Making Your Own Baby Food

Mashed Avocado
One thing that we wanted to ensure for baby girl was healthy food when she started solids. What do we consider healthy? Well, nothing processed that comes out of a sealed bag or jar. This was important to wifey and me as, frankly, we don't know how they make commercialized baby food. Look at a jar of baby food on the store shelves and some of the more popular brands list one ingredient. Stuff like sweet potatoes, or green beans, or pears. However, we don't know how long ago these foods were produced. They usually list a best before date, but nothing lists the date of production. We also didn't want to give baby girl things like sugar, salt, or oil for the first year or so. There's no need for extra sugar or salt in the diet, so why subject baby girl to that early on and screw up her taste buds?

For the past 3 months, baby girl has been showing an affinity for the foods wifey and I eat. This may be part of the "stick everything in your mouth" phase of baby development. Now that the 6 month mark has passed*, we started preparing some simple foods for baby girl to try out. The purpose of giving baby girl solids, for us, is not for nutrition. We're giving her a sample of the different tastes and textures that are available. Nutrition wise, baby girl will still rely on wifey's breastmilk.

The first food we prepared was brown rice. We wanted to get baby girl used to the flavour and texture of rice, but wifey isn't really a fan of white rice. Well, that's not true. She loves rice. However, since discovering that many fibers are lost in the production of white rice, she's more into brown and red rice now. Wifey hand picked a few grains of brown rice (from the 8kg bag as some grains still have the hull) and boiled the rice until it was soft. When it was soft enough, we mashed the rice into a puree. While we could have used a blender, we didn't want to lose a lot of rice (as rice sticks to the sides of the blender). Once that was complete, we spooned a teaspoon into her bowl and froze the rest in an ice cube tray**.

While baby girl didn't like the brown rice at first, she ate it nonetheless. We're not sure if it was the flavour or the texture or the thickness that made her look like she was revulsed.

Most websites and resources we read suggested we feed baby girl the same food for a few days to see if she shows any sign of allergies. So we continued feeding her rice.

The second time we fed baby girl the rice, she didn't make a face. Instead, she ate it and demanded MORE despite running out. Seems she likes rice.

When the rice was finished, wifey and I decided to feed baby girl rolled oats next. We figured oats are pretty solid. Plus we have a lot of oats in the form of a 5kg box from Costco. There's only so much I can bake with oats and I don't have oatmeal every morning, despite it being super cheap and easy to make daily. So anyway, we used the blender to chop up the oats into a fine powder before boiling the oats in water. Any excess powder, we stored in a plastic container for later. The boiled oats actually looked similar to the rice puree we made previously. I was a little worried baby girl wouldn't like the bland taste of oats so I sampled a spoon before we started feeding her and was pleasantly surprised that oats have a natural sweetness to it.

Much like the initial feeding with brown rice, baby girl made a face that screamed "OMG! This is disgusting!". Again, we're not sure if it was the flavour or texture or if she was expecting rice again. Regardless, she still swallowed the oats despite the facial expression. She didn't finish it all, but that's okay. We're mainly feeding her to get her used to the tastes and texture and not for nutritional purposes.

The second time we fed baby girl the oats, she gobbled it all up. All of it. She ate the oats so fast, she was frustrated with daddy for being too slow feeding her. Literal "slap your hand on the tray" unhappy. It's okay. I'm happy she doesn't mind the taste of oats. Also, a bonus is that she's not allergic to oats either.

Finally, this past week***, we decided to go fancy and picked up some avocados for baby girl to try. Avocados were a big deal for wifey and me. One, the one and only time I had avocados, I had diarrhea issues. While it was 12 years ago, I avoided them ever since. I don't know if it was avocados or cross contamination with eggs (what usually causes my diarrhea issues). As such, we were worried, she might have my proclivity in regards to a possible avocado allergy. Two, we never purchased avocados before, so we didn't know how to pick them. Regardless, a lot of websites recommend giving little ones avocado because they are full of nutrients and fats. After a little research, we decided we could give avocados a try.

Preparing the avocados was easy. We just needed to ripen them first. To ripen them, we put an avocado in a paper bag with an apple. Apparently, this helps to ripen the avocado faster. We tried this and it must have helped as the avocado we placed in the paper bag was ripened before the avocado we left outside.

To prepare the avocado for baby girl, we sliced the avocado into eights, peeled the skin off a slice and hand mash. The rest of the avocado slices, we froze in a freezer bag.

Again, baby girl's first taste of avocado made her make, yet another, disgusted face. She still ate the avocado, but she only ate less than half of the avocado. Fortunately, wifey ate the rest. I actually tried a bit and I didn't have an allergic reaction. Either I grew out of it, or previously, the avocado I ate 12 years ago was cross contaminated with egg.

Anyway, we decided we needed to feed baby girl more solids, so the next morning, we gave her avocado again. This time, like the second times we gave her rice and oats, she inhaled the avocado faster than I could spoon it into her mouth. By the time her bowl was empty, she was demanding more and grumbling when she realized daddy couldn't feed her more.

As for what's next, wifey and I are contemplating green beans before we start feeding her sweeter foods like sweet potato and bananas.

Once she gets a handle on this, we'll start her with meats, like chicken, and when the 8 or 9 month mark rolls around, we may start feeding her yogurt and cheese.

*Of course, this wasn't the smoothest transition. Around the 5 month mark, we started solids as baby girl was showing a lot of interest in eating. However, when we tried giving her mashed up hard boiled egg yolk, she threw up. Of course, this was the second time giving her egg yolk. After 2 weeks, we tried again and she threw up again. Lesson learned. Time to wait until the 6 month mark before starting baby girl on solids again.

**An ice cube tray is a great way to portion off homemade baby food. Just scoop the amount you want to portion off and freeze. Once the food is frozen, you can remove the portions from the ice cube tray and store in another food container. To reheat, just toss it in the microwave and nuke it for 30 seconds. Stir it a bit to make sure it's not too hot or cold. Microwaves tend to leave hot spots in food, so it's important to mix it a bit to ensure the heat is dissipated before feeding to your little one.

***Actually, we wanted to feed her avocado the week we fed her oats. However, the avocado we bought her never seemed to ripen. We cut it open to see what was up when it started getting squishy on the top and found many brown strings inside. Apparently, brown strings are a sign that the avocado was either picked too early or stored inappropriately. Yikes. That was $3 wasted. That's okay. The next week, we purchased two smaller avocados from Mexico for $5.


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