Hannah has been eating foods for about 6 weeks and she is devouring them like a seasoned pro. Making her baby food has been an exciting challenge. Overall, I feel great about doing it and the amount of work involved is moderate. I did go through a bit of a learning curve, which leads me to question why the Food Network has not come out with a Baby Food Preparation special. Since that's not available I'll offer my suggestions to new Moms and Dads that would like to cook for baby at home.
1. If you want to cook less frequently, you'll need more containers. Luckily my Mom gave me the storage contents from her Baby Bullet set to double my stash. Some parents freeze the foods in ice cube trays and use Tupperware or Pyrex to store plenty of food. Remember- there's no double dipping once you start with a container so small portions are key!
2. Store-bought baby rice may just be the best option. I tried again and again to get the recipe right, but I couldn't grind to a fine enough consistency or prevent the pot from boiling over. On vacation, my Aunt got Hannah some Beechnut Rice Cereal and she loves it. The big difference is that it's already cooked, so it's super simple. I noticed that their recommended portion is pretty large, so I divide that into three containers and then it's already prepped for the next few meals.
3. Even if you don't make baby food all the time, it's great to know how to do it in a pinch. I didn't realize until dinner time that I had forgotten to bring baby food to our Thanksgiving celebration. It wasn't a problem at all because the chef had bananas and avocados on hand. I mashed up an avocado, mixed in some water, and served it with a 1/4 teaspoon for an instant nutritious meal.
4. Don't get tripped up on the "rule of 4." In the early days, pediatricians recommend starting foods on a four day introduction schedule. Looking back, it would have been much simpler to use that guideline as a minimum and stretch out some of the foods longer. I could have easily served her yams or rice for a week and enjoyed the break between cooking something new. However, you have to pay attention to the storage dates and freeze/thaw times since refrigerated food shouldn't be used after 3 days.
5. Although boiling is a great cooking method, heartier veggies really need the strength of the oven to cook thoroughly. Slice them in half and place them flat in a glass dish, add a quarter cup of water and bake at 375 for an hour. They come out so mushy that they are a cinch to peal and prepare. Bake some cookies or a pie for yourself while you're at it to utilize the whole oven.
6. Go ahead and buy a jar of baby food so you can see the consistency. Try blending small portions to get the best smoothness. Be careful not to wear out your blender by overusing it or leaving it on too long.
Older posts on baby's meals: Naturally Delicious and Baby's First Bites