Getting Started: Homemade Baby Food

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.32.53 PMLast night I posted this picture of my latest creation (steamed and pureed broccoli) for my little man’s breakfast and it prompted a lot of questions about my baby food making process. I’ve found it to be a pretty easy process so far (once I figured out his schedule with both bottles and baby food) and so I haven’t found the need to buy baby food yet which has saved us a ton of money in the long run. Besides, don’t you wonder what they put in those baby food jars which make them last so long? I think I’ll stick to giving our baby pure nutrition and simple ingredients for now. So to get started I usually make and introduce 1-2 new food items a week (depending on how much I have in the freezer and what I have going on that week). Last week was blueberries. This week we are introducing broccoli! Here’s a quick look at everything I use to make baby food:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.16 PMBAEBA Babycook Pro:

Ok so yes, you can use your Vitamix or a regular blender or food processor however most everything I read about making your own baby food encouraged steaming instead of boiling the food to preserve the nutrients. Baking is also another good option but who has time to preheat and use your oven every night? Also when making small quantities it just seems simpler in my opinion for clean up and for blending to just have one small machine that does it all instead of steaming in a basket and then transferring to a large, oversized Vitamix. It took a little convincing to explain to my husband why I “needed” this but now he is 100% on board and we both love it!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.26 PMSage Spoonfuls Cookbook

I don’t know how I would have even started without this gem! This “cookbook” goes through the order of solids (yes, there are certain foods appropriate by age for your baby), how long they need to be steamed, if you need to buy organic or if fresh or frozen is ok. It also talks about the health benefits of each different food as well.  I literally use this book for every new food I introduce to our little guy. If you don’t want to buy a book I’ve also heard a ton of great things about the Wholesome Baby Food website. It also lists the age appropriate for each food as well.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.34 PMOxo Tot Baby Blocks Storage Containers – 2 oz

For food storage I recommend these Oxo Tot containers. They are freezer and dishwasher safe. I like them better than ice cube trays because I can grab one for daycare and go and not have to defrost or pop out food and move it to different containers. I can literally store and feed from these plastic containers. Perfect.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.52.53 PMMunchkin White Hot Safety Spoon

Ok so yes I do realize that you should be able to judge how   hot or cold your baby’s food is without a spoon that turns white when it gets too hot.. but why guess… why wonder. These spoons are just another added safety net in protecting my baby and helping make life just a little easier.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.58.42 PMBumkins Waterproof Starter Bib 

We introduced waterproof bibs when we started feeding solids instead of using the cute cloth Aden + Anais cloth bibs I use when giving our baby a bottle. These bibs are waterproof and make clean up a breeze. I simply run them under the sink after mealtime and then hang to drive. They require little fuss, which I love, and still have lots of cute patterns.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 7.00.57 AMCulturelle Priobiotics for Kids

About a month after we started solids our little guy had constant boopy diapers (about 6-8 a day) and developed a horrible diaper rash. Our pediatrician recommended giving him a probiotic once/day to help his body process the foods he was eating. This particular probiotic helps to “support a child’s health by fostering the proper balance between good bacteria and the non-beneficial bacteria that resides in the gastorintestinal tract…it alleviates occasional digestive distress while supporting a child’s natural defenses.” This particular type comes in the form of a solid which we mix half of a packet a day in with some of his cold fruit.

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Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster.

Last but not least is our high chair. Our kitchen is probably average size but it doesn’t really have a great corner or a lot of extra space for a large or bulky high chair. We have a small, round table with 4 wooden chairs in our kitchen and we decided early on to designate one of these chairs for our little man’s “high chair.” I’ve loved this seat. It’s a great space saver, its plastic (which comes in handy for so many reasons), and its portable. If you have extra guests and need the seat you can just unclick the two straps and voila! no more high chair. We’ve also taken this to the grandparents house and to restaurants. Portable, functional and pretty darn attractive- I’d say that’s a win!

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Convertible Car Seats

Our little man turned 8 months yesterday and is at about 8 lb 8oz. While we still have time for him to continue to use his infant carseat, we’ve begun the process of researching convertible car seats. And when it comes to buying any large baby products I often refer back to one of my favorite “new parent books” Baby Bargains

Since our copy was a hand me down from a friend and is outdated by a couple years I’m thankful for the Baby Bargains blog and website. Here is what they say is everything you need to know about convertible carseats.

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4 Hour Feeding Schedule with Solids

IMG_1184Around 22 weeks our little man began a 4 hour feeding schedule which was great for me while I was breastfeeding and great for daycare (less bottles to pack). Now at 35 weeks we’ve adapted our 4 hour bottle schedule to also include solids. I had the hardest time trying to find the perfect time to feed our little man solids so that he would actually be hungry enough for them but not exhausted and ready for a nap. So of course there is no perfect time for everyone but there is the time that works best for you and your baby. Since your little one is still getting their nutrition from their milk/formula you don’t want to decrease their bottles but you still need to find a time when they are ready to eat and not ready to sleep. For our little guy an hour after starting his bottle is best when trying to get him to eat solids. Not right before, during or after his bottle (we tried all of that!), not right before nap time (again a big failure), but 1 hr after he starts his bottle which is right in the middle of his current 2 hour wake time. He didn’t eat much at first but he’s slowly eating more and more and those solid meals are become more of a norm and less of an optional part of our day.

4 Hour Schedule (with solids) – At Home / Weekends

  • 7:00 Wake him up and Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 8:00 – baby food (usually 1 fruit and 1 veggie)
  • 9:00-11:00 nap
  • 11:00 Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 12:00 baby food (usually 1 fruit cold with probiotic)
  • 3:00 Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 4:00 – baby food (usually 1 fruit and 1 veggie)
  • 4:30-5:30/6:00 – nap
  • 6:45 Bath, Bottle, Bed by 7:15 – 8 oz bottle

4 Hour Schedule (with solids) – At Work & Daycare / Weekdays

  • 7:00 Wake him up and Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 7:45 – leave for work/daycare (nap in car)
  • 9:00 – baby food at daycare (1 fruit OR veggie)
  • 9:30-11:00 nap
  • 11:00 Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 12:00 baby food (1 fruit cold with probiotic)
  • 3:00 Eat – 7 oz bottle
  • 4:30 – pick up from daycare
  • 4:45-5:15 – nap in the car on the way home
  • 5:15 – baby food at home – usually a fruit and a veggie
  • 6:45 Bath, Bottle, Bed by 7:15 – 8 oz bottle

*Our little guy is still not a huge solids eater. At 8 months he is eating about 2 oz total of baby food at each meal.

Making Baby Food

At about 7.5 months our little man is starting to get the hang of solids. However unlike his mama he has zero sweet tooth and is loving veggies over fruits! I don’t understand it but hey, I’ll run with it. So far everything I’ve made I’ve steamed in our BEABA Babycook Pro and then pureed. I’ve been using the Sage Spoonfuls book as a guide and absolutely LOVING it. It’s been so helpful in learning which foods to introduce first and how long to steam them and how much it will make.. Seriously its been a great resource. (I’ve also heard http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com is a great resource as well however I haven’t used it much yet.)

IMG_2842Today I decided to try making butternut squash using Sage Spoonfuls as a guide. Unlike the other fruits and veggies I’ve tried so far you don’t steam this one, you roast it. It takes a more time but the prep is minimal and its overall very simple to do. Here you go:

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
  • Lay cut side down on baking sheet and roast in oven for 45 min
  • After you remove from oven let cool for 5 min and then remove outer skin (it peels off pretty easily- use a fork or wear oven mitts)
  • Puree until smooth, cool and serve or store.

 

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Making Baby’s First Christmas Presents

IMG_1151Tis the season to be jolly, to decorate, to cook, to bake, to shop and to find that perfect gift for the new grandparents as your baby’s first Christmas is just around the corner. So I’m sure all of you have seen the Pearhead brand baby hand/foot print ornaments in the store. I actually received one as a shower gift back in March so I’m pretty certain they are available year round and not just around Christmas. I decided since it is our little man’s first Christmas what better stocking stuffer for the grandparents than a hand or foot print ornament marking their one and only grandson’s first Christmas.

Overall the ornament making process isn’t too difficult, you take the material out of its wrapping, knead it for about 2-3minutes, wet baby’s hand or foot and press it in. Voila! Instant Christmas gift. Sounds pretty easy right? Well overall it was except I do have a couple suggestions if you plan to do this:

  1. This is not a one-man job- you definitely need your hubby’s help on this one to hold your baby while you press his hand or foot flat into the material (or vice versa).
  2. The ornament is pretty big, ideal if your baby is older like mine and has “big” hands or feet, however if you have a newborn you may want to use a cup instead to cut out the round ornament around the handprint.
  3. This takes DAYS to dry and harden… even up to a week. I thought of this last minute and ordered it via Amazon Prime thinking we would get it done in plenty of time for Christmas. Here we are days later and its still not dry yet.. so grandma might be getting this an an unwrapped gift with a special note to let it dry before packing it away for next year.
  4. Make sure to write the date on the back and wrap it up securely to adorn your tree for years to come! 🙂

Traveling with Baby

image1 2My husband and I recently decided to head back to Asheville after an interesting attempt to try and visit earlier this year for a “Babymoon” before our little man arrived. Our first experience was cut short after we rented a “cabin” that was actually right off a very busy road and was the home to several mice which kept us up through the night. After a sleepless night our friend and dog-sitter Emily called us up early in the morning to let us know that our sweet puppy was incredibly sick and as a result our home was in a less than ideal state… Needless to say our trip to Asheville the first time wasn’t so great and so it was time for a do-over. This time we decided to do it right- We decided to stay at the Grove Park Inn (picture above) which is absolutely amazing, especially at Christmas. I’ll probably end up writing an entire post just on the hotel because of how absolutely amazing it is. Before we venture out to see the Biltmore at Christmas time we are camping out in our hotel room while our little man gets in a good nap. I thought I’d take this opportunity to capture all of our tips and tricks for traveling with a baby which has made this a pretty great experience so far:

  • SOUND MACHINE is a must! When sharing a room with your little one it makes it easier for all involved to have that extra buffer to keep him sleeping soundly. It helps that our little boy is also used to sleeping with a sound machine at home.
  • SNAP IN GO STROLLER. The best light weight stroller around which folds up and is easy for carrying up and down stairs if needed with or without the carseat attached. This particular model is the only one we found that fits the Britax B-Safe Carseat.
  • FORMULA DISPENSER or formula in a bottle. Our little man is no longer on breastmilk which has its own positives and negatives. One positive we’ve found during this trip is that we can carry around an empty bottle in tow with the necessary formula power already measured out in the bottle and then just add room temperature water when we are ready to feed him. Makes life a whole lot easier. However if still using breastmilk then a small bottle cooler and warmer are of course great for on the go.
  • BABY CARRIER. Just for when you want to nix the stroller and take advantage of arms free mobility. Ideal for our trip to the Biltmore this afternoon!
  • BACKPACK DIAPER BAG. Leave the large diaper bag in the car or hotel room. When walking around on vacation you want to minimize the “load” you are carrying and travel a little more light weight. We actually lucked out and found an outdoor store in our hotel and picked up one of these Patagonia sling bags. It may look small but it was perfect to fit a changing pad, a couple diapers, wipes, one bottle with dry formula, boogie wipes and a change of clothes. Perfection!
  • HEADPHONES for mom and dad. For the evening or during nap time if you want to watch a movie or listen to something on your computer or phone.

Can you think of anything else you’ve found helpful that I’m missing? Happy traveling! 🙂

Sitting up!

image1Days away from our little man’s 7 month birthday he is finally sitting up straight on his own! He occasionally still teeters and falls but we are finally getting there – just in time to get a picture of him sitting in front of our Christmas tree. We did have to “practice” a little with him.. I was sure to spend time with him a couple times a week working on sitting and catching him over and over when he fell- our silly boy thought it was hilarious anytime he would start to fall and we would catch him- boys! 🙂 I have a feeling crawling will be just around the corner!