worth of baby food in just 5 minutes, this is NOT the case. You have to cut, steam, boil, bake (whatever the cooking method), and then puree, jar, freeze or refrigerate your little creations. When Austin started eating baby food, he’d eat maybe a jar a day, of thin watered down baby food. Not so bad, I could go a week or longer before I had to make something new. Every 4 days, it’s recommended you introduce something new. I looked forward to these days with anticipation and excitement over what I would make him next.
The Baby Bullet Manual tells you how to make the baby food. I started out boiling the veggies, with a combination of water and breast milk (hey, there’s a reason you stockpile). The breast milk isn’t necessary, but I used it to help transition my son to baby food. That familiar flavor helped transition him, plus he was getting added nutrition from the breast milk.
As my son got older, I spent more time in the kitchen making baby food. I was able to save time by batch-boiling. Once your child has had a food for 4 days, you can boil those things together to save time. This is when I started getting creative. I would puree things separately or together and then put them in the freezer trays and baby food jars in different combinations. I learned what he liked, didn’t like, what he liked together, and what he would rather spit out. It’s easier when you can boil your vegetables together in one pot, and your fruit in another. Not all fruits and vegetables need to be boiled- these are your time-savers.
My son is a year old now. He loves his apples, bananas, spaghetti, rice, oatmeal, cheerios and oddly enough tofu. I make baby food 2-3 times a week and it takes about 2 hours from the time I pull out the Baby Bullet to the time I wash the last dish. You find your groove, your flow, and you wash dishes as you go. Sometimes I do the prep work of washing, peeling, dicing while he’s napping and then I boil, bake, and cook once he’s gone to bed for the night. I have all 4 burners going- rice, apples, vegetables, and one for cooking tofu or meat of choice, and in the oven I’m baking squash and zucchini. I’m pureeing as each finishes cooking and I put aside some for finger foods. I’ve got all of my empty jars and empty freezer trays lined up so I can just pour as each batch is done. The combinations are endless. I’m always looking for more information and new recipe ideas. The Baby Bullet website has some, but I Google a lot. A website that I refer to a lot is http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/ This is where I learned how to introduce spices into my son’s diet.
Now that my kid is an eating machine, it is time consuming and I do get tired of cooking for two hours at a time. Sometimes I wait until baby food jars or a freezer tray becomes empty instead of waiting until I absolutely have to make more.
I love being able to make baby food for my son. While I don’t always appreciate it when its pushing 11pm at night, I take comfort in knowing that he’s getting the best possible nutrition that I can provide. I love knowing that I’m saving our family money, and that makes me happy.