Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to make baby food

So- you are about to get ready to serve your baby his/her first foods...and you are wondering...

"How do I start?", "Is it hard?", "Why not just buy jar food?"

These are some questions I had and have been asked of me since I have become a passionate baby food maker. My answer- it is the EASIEST, CHEAPEST and most FUN thing to do!

What you need:
* food (organic is best, if you can get it)
* steamer
* blender/food processor/hand masher/fork
* breast milk/water
* ice cube trays/special baby food storage trays

First, pick out what you want your child to eat and what is age appropriate.

Next, you need to cook it (if applicable). You can steam, roast, boil, bake...whatever you like. Each makes the food a little bit different tasting- so experiment. (Boiling does cause more nutrients to be lost than steaming. So if possible, steam your food). Play with texture and cooking times. At first, you will want the food as soft as possible until your child learns to swallow- but some babies are ready for more texture from the get go!

Last, mush it up! This is where you can be creative as well. Blending, processing, and hand mashing all create different textures. You will quickly learn what works best for you and your baby, and what he/she likes best.
In this step- depending on the food- you may need to add breast milk or water to get it the right consistency. (breast milk is best, especially if you are already nursing, because your baby already LOVES the taste! Plus, they will still get the benefits).

You are done!

Now, you can keep your food in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days and in the freezer for a month. Just put the extra in the ice cube/baby storage trays and cover. Once frozen, transfer into a plastic bag. Now, once you need the food, you can take out one cube at a time and warm up.
(Be careful when using a microwave- as it heats unevenly and can be a hazard to your baby). Reheating is better done over the stove- and ALWAYS check that it is not too hot!

HAVE FUN!!! Experiment and tell us about your experiences. If you have any tips- share them here too!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No more picky eaters!

Something I believe in is giving your kids variety and spice from their first bites of food!

Of course, every toddler will go through phases where they don't seem to want anything you make for them... but remember- YOU are the parent. YOU are the only way a toddler can get food. YOU set the example and make the rules for eating. (Of course, if your child has any special needs or medical issues, follow the plan set up by you and your doctor. Always check with your doctor!)

Here are some tips:

- do not let your kids snack all day long. Make 3 main meals and offer a healthy snack once or twice in between meals at a pre-determined time.

- offering a snack at a pre-determined time helps to eliminate "boredom eating". We have all been there and kids are no different. If you just wait around until your toddler whines- you might be giving him/her food when all they need is a new activity.

- Make your meal for the entire family. Do NOT make a separate meal for the kids. Do not make the mistake of saying your child won't like what you are eating and not even give them the chance to enjoy it.

- Once you make the meal, if your child decides they do not like the food- do not force them to eat it. Tell them "this is your meal, I am not making anything else." They may choose not to eat this meal, but they will learn that they cannot dictate the choice of meals. If you cave, they will know they can manipulate you. BE STRONG! (I know this is easier said than done...)

- If your kid does not eat a meal or even two, they will not starve. They will get hungry enough and you better believe they will eat what is in front of them the next time!

- Offer your kids variety! Give them many different vegetables, fruits and spices. If you always make rosemary potatoes, don't make plain ones for your kids- help them to learn the infinite delicious flavors of food!

- Let your kids help make meals. Even the youngest can grab some ingredients and throw them into a bowl or stir up some sauce. They will be proud that they helped and be more inclined to eat it when they had a hand in the process.

- Most of all, keep trying new things. I think of my childhood- I hated onions. Eventually, they have become one of my favorites. If your kid does not like a particular item on the first try- give it to them again and see what they think.

Do you have any great ideas or tried and true methods? Share them with us!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Look who loves breastfeeding & making baby food!

From her interview in W Magazine, Jennifer Garner discusses many topics including how much she loves giving her daughters healthy food!

"On being a mom to her two daughters: She calls breast-feeding “the coziest feeling in the whole world” and has bonded with the other moms at Violet’s school. “You feel so close to them so quickly because you’re going through the same thing,” she says. And then there’s the homemade baby food. “It’s a little over the top,” she admits. “And I tell myself, Just give her a jar of food and forget about it! Don’t be so precious! But it’s so easy—I just puree and freeze." (W Magazine 2009)

So- if a very busy working mom has the time to breastfeed and make her own baby food- anyone of us can too! Thanks for the inspiration and if you happen to see Jennifer Garner on the street- now you have something in common.

First Foods

It is so exciting when you finally get to share the joy of solids with your baby! (plus, even if you love breastfeeding, it is nice knowing there is another food source!). Now, of course, I am not a doctor, and you should always check with your pediatrician first- but I have done lots of reading and research about first foods and want to share my experience.

Now, most health care professionals recommend that babies are exclusively breastfeed (or formula-fed if that is your decision) until 6 months old. At 6 months, you can begin solids!

What can you give them? Many people still feel that you need to feed your baby rice cereal for their first food. This does not have to be the case! You can start with fruits or vegetables if you would like. Just be sure to be careful of food allergies and remember to wait 3-4 days in between introducing each new food to watch for bad reactions.

I decided that I wanted to skip the rice cereal and started with avocados, pears, zucchini, sweet potatoes, green beans...and so on!

I also read and decided that I would not only stick to bland veggies and fruits...My son had roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets, salsa and I added spices to the veggies after I knew he had no allergies such as garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme...and more!

Now, he eats almost anything and is not at all picky and I feel that it is because I have given him variety, spice and choice from his first bite!

We want to know...What was your baby's first food??

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Mom

It is widely known that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for your baby. It helps boost the immune system, lowers the risk for obesity later in life and protects the baby from numerous other issues. Now, it is being proven that breastfeeding is very beneficial to the mother's health as well.

Studies have shown that it can help the mother lose the pregnancy weight, reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, help to lower the chances for breast and ovarian cancer, help reduce postpartum depression and now, a study has shown that breastfeeding "can significantly lower a woman's risk of metabolic syndrome -- a dangerous cluster of heart disease risk factors -- years later, reports a new study appearing online Dec. 3 in the journal Diabetes." (

The study also noted that the longer a woman breastfed, the lower her risk for metabolic syndrome, up to 86% in the case of nursing for at least 9 months.

This is such exciting news! Most Mom's I know really learn to enjoy breastfeeding, and now there is just one more reason to stick with it. I am sure many other insightful discoveries about the benefits of breastfeeding are just around the corner- I will keep researching and if you find any information- let us know!

To read more about the topic, click here to view the story on

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breastfeeding- My experience

Breastfeeding is amazing. It is the perfect food for your baby and is always ready- no making or cleaning of bottles is necessary. However breastfeeding, for most women is really hard at first!

My experience is pretty easy compared to son latched on great from the first moment (he was breastfeeding within the first 30 minutes of his life- something that was very important to me). Thankfully- that was easy, but oh my goodness did it hurt. It hurt so bad that I would cry and cry and swear...and swear some more. Plus, my huge chunky monkey wanted to eat every hour for the first few days. Ugh! the lactation nurses kept telling me that it should not hurt if he was latching correctly, but when they would check him, he WAS latched they seemed lost. Then one of them said to me- your nipples and breast tissue just need some time to adjust, then it will stop hurting. Well, two excruciating weeks later, it finally stopped hurting.

Which brings me to my first point about breastfeeding. You have to be 150% committed to breastfeeding. If you even give yourself one minute of 'I will try it and will use formula if it gets too hard'...I promise you, you will end up quitting breastfeeding and you will use formula. Because breastfeeding IS that hard. If you want to nurse your child for at least the year the AAP recommends, then you have to say to yourself that you are going to breastfeed NO MATTER WHAT.

There cannot be another option.

Now, for me, it stopped hurting after two weeks. But it took me two MONTHS before I enjoyed it. For me, it was so demanding, so consuming, and because I had a huge baby who LOVED his 'boobie time' was so overwhelming. I did not want to give him a bottle so young, so I did not pump and it was hard to always have to be near him. I could not have a lot of 'me time' and I was jealous when my husband got to be downstairs watching tv or SLEEPING while I had to feed my son.

Then one day, I had an son loved nursing more than anything else in the world. He was never happier, or more comforted and loved during our breastfeeding time. He smiled and laughed when I said 'boobie time' and got so snuggly.

It was not just about food- and THAT is what made the difference in my attitude. Breastfeeding was about bonding, comforting and cuddling, which are the things that babies need most!

Now, I have a 16 month old and we are still enjoying our 'boobie time' several times each day, and I do not have a set time when I am going to stop. Just when it is right for both of us.

So- if you want to breastfeed...DO IT! Just be sure you commit with your whole heart and find a support team of women who successfully breastfed their little ones and who enjoyed it to help you during the difficult times and celebrate with you during the great times.

Start here by leaving your breastfeeding story and experiences in the comments section!