9.03.2012

Baby Food: An Introduction

Would you rather feed your baby this:
HappyBaby Organic Baby Food, Chick Chick flavor.
Or this:
Clockwise from upper left: Kabocha squash, zucchini, yams and sweet potato, red bell pepper, mixed-grain porridge with flaked salmon.

Baby food is incredibly easy to make but yet many of the moms I see still prefer prepacked food. I don’t think this is due to lack of knowledge of preparing baby food. In fact, I believe many moms set out to prepare the most nutritious food for their babies in their own kitchen and somehow fall back to the ready made jarred/vacuum packed. Perhaps, the lack of time and energy prevent them from preparing homemade food. Let’s face it, if preparing food for the adults in the family required that much effort already, pre-made baby food is a welcome relief.

I’m often asked by moms who saw me feeding BabyLorp to share what I feed him and the recipe. They are, quite honest, very simple. Most of the time, I just cook whatever food we need during the week for the adult. For example, this past week, we made beef and barley stew with carrot, celery, onion and mushrooms. The week before that, we made braised chicken with leek, tomato, carrot, and bell pepper. I’d set aside a portion of our dish, unseasoned, and grind it in my regular food processor, and freeze it in small jars or ice cube trays for BabyLorp’s consumption.

Apart from that, I also prepare vegetables and fruits every other week, especially for the baby. The selection vary on whatever is in season. I’d like to think that exposing him to a variety of food items would help him in his development of both his sensory and growth. As BabyLorp has just turned 13 months, I don’t know how much of the nutrient from solid food is actually absorbed in his still immature digestive tract (as any moms with babies of this age can attest, what comes in looks exactly as it comes out on the other end). This is also the reason why I’m still keeping up with breastfeeding. In any case, our selection includes sweet peas, bell pepper, zucchini, kale, chard (rainbow, swiss, etc.), squash, winter squash (he is particularly fond of Kabocha), and seasonal fruits (we are blessed with a variety of stone fruits during the summer). I’d lightly steam these fruits and vegetables, or even leave them raw, process them to the consistency of his likings, and freeze them.

Finally, to round up everything, I also prepare some source of carbohydrate. Our old staples are sweet potatoes and yams. Lately, I've been preparing mixed-grain porridge, which consist of one part of each quinoa, millet, and amaranth. I try to avoid things with high glycemic index like white rice.

Now, to the mix. BabyLorp usually consumes about 4-6 oz of pureed baby food in one sitting, in addition to unlimited amount of finger food (more of finger food on later post) and fruits. The composition has always been: one part meat/protein source, 2 parts carbohydrate/grains, and 3 parts vegetables. This would mean one cube of the frozen meat (from the stew or the braised dishes), 2 cubes of frozen mixed-grain porridge, and 3 cubes of pureed frozen vegetables, all thawed and seasoned lightly before serving. I also mixed some good fat in his food, such as omega-3 supplement for baby. Into his pureed fruits, I mix in one probiotic capsule, which keeps constipation at bay.

So moms, what are your thought in preparing baby food yourself? And what are some of your little one’s favorite food?

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