I thought I would post this as a reference for parents with young babies, its all pretty common sense and you are probably not reading anything you don’t already know, but it might give you some new ideas. I think the best advice I have read or been given about babies, Robin Barker- Babylove, is you should be aiming for your baby to join in with the family meals, by about 9 months old and if they are not able too you probably should have a good look at the food you are feeding yourself and your family. And that is such good advice, all the: baby, kids, ages 1-2, and supermarket aisles full of ‘healthy snacks’ food out there is really just another marketing ploy to get us to spend more money on more things we think we ‘need’. And I wont get started on all the waste and the packaging! even though I did make all the pureed vegetables for all my children and have never bought jars or pouches (which are very handy option for holidays or out and about) I did for my first baby buy all the expensive baby branded porridges and cereals, my baby brain thought they must be a better & healthier choice for my precious baby, on closer inspection the $5 for about 200 gram ‘organic’ ‘healthy choice’ ‘natural’ porridge does just actually only contain ‘oats’. Oats are $1.35 a kilo!!
When I had my first child the recommendation for introducing solid food was about four months, with my second child it was not before 6 months, the recommendation is now between 4-6 months I started all three of my children at about 4 months, its worked for my first so I went with that.
Everyone that knows me well knows that I am far from a health fanatic, but highly processed foods do bother me, and my dislike of pre-packaged food is also simply because it is just a waste of money! I personally have not used many jars, pouches of baby food and I do often wonder what is in them for them to be able to sit on the shelf for a few years even if they are ‘all natural ingredients’. Making your own and freezing it is not at all time consuming. I am absolutely loving my thermomixers to make baby food, but I did manage fine pre thermie with the first 2 children using the stovetop pot and blenders, and its SERIOUSLY more economical, and again the waste that goes with all the little packets is enormous. You can feed you baby well with the normal fruit, veg and groceries you buy without any special packets or food.
I did have a good look at the pouches at the supermarket recently thinking of putting a few away for when we are out, but at about $2 for 100grams ($20 kilo for vegetables) I just couldn’t do it.
I start with steamed or boiled vegetables, pumpkin, carrots, potato, sweet potato individually or together pureed with butter, freeze the first few batches in ice cube trays (about a tablespoon) and offer one for lunch for a few days and then lunch and dinner.
I then Introduce breakfast after a week or so, cooked porridge, pureed rice cereal, you can make your own grind the rice and cook with milk, I froze the porridge and rice cereal in portions and then heated it mixed it with stewed purreed fruits or mashed banana. I stewed and pureed heaps of apples, pears and quinces when I picked them from my trees but you can buy them when they are in season and do the same. And weet-bix are a economical option for a older baby.
Eventually adding other vegies such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peas beans and corn to the vegetable purees. After a few weeks adding steamed chicken, fish, beef or lamb mince and fresh or dried herbs.
When you baby is a bit bigger and doesn’t have any problems with different flavours ( onions garlic spices etc) I use leftovers as a base for the frozen vegies (I always cook more), starting out with plainer slow-cooked beef/lamb/chicken & vegetable stews can be pureed with some extra cooked vegetables and frozen. This makes it easier as you are not cooking a separate meal just storing up some ready to go in the freezer for the nights when your family are not eating a meal that your baby can eat too, like our favourite family meal burritos. By preparing my babies food this way, I am stocking the freezer up with meals for my baby with minimal extra cooking really, and most family meals can be used.
Eventually Rissottos, cous cous and morrocan fish stew, osso bucco and polenta, homemade baked beans any casserole type meals pureed with some extra steamed or boiled vegetables, I always cook these dishes mild in heat anyway for the other kids, and then the spices are ‘watered down’ with more veg anyway. Plenty of family recipes on this blog.
Fruit purees, custards and yogurts (homemade or from the big tub of natural with some pureed fruit) is also be offered after the meal. Sometimes a broken up piece of banana cake or similar homemade healthier choice treat.
And then when they are old enough I offer them pieces of cooked vegies and toast to munch on themselves.