September 27, 2009


The boy's been on solid foods for a while now, but the transition was pretty intimidating for this first-time mama: home-made versus store-bought, organic versus manufactured, pureed to soup or just mashed to bits? And how much of what are you supposed to feed a baby, anyway? I must admit it was so much easier when he was exclusively breastfed. I knew he was getting the very best, and just as much as he needed -- and the best part was, there was nothing to clean up afterwards!

But once I navigated the maze of choices and overcame my initial fear of preparing my own organic babyfood, I was excited by the whole process. Selecting the best fresh ingredients and turning them into something yummy (and often colorful!) to eat was incredibly satisfying: just another way to nuture my baby.

I found this book a great source for learning what ingredients are appropriate for babies at their different developmental stages, but by far the best resource was my cousin, a mother of two, who could tell me what foods babies actually like to eat and demystify for me the whole process of making my own baby food.

I remember when she first told me seven years ago that she was feeding her kids homemade babyfood, I thought she must be nuts -- or at least some sort of crazy-crunchy Earth Mother extraoridnaire, which I am definitely not. I also figured it must be a lot of work (as if motherhood weren't work enough!). But in fact, nothing could be simpler. Just take a bunch of raw ingredients, steam them if need be, and puree them all in a blender. I discovered these single-serving containers so that I can prepare large batches all at once and then freeze them for later.

So far, our favourites include combinations of the following: peas, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, green beans, butternut squash, bananas, plums, avocados, lentils and pasta. One surprising hit was the lemon-basil linguini with clams and sardines, which we put through a simple food strainer like this one. Definite flops have been the apricots (gave him bad indigestion), the broccoli and the leeks (too pungent-tasting).

It's been a real food education for us, though. We've always tried to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but often fallen short of the mark. Trying to provide healthy meals for our son has meant that we're eating better ourselves--at least for now. I'm sure we'll fall off the wagon and give him pizza before too long, but hopefully it will be a homemade veggie pizza.

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