Bear with me; this is gonna be a looong post!
Growing up, I declared, on more than on occasion, that I would have a killer career and live in New York City. I'd never get married and I'd certainly never have children. I didn't want to live the "mundane" life that my mother led as a stay-at-home mom. I didn't like cooking. I didn't want to become domesticated. I wanted a chic apartment, flashy car, fabulous clothes, and chrome appliances...that I didn't plan on learning how to use.
Well, obviously, things have changed. I went to college and joined the Navy. I learned how to cook...and enjoy it. I fell in love. I got married. And then I got pregnant. Naturally, due to my newfound love for making healthy and tasty foods for my husband and me, I decided early on in my pregnancy that I'd make my own baby food.
I wasn't planning to breast feed, for a number of reasons, and that was confusing to many people. Why did I want to make my own baby food but not breast feed? Well, honestly that is neither here nor there. Suffice it to say it was a decision my husband and I made jointly, and it was the best choice for our family. I've learned, since I found out I was pregnant a year ago, that many parents make many decisions. Some are controversial, and some are completely out there...or at least compared to my own decisions they are. But the important thing to remember is that those decisions, made by those parents, are what they have found works for them. And that is all that matters. So, I'm happy to offer my advise and experiences, however few, to anyone who asks, but only if they ask. And only after prefacing everything I say with the statement that this is what worked for me, so please feel free to do the complete opposite and tell me I'm full of sh*t.
So, when my son ("Bunkey") was three months old, we started him on rice cereal, the only store-bought food I intend to feed him. I chose the Gerber brand, and he took to it like a fish to water. Yes, I know what the books and doctors say about feeding solids too early. But again, my family, my decision. It was the right thing for my son, and therefore the right thing for me. My family is famous for our healthy appetites, so when Bunkey was ready, it was obvious. And I'm not one to deprive someone of food when they're hungry. Must be the German in me! We started with cereal alongside Bunkey's first morning bottle, and ten days later we added cereal to his evening bottle as well. At our four-month well-baby appointment, I got the ok from our pediatrician to begin trying fruits and veggies, as well as to give "solids" with three of Bunkey's four daily bottles.
And with that, I bring you my foray into homemade baby food!
I chose to register for the Beaba Babycook. Yes, I already have a blender (two actually). And yes, I already had a food processor (again, two: one large for heavy-duty processing and a "mini" for smaller scale processing, as in for making pesto. I liked this appliance because it's about the same size as my mini processor, which is appropriate when making food for a 15-pound person, and because it's small enough to fit in the cabinet that I've declared Bunkey's, and in which all our bottles and baby dishes are stored. My large Kitchen Aid processor lives in the garage as it's simply too big for my cabinets here (we live in base housing with a very small kitchen) and I don't have the counter space to keep it out all the time. Additionally, the Beaba is more than just a food processor! Not only can it puree your babyfood to whatever consistency is appropriate for your child's food, but it can also steam, defrost, and reheat your baby food all in the same appliance, at the same time, in the same mixing bowl! In short, it's a miracle for a busy mom! I received the Beaba as a gift about half-way through my pregnancy and ever since I've been itching to use it!
In addition to the Beaba, I bought its accompanying cookbook, which didn't quite jive with my plan for introducing new foods. It combined flavors, incorporated herbs and spices, and generally seemed to be geared toward bigger babies in my opinion. So I shelfed that book for the time being, and focused my attention on Momtastic and Cooking for Baby, a cookbook my mom gave me for Mother's Day when I was pregnant. The Cooking for Baby cookbook is a fabulous place to start, as it details how and when to begin solid foods and groups everything with the age at which it should be introduced. Following each intro page, with its "New Foods to Try" section, are recipes for each item.
Because my son had some tummy issues beginning at birth (he's on soy formula), we are moving extremely slowly with new food introductions. Rather than the typical advise to wait three or four days between new foods (to rule out allergic reactions), I am trying each food for an entire week. Not only does this give Bunkey a little more time to get used to each new food and give me more time to watch for reactions, but it's just easier to know that we'll be starting something new on the same day each week. I haven't figured out yet which day we'll start new foods. I'd like it to be the beginning of the week, but our commissary (military grocery store) is closed on Mondays for restocking, and I normally do my shopping on Tuesdays. Tuesdays are also hard because we attend a Mommy & Me class, so we're out of the house for much of the day. After that we get into midweek... And by the weekend we don't ever have a set schedule, so I'm not sure how easy it would be to start new foods then. I'll let you know how it goes!