Making Your Own Baby Food

January 24, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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Making your own baby food is really quite easy.  And if you’ve committed to paleolithic nutrition, you’re already doing most of the work just by cooking your own meals of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit at home.  Homemade baby food has the added advantages of tasting way better than store-bought baby food and being much cheaper.  Plus, because it’s fresher, it has a higher nutritional value.  There is a method to making baby food and a couple of tools that will make your job much easier.

First, you’re going to need to be able to cook food.  I’m kinda assuming you have this one covered.

Second, you’re going to need a way to blend up food.  You can use a Conventional Blender, Immersion/Hand Blender, Food Processor, or something like a Magic Bullet (which even has a Baby Food Version!), which is great for the smaller quantities you will often find yourself blending up.  I also recommend getting a Small Hand Mill, which is great for mashing up fresh bananas, avocado and whatever you are feeding your baby off your plate as he/she gets older (it’s faster than a fork, easy to clean, and can handle tougher textures like meat or fish).

Third, you are going to need some way to store your baby food.  The cheapest and easiest way to store homemade baby food is using ice cube trays.  When you make a batch of something (like a bunch of mashed sweet potato or if you mashed a whole banana but only fed a quarter of it to your baby), spoon your homemade baby food into the cubes of an ice cube tray.  Cover the tray with tin foil and freeze.  Once the baby food is frozen, pop the cubes out into a ziplock bag, label and throw in the freezer.  Then it’s really easy to grab a cube of this and a cube of that to put together a great meal for your baby.  I also really like the Ice Cube Trays with Covers for this.  Then I can just throw a piece of masking tape right on the lid to label, the trays stack brilliantly, and my freezer stays organized.  A few things:  Never store the food leftover from your baby’s bowl.  Never refreeze thawed baby food (so if you made a mash with steamed frozen veggies, don’t put those back in the freezer).  Most baby foods will last 3-5 days in your fridge, about 2 months in a regular freezer, and about 6 months in a deep freezer.

Fourth, you are going to need Bowls, Spoons, Sippy/Straw cups and some liquid to thin out your baby’s food (at least for the first few months).  Pumped breast milk is the healthiest, but formula or water work well too.

So, how do you actually do this?  Yes, it really is as easy as you cook something without seasoning, you blend it up, you thin a small amount of it out to feed to your baby, and you freeze the leftovers for easy meals later on.  You don’t need to make six different things all at once.  I found the most efficient use of my time was to make a baby version of whatever else I was making for supper, focusing on making one big batch of something every day or every few days.  For example, if I was making roasted butternut squash for dinner I could reserve some of the squash before seasoning.  I would take that plain squash, wrap it in tin foil with a tablespoon of water and bake it with all the other squash (the tin foil and water would keep it from browning).  I let the squash cool while we all eat our meal.  Then, when I get a minute, I can throw all of that squash into the Magic Bullet, blend it up, spoon it into a covered ice cube tray, label and throw it in the freezer.  My time commitment is something like 5 minutes and I’ve got thirty meals of squash for my baby out of it.  The next day, I might mash up two whole avocados with the Hand Mill and do the same thing.  The next day, I might cook some peeled and sliced apples in the microwave, then blend them with the Immersion Blender for applesauce for the baby (and take some to add cinnamon to for applesauce on the side of our pork chops).  When you approach baby food this way, the time commitment is really quite small.  When your baby is ready to eat, grab a few cubes of different meats, fruits and veggies from the freezer, thaw them in the microwave (mix well and make sure the temperature is appropriate for your baby), and spoon feed away!


Have you thought about Baby-Led Weaning? It would include no purees. Since 6.5 months (when I introduced solids), I’ve been giving my son paleo meatloaf (made in muffin tins and sliced in half for him to hold and just chomp into), sticks of cucumber, steamed trees of broccoli, baked or coconut oil fried sweet potato sticks, celery sticks, apple slices (peels on), oranges (sliced in quarters for him to eat the juice and pulp – he doesn’t eat the skin), banana peeled down half way, etc. You can read about BLW here and there are books out too. I’m a Certified Lactation Counselor and this method has been in my training and at lactation conferences. It’s the traditional way of feeding a baby – before the blenders, jarred food, etc.

You can go to my Baby-Led Weaning Facebook pictures for examples of BLW from 6.5-8.5 months (he’s not yet 9-months).

Note that we are not yet fully Paleo. We’re doing more of a Paleo template right now – but we just started. So, some of the pictures do not reflect paleo – but do reflect gluten-free eating.

I agree with everything that you said above, except for the microwave part. Microwaves kill enzymes and nutrients. You might as well buy jar baby food. You can just as easily fill a bowl up with hot water and put a smaller bowl with the baby food on top. It only takes a few minutes to thaw or bring the food to room temperature. Toaster ovens work great too.

The best cooking method for retaining nutrients is one that cooks quickly, exposes food to heat for the smallest amount of time and uses only a minimal amount of liquid… microwaving is one of the best cooking options.

Hi, I follow your website and I enjoy all your articles, and you’re really knowledgeable, so I was wondering if you know whether or not it’s safe to cook with aluminum foil. I’ve read that it’s linked to Alzheimer’s. Thanks, I really appreciate it.

There’s a link between aluminum and Alzeimer’s but my understanding is that aluminum foil is very stable and that this probably comes from other sources like deodorant combined with an inability to process in properly (also Alzerimer’s is very strongly liked to diabetes).

We made almost all our four sons’ baby food using a 3-tier steamer, blender, and ice cube trays. Worked great and now that they are 9, 8, 7, and 4 they eat veggies and a wider variety of foods than almost all their peers! Next sibling is due in Oct and will get the same 🙂

Glad I found this post! I’ll be bookmarking it for future reference. I’m about to be a first-time aunt and my brother and SIL have requested that I make food for the baby since I’m the only paleo eater in the family. I’m thrilled and can’t wait to start with your tips 🙂

I agree with step one, but two, three and four are completely unneccessary!!!! Do a search for “baby-led weaning” – it allows children from around 6-ish months to just eat food. Starting with pieces big enough for the child to grab in their fist and there still be a piece sticking out to chew on. It totally works. My children are now 6 and 7, and I never spooned anything into them. Ever. I started with veg and moved on to pieces of meat. Sloppy stuff like yoghurt came a bit later, when they could handle a spoon. Developmentally, the pincer grip that allows a child to pick up small things like peas matures at the same time as their mouths being ready to handle small things without choking. I would encourage anyone to try it. And if you’re already living paleo and cooking your own food, it’s really simple – just put some pieces on a large dinner plate for baby to choose the bits s/he wants. At that stage, they’re unlikely to frisbee a big adult dinner plate because it’s too heavy. It also allows the child to avoid things that s/he knows instinctively that s/he may be allergic to.

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