Monday, February 01, 2010

Adventures in homemade baby food

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Rebecca Atkinson shares her experiences making homemade baby food for her lovely daughter.

If someone had told me six months ago that I would have cut out pretty much all processed foods from my diet, and that I would be making almost all of my own baby food from scratch, I would have told them they were crazy. But here I am, doing exactly that.

I didn’t originally set out to go au natural but as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my six-month old daughter has some pretty severe food intolerances (that we hope she’ll outgrow by her first birthday). It seems whenever I eat dairy, soy, tomatoes or berries, she throws up... a lot. So as a breastfeeding mom (and because there are NO formulas that are completely dairy and soy free), I’ve had to eliminate them from our menus. Because we were able to notice a very tangible difference, I have no plans to go back to my original eating habits until I stop breastfeeding.

Now that it’s time to start her on solid foods, I discovered very few (read hard to find unless you travel far and wide) dairy- and soy-free baby cereals. So with no other convenient options, I decided to make my own.

To my surprise, I discovered it’s quite easy (as long as you have a food processor), and I feel better because I know exactly what I am feeding my child. Once I realized how easy cereals could be, other “first food” purees from scratch became simple too.

I will admit I don’t make everything myself (like applesauce), but making the majority of her food at home gives me peace of mind and saves me money in the long run!

Here are a few tips:
1. If you’re going to do this, talk to your paediatrician and/or GP. Since many cereals are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, you should make sure your child isn’t missing anything essential. In some cases simply taking some extra vitamins if you’re still breastfeeding is all you need to do.

2. I find a coffee grinder better for grains (like rice) as the food processor takes time and patience for smaller grains.

3. When cooking vegetables, steaming or roasting them is preferred to keep all the nutrients you’re trying to get into your baby.

4. Bananas and avocados do not need to be cooked and can be mashed with a fork before feeding time.

5. is a great site that has more tips and guidelines, including feeding charts and recipes.

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