Making your own baby food can sound a bit overwhelming, but with a little planning, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your baby. Baby food is simply grown up food that’s been smashed or ground up so that the baby can eat it. They can eat what you eat if it is prepared for them. It is much cheaper and healthier than buying up little jars of mystery slop with questionable ingredients that many babies don’t care for anyway.
There are many benefits to making your own baby food. If you’ve looked at the price of baby food lately, you might be surprised at how high it is. Making your own food eliminates that cost and the need to recycle all those little jars. Want organic? If you want your food to be organic and not full of preservatives, you have to pay more at the grocery store. No problem, making your own baby food can be the solution you are looking for.
Most of the equipment you need is probably already in your kitchen. Adding what is missing is not expensive and may actually save you money in the end when you factor in the cost of the commercial food you won’t have to buy.
Things you’ll need:
– Food mill, blender or hand blender (I like the Vita-Mix)
– ice cube trays to freeze extras – Unless you want to cook up food for your child everyday, freezing is the way to go. Instead of having to make new, you can just pop it in the microwave and be ready to go in no time. Ice cube trays are a great way to store food and make convenient portion sizes.
– freezer storage containers
– storage jars or containers
– vegetable steamer – Don’t boil baby food; it takes away nutrients from your baby’s food. You can get an inexpensive steamer that cooks quickly and leaves all the vitamins and minerals your baby needs
– pots, pans, colanders, etc.
A portable baby food grinder will help take the hassle out of eating at a restaurant or at grandma’s. They are inexpensive and easy to use and most restaurants will be happy to bring you a plain baked potato, sweet potato, or steamed veggies. Then you just grind and serve. Easy peasy.
Infants often start out eating cereals and pureed fruits and vegetables. The first step is to wash and skin fruits and vegetables then cut them up into small pieces. This will make them easier to use later. Steaming the veggies makes them soft and easy to smash and retains vitamins and minerals lost in the boiling process. Once you’re done steaming, keep the water. You can add it later to thin out your food to the right consistency. If you’re preparing meat or pasta, just cook it on the stove as normal, but don’t add any oil or spices.
As baby grows, she can eat the same meals as the family, just mashed or pureed to her needs, allowing her to learn the family’s tastes. There won’t be any issues introducing table food to her since the flavors will match what she’s eaten all along, not the flavors of the little jars in the grocery store.
After your food is prepared, pour it into the ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in a separate freezer storage container and put them back into the freezer. When you’re ready to go, just take a baggie out of the freezer and warm it upon the stove; simple as that. I don’t use a microwave but that is an option as well.
Making your own baby food is a rewarding and fun experience. Knowing that you are in control of the product and your baby’s nutrition will make the small hassles worthwhile. You will know EXACTLY what is in the food and that is comforting. When you make your own baby food, you always have options.
I am a big advocate for cosleeping. I shared a bed with all three of my kiddos and I found the benefits for both mom and baby to be without measure. This is especially so with infants and babies who are still breastfeeding but the benefits easily extend to toddlers as well. It makes for healthier and more attached and secure children. And another big bonus: It’s free! No need for a pricey crib which might just be recalled a year or two down the line anyway.
For more info check out my article on Co-Sleeping Safely With Your Baby and enjoy the infographic below!
Image from http://afterschool.ae/
You seem to hear about baby wearing everywhere these days. Moms at the park are talking about it and everywhere you turn a new celebrity mom or dad is wearing their baby and making it the next “hip” thing to do. So what is all the buzz about? Only the latest, greatest, way to carry your baby. Or actually a time honored tradition passed on from moms of old…
Natural families often practice some method of attachment parenting and wearing your baby close to you in a sling, wrap or other baby carrier is often a big part of that. In ancient days women wore their babies to keep them close and safe while they traveled, hunted, foraged, or farmed. Natural moms of today also carry their babies close to them while they work and play. Even breastfeeding is made easier when your baby is cuddled against you in a sling or wrap.
Ring slings and wraps are adjustable, allowing the most flexibility and freedom in how you wear the baby. They can be easily worn by people of different heights (and widths) making it easy for dad or grandma to wear the baby too. You can even get shorter or longer tails depending upon your size. Wrap slings are simply one panel of fabric that is wrapped around the body and tied (or tucked) creating a pouch for baby. The baby can be worn in front, in back, on the hip, facing in, facing out, or lying down. Ring slings are wrap slings that secure by threading one end of the sling through a ring, like a belt, instead of knotting. Some ring slings come with padding on the edges (also called rails) so that the baby doesn’t get red marks on their legs and to provide greater stability. It is easy and discreet to nurse while wearing a ring or wrap sling though it can take a little bit practice to learn how to adjust and wear, but instructions and even video tutorials are available.
Pouches and tube slings have less of a learning curve. Slide it over one shoulder, slide the baby in, adjust the sling so that baby doesn’t fall out and so all the fabric isn’t bunched on your shoulder, and you’re off and running. Pouch and tube slings are not adjustable as they are one or more pieces of fabric sewn together into a single unit. Baby can still be worn in all the ways as a wrap sling, though baby may outgrow the sling before mom is ready to stop. But what mom needs an excuse to have more than one sling or wrap right?
Asian style carriers use less fabric. The baby is supported in a rectangle of fabric and it is secured to the body with four straps: the two at the lower corners tie at the waist and support most of the baby’s weight and the two at the upper corners cross around mom’s shoulders and tie in front. Baby can be worn facing in or out and on the back, hip or front. As there is less fabric, nursing may be more problematic but they are very stylish.
There are many choices in which type(s) of sling is right for you. Try them on at stores or ask your friends if you can try theirs out for a day or two and see which feels comfortable to you. Ask family and friends and online acquaintances for recommendations. There are even discussion forums and groups dedicated to helping you find the right sling for you. It just couldn’t get any easier.
For more reasons why babywearing is awesome check out my previous article… 10 Amazing Benefits of Babywearing. Enjoy!
Which is better…disposable or cloth? The diaper wars have begun and you must choose sides….muhawww.
New parents are faced with many decisions, one of them choosing whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. There are advantages and disadvantages for each diaper type. This issue can be a hot one among parents, a part of parenting politics so to speak, and it seems that you must choose sides. What side of the fence will you choose to be on? Either you’re gonna be a tree hugging, diaper-washing hippie or a landfill-filling, Pamper camper. You’re a pawn in the diaper war…it’s your move.
But perhaps you have decided to compromise and use a combination of both and maybe even throw in a third diaper type for kicks…the more environmentally friendly disposable diaper or the flushable diaper.
Cloth diapers are better for the environment as they don’t end up choking landfills. Deposits can be shaken out into the toilet and processed properly instead of leaking into the ground. There are styles with Velcro fastening diaper covers or snaps meaning more comfort and fewer leaks. Some are “all in one” and resemble a disposable in ease of getting on and off baby.
But, you’ve got to wash them. When you’re out and about, you’ll have to carry the soiled diaper with you instead of pitching them in the closest trash can. The initial cost can be expensive, though you’ll save money in the long run. If you elect to use a diaper service, that will cost you money but there’s an environmental cost to consider as well with the use of bleach and detergents on such a grand scale.
In addition to being used as burp cloths and washcloths, prefold cloth diapers can be used for other things such as dust cloths, hand & kitchen towels, to wash windows and cars, and to polish silver when your baby is done using them for diapers. Obviously, get rid of the worst looking ones. Considering dyeing some of the others for variety or to match your décor.
You can’t beat disposable diapers for convenience. Use it. Toss it. If you’re visiting a new location and run out of diapers at midnight, most corner stores and gas stations will have them for sale. Though there are more and more options for local cloth diapers too. I heard that infamous big box store has them.
Disposable diapers use up space in landfills adding plastic, chemicals, and sewage often wrapped in another plastic bag. They are also expensive and since they are often purchased at grocery stores, the cost is hidden in the grocery bill. Children wearing disposable diapers often potty train later, which increases the amount of diapers the child will wear through infancy.
There are pros and cons for both but in the long run cloth comes out ahead if you care about saving money, living with simplicity, and protecting resources and planet. If you don’t care about any of those things you may be reading the wrong blog. Just sayin. ;)
Awhile back moms across the blogosphere became outraged by a campaign from the City of Milwaukee Health Department designed to convince parents that co-sleeping is not safe. Not only is co-sleeping not safe, it is comparable to letting your baby sleep next to a sharp knife, or so they want parents to think. Of course they do not bother to mention that it is riskier to drive your baby around in an automobile than to bring them into bed with you but that wouldn’t be staying true to their actual mission. The intent behind these posters is not public awareness against some real and true threat, it is all about convincing people they need to buy cribs.
Even Dr. Sears agrees:
Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.
We have seen these same tactics within the car seat industry for YEARS. Few people actually know studies have proven that past 2 years of age car seats provide no better protection from death in an auto accident than regular old seat belts. But no one makes money when you use the manufacturer seat belt so they skew studies and harp on one stat among many, so that they can get laws passed that require car seats and pad industry pockets. This Milwaukee campaign is no different. They are using a city government to spread their message… “Co-sleeping kills, buy a crib.”
Don’t fall for it and don’t let them get away with it. We need to be vocal about all the ways to make co-sleeping safer and of course be honest that it is not attached, attentive parents who lose a baby to co-sleeping. Rather it is typically inattentive parents who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances and then in their stupor roll over on their infant. When I co-slept with all three of my babies I felt even the tiniest flutter and movement, even while I was seemingly asleep. That is our mommy instinct… the one ingrained in us since the dawn of civilization, when people always slept with their babies!
But just to make sure, here are some tips for making co-sleeping safe.
- Use a firm mattress for the family bed, no lumpy featherbeds or waterbeds.
- Sheets and blankets should be tight and fitted.
- Layer clothing rather than blankets if it is cold.
- Remove extra pillows, including decorative ones. No stuffed animals.
- Ideally place an infant between mom and a guard rail, sleeping pad (my recommendation), or wall. Make sure there are no gaps if you use a wall.
- A large body pillow is a low cost way to fill in a gap.
- Place baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Keep your bed low to the ground and place pillows just underneath so that if baby falls they have a soft place to land.
Another alternative is a bedside co-sleeper. Some parents choose to use these when their babies are really small and then when they reach infant and toddler sizes they move them into their own bed. Do what is best for your family and situation and don’t let fear mongers sway you away from the joys of co-sleeping with your little ones.
Where do you weigh in on this? Yay or nay for cosleeping?