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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Real Food for Babies

Our six month old started "solids" recently. My husband thought I was crazy when I told him that instead of the mainstream, politically correct rice cereal as his first food... I wanted to feed him butter.
"Butter?" he asked, "Who eats butter?"
"Butter is good for you," I answered.
"Yeah, but we don't eat it by itself."
I perservered and fed our baby butter. Why butter? It's full of fat, which babies need a lot of for their developing brain. We then fed him avocado, full fat yogurt, and banana. He still hasn't had grains which are harder to digest, but he will probably start them soon.

I have a confession to make: sitting there spooning baby food into a baby's mouth is not on my top ten list of things to do. (In fact, I'd rather change diapers!) I could not wait for the day when my babies were old enough for finger foods! The good news is that letting your baby feed himself is actually a good thing. It develops hand mouth coordination and lets the baby choose how much to eat.

Because our baby is still working on the coordination, and because I want to get as much food as I can in his little tummy just in case it will help him sleep through the night(!), we have a two part approach to feeding right now. We let the baby sit with our family at dinner. On his high chair tray, we put small amounts of food (usually part of what we're eating) and let him work on getting it to his mouth. Then, before bedtime, we feed him with a spoon.

If you haven't made your own baby food, it is really easy. I did this with all my kids because it cost less and because you can choose exactly what goes in it.

All you need is a food processor or food mill or even a blender. Any fruit or vegetable will work, but it's best to use organics for your baby so you expose them to as little pesticide residue as possible.

Here's what I do:
Cook the vegetable.
Puree it.
Separate into ice cube trays. When frozen, store in an airtight container in the freezer. Then reheat and serve.

Ideas for baby foods:
Peas- heat in saucepan
Sweet potatoes- bake
Apples-peel, chop, then boil with a little water until soft
Bananas- mush with a fork, serve raw
Avocadoes- mush with a fork, serve raw
Carrots- steam until tender
Berries- no need to cook, puree raw fruit
Green beans- steam until tender

Other baby foods:
Plain yogurt
Eggs, scrambled
Beans (Kidney, black, pinto, etc.)

Check out this resource list by Nina Planck, author of Real Food for Mothers and Baby.
Kate at Modern Alternative Mama posted her thoughts about feeding babies here.
Please add any foods I've missed and any other tips you may have; I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I'm glad you posted this since you know we are in the same boat right now. With Bayer, I bought all my food and with Ollie I said I would make my own because it would be so much cheaper, but laziness has stepped in and I haven't made any yet besides mashing bananas. I should just make a few big batches one afternoon and get it done with! Thanks for the push!

  2. Chantelle,

    No hurry on those grains. I don't give my babies grains until they're at least a year old. They really don't have what it takes to digest them before them. It's really no more nutritious than feeding them gravel at this point.

    I encourage you to look into it.