While I was pregnant, my mother asked me what I planned to make my son for his first solid foods. I looked at her as though she had multiple heads, and said “I plan to buy jarred food.” This seemed totally reasonable to me. But as Lucas started to get closer to 6 months, I began to reconsider. To be clear, I have zero judgment for parents that do not do this. But, I had a generous maternity leave policy, a very supportive husband who helped, and, truthfully, boiling some veggies takes approximately 15 minutes total. While I was cooking my own food, it was easy to boil something for Lucas.
So, when Lucas finally reached 6 months old, I started to introduce solid food. Actually, scratch that. “Solid” is a stretch. I started to introduce purees that were basically liquefied solid food. I continued breast feeding him until he was about a year, but I was mixing about one real meal in for him. I started with mostly the baby cereal, served with various fruit and veggie mixtures. I guess the baby cereal doesn’t count as homemade, does it, but you get my point.
He loved the baby cereal (not totally unexpected, because that stuff is SWEET). But the fruits and veggies were hit or miss. We did carrots, apples, mashed potatoes, peas, bananas, avocados, and squash. Then we moved on to more challenging veggies: broccoli and kale (!!).
I learned that the trick was to boil the vegetable first, until it reached the softness of a boiled potato, and then to put it through a baby masher. In retrospect, had I known about immersion blenders, that would have been key. Immersion blenders save so much time. Anytime I have to mix or blend something, I use my immersion blender. And they’re really affordable too.
Anyway, that was a digression. Lucas actually picked up all of the fruits and veggies really well. I didn’t add any spices, or salt in. The baby ate these as is, and so I didn’t feel the need to modify the produce in any way. Then I wanted to do meats. The idea of pureed meat sounded really appalling to me. But, I guess since he didn’t know better, he was completely fine with it. I would boil the meat (I did chicken and beef chunks), and then would food process the meat along with a bit of the broth. The chicken in particular would reach tuna fish consistency, which actually didn’t look too unappetizing. I would also bake fish (salmon, cod, tilapia), and would put that through a food processor. If he didn’t like it at first, I mixed the meat in with one of his veggies.
The lesson that I learned was that this is super easy. While I was making dinner for myself (even if it was simple), I would just put a vegetable on to boil for Lucas. Then, it could be in the fridge for a couple of days, and I would serve a couple of spoons at a time. I know that some people also freeze, but I never bothered with that since it was so simple to just make it fresh.
What this didn’t do, however, was to help my son gain an appreciation for veggies. He would love pureed broccoli, kale, or green beans. But now? I give him one of these foods and it ends up on the floor. Or he hands it back to me and say, “eat it mama.” Translation: I don’t want this, but you may! I’ve been practicing sneaking vegetables into his food, I’ll write a new post soon about the ways that I now mask spinach soon.
What about you all? Did you make your own baby food? And, have you had trouble serving your toddlers food that they used to love, but now can’t stand?