You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Hi there. I bet if you’re reading this, you’re a happy mama with a cute baby you love… I can relate to that.

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.comYou CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com Luke Ebenezer (A.K.A. Lukearoni, Lukey, cutest-baby-in-the-whole-wide-world) is our 7th baby, and like I’ve done for all 6 babies before him, once he was ready to start eating solids, I started making the food he’d eat.

Here’s why I do it:

  • I love knowing where his food is coming from. (When I’m pregnant, I know. When I’m nursing him, I know. So, why suddenly move him over to factory-processed food in jars and pouches? I like being intentional about what’s going into my developing baby.)
  • I like saving money. This method costs about 1/20th of what buying baby food in the stores will cost you. And I like keeping as much of our money as we can.
  • I like being able to control the texture. When they start out eating baby food, you want it so soupy it can fall off the spoon. Within a month, it should be more firm (but still finely processed). By the time they’re 9 months or so, though, it should be more chunky and thick. As they grow, it should be moving more toward table food pieces. When I make my own, I can make it exactly the right way for my baby’s age and stage.
  • Less waste. Not as much plastic/paper/cardboard waste. Not as much food waste.
  • I like the process. It is actually REALLY rewarding to make your own baby food, from start to finish. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know WHAT’s going in him, and that I’m  providing healthy, nutritious, worthwhile food for my sweet little one.
  • It’s easy to do. Read on, and I will show you just how easy it is!

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

STEP ONE: GATHER YOUR FOOD

Start with simple foods like:

  • Rice
  • Sweet Potato
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Squash
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Oatmeal

If you can grow or pick your own, all the better! (Until Luke, I’ve never lived in a part of the country or situation where I could legitimately do this.) This year, I’ve grown or picked more than half of the baby food I’ve made for Luke.

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

A MASSIVE Gravenstein apple I picked from a friend’s orchard

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Some butternut squash we grew next to our driveway

Mom tip #1: Since my first baby in 2002, I’ve used the thorough food guide in Super Baby Food to help me decide what foods to introduce, and when. It tells why to introduce certain foods before others, which foods you should add each month of age, and how to watch for food allergies.

STEP TWO: PREP YOUR FOOD PROPERLY

This is the place where I, especially in the early years when I was learning how to do this, consult my Super Baby Food guide.

Essentially, your choices are:

  • Use raw foods (bananas and avocados are good raw choices). Be careful about too much of this one! Most things need to (initially) be cooked for your infant’s developing stomach. They will be able to handle more raw as they grow older.
  • Steam (good for veggies like green beans, carrots, broccoli, and peas)
  • Cook on the stovetop (oatmeal, rice, apples, potatoes)
  • Bake (Squash, pumpkin, sweet potato)
  • Or, use the crock pot (this is increasingly a favorite prep method for me!)– for all veggies and fruits. (Great thing about this? It can be ready in 3-4 hours, or cook while you sleep overnight. Soooooooo simple!)

In all these methods, for fruits and veggies, you’ll want to cut out any pits, seeds, hard stems/cores, and/or peels.

DON’T over think this– Less prep is better. Plenty of people make their applesauce, for example, with the cores and stems. It’s OK if it’s not “perfect.” Don’t be nervous.

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Making apple plum baby food in the crock pot

STEP THREE: PUREE YOUR FOOD TO THE DESIRED TEXTURE

Scoop your cooked/ready food into the food processor (I use this one), along with whatever other flavors you want to add.

Play with food combinations. Some ideas:

  • Mix grains with fruit.
  • Mild-flavored veggies like squash, pumpkin, cauliflower, go well with more strong flavors like corn and broccoli.
  • Rice or oats go with anything.
  • Apples, bananas, and plums will sweeten just about anything, so be careful how much you use so you don’t develop end up with a child who won’t eat plain foods.
  • As they get older and the options grow, begin adding in foods you actually eat in your home. (Mix leftover taco meat up with the beans and rice, for example. Or, we’ve done sausage, rice, and blackeyed peas for Luke.) The older they get, the more you can use the food cube method to get them used to the flavors of your home.

Again, the younger your baby, the more fine and watery the food should be. As your baby grows, increase the texture accordingly.

If you’re a first-time mom, it probably feels like there should be more detail here… but it’s really that simple.

  • Start with simple flavors, and (discerningly watching for allergies) move toward the flavors and foods your family eats.
  • Start with a fine texture, and (discerningly paying attention to what size they can eat without choking) move toward larger bits of food until your baby is ready for table food.
You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Green apples and butternut squash, after they cooked all night on low in the crock pot

STEP FOUR: SCOOP INTO ICE CUBE TRAYS 

Once you puree, use a spoon to scoop your baby food into ice cube trays. I’ve also used muffin tins and those divided-section party trays for this purpose. Basically, you can use anything you can scoop food into and portion out in baby-sized portions.

Mom tip #2: Make sure, before you get started, that whatever you use (party tray, muffin tin) can fit in your freezer! Some items won’t fit at all, but also, sometimes, I’ve needed to use up frozen pizzas or whatever to make room.

 

Mom tip #3: If you have a cute 5-year-old around who wants to do the scooping for you, put him to work. :)

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

And if your 5-year-old decides that your 10-month-old needs to eat some, just because it’s so fresh and good, that works, too. You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

STEP FIVE: FREEZE AND BAG

Stick the food-filled trays in the freezer for at least 6 hours (overnight is better), so they can harden and freeze.

When you pull them out, they will look like this:

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Carrots and green beans, the morning after :)

Empty out your trays:

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Mom Tip #4: If you have a hard time getting the food out of the ice cube tray, run hot water lightly over the bottom of the cubes (it just takes a few seconds for them to loosen enough to easily slide out of the tray!).

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Look! There I am in the faucet reflection!

Then slip them into a freezer bag:

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

FINALLY: HEAT AND EAT

We use a simple cereal-sized glass bowl, pull out the number of food cubes we need, and heat it up in the 350-400 degree oven (usually along with our own lunch/dinner) for 8-12 minutes.

This is not an exact science:

  • Just heat it up until the food cubes melt. (On average they heat up in about 10 minutes.)
  • If it’s too hot, mix in half a banana or some cool water with Earth’s best rice cereal.
  • If it’s too cool, put it back in a little longer.
  • Use your finger to measure the temperature, and be sure to mix well so it’s evenly heated.
You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Green beans, banana, and rice

You CAN Make Your Own Baby Food // step-by-step real-life tutorial from a mom who's done it with 7 babies // jessconnell.com

Had to include this pic; his face cracked us up!

Your baby will love it and you will too! 

We spend FAR less, even without growing our own food, by doing this… and the pay-off of having your own ready-made baby food can’t be bought!

Bless your baby, and save your money– make your own baby food!

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE: Have you done this? Are you thinking about it? 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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6 Responses

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’ve made baby food for most of our 6 kids. I don’t worry about different textures we pretty much go from smooth baby food to soft table food. I use some personal size blender thing someone bought me to blend up just a little at a time. It is simple and easy, but so much cheaper.

    • Jess Connell says:

      That’s great.

      I do huge baby-food-cooking batches so I only have to do dishes from it once. :) I’ll do about a million in one weekend, and then not have to do anything for 6 weeks or so. I do go ahead and use our leftovers and start freezing them once we are in the baby food phase. While he’s not *yet* eating leftover black beans and rice, for example, because food keeps well in the freezer, I go ahead and freeze it so that we can add it in, in a couple months. :) Anytime we make oatmeal, there’s leftovers, so I go ahead and freeze that too.

      • Stephanie says:

        Yes I did the big batches with my first couple of kids. Now a little at a time works better for our schedule. I love how simple you make this for new mommas,.

  2. Sandrine says:

    I’ve been doing that for the first four children, and I’ll start again in two months for the fifth (vegetables, fruits and meat/fish). I usually do batches every few weeks. I do not mix up flavors up front, but I mix the cubes and other ingredients as I defreeze them. Most of the time, I use the microwave (quicker and you can easily defreeze more if needed, so no waste). You should be careful to mix thoroughly, though, to have the right temperature and avoid hot spots. Much cheaper, tastes much better and not that much work.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Great point! I often do the same (mixing plain rice with plain green beans with plain corn, or whatever). I love the versatility of having the ready-made food in the freezer to use in whatever quantities/portions I desire, based on the child’s preferences and palette. :)

  1. December 5, 2016

    […] and the plants thrived. We ended up with probably 30-40 huge butternut squash over the season. I used them to make baby food, and saved the seeds to try to grow some starters next year. And (2) the dahlias– I got them […]

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