Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GUEST POST: Rest in Peas - A Working Mothers Guide to Not Making Baby Food

Kris and Leigh (that’s us) are on vacation this week, so we asked some of our most hilarious friends to pen guest columns for CHG. Today’s post comes from the talented and wondrous Michele.

For the last seven months of my life, I’ve been taking care of a child. To be more specific, I’ve been taking care of my child. The one I carried around for TEN months in my belly, and the one I have wanted since I was, oh, 13? The one I waited to find the perfect dad for. The one that came at the just the right time and is absolutely perfect. To me. Obviously.

Anyway, he’s seven-months-old now, and I can’t rely exclusively on the food I’ve been making for him from the ol’ feed sacks. (A.k.a. my bosom.) It’s one of those things you don’t think about when you’re 13: I have to feed him real food.

For the last month, I’ve been going with Earth’s Best and Gerber baby foods because, oh, I don’t know – it’s easy? But recently, I wanted to try my hand at pureeing steamed peas at home.

So, I opened up my internet and looked at the awesome Wholesome Baby Food website, plus a book (I know. How retro!) called Super Baby Food. And from both of these, I’ve gotten some great recipes. It is pretty much just as easy as steaming peas, throwing them in your blender, and then adding a little steaming water for consistency.

(Oh, and apparently, if you throw the hot peas into an ice bath beforehand it makes the pea jackets puree easier. Also, a blender is better than a food processor - again, those pesky pea jackets. If you think junior can't take the texture of it at the end of this process, just strain it and get rid of the lumps.)

It seems that I’ve come to the end of my, “Hi! I’m Michele and I have a baby; let’s make baby food,” segment, but really, opening up the website and the book just made me more confused. Which, I’ve found after seven months, is what motherhood is all about.

Seeing how easy it is to make the baby food was nice. It’s not this big ordeal I thought it would be. However, then? You have to store it.

Now, I live in Brooklyn. I don’t have a deep freezer, nor do I have a pantry. I have a freezer that is currently overloaded with breast milk and meat because my mom has been on this kick of sending us Omaha Steak packages that are less steak and more hot dogs and hamburgers, plus these really weird Potato Au Gratins. So what I’m saying is, room is at a premium. What’s a girl to do? Make just a wee bit of peas every day? Learn cannning?

The solution is pretty awesome – I just put them in ice cube trays.

What I’m left with though, is enough peas to skin a cat, but little else. And apparently, if you only give your child one of anything, they can develop an aversion to that one food. So, I have to go back to jars of baby food for variety.

The more I read about making baby food, the more I realize I may not be able to do this for him and you know what? That’s ok. I would rather spend the four hours a day I get with him Monday through Friday, than stress over what I’m not doing for him. The good news is that breast milk is still more important than regular food this first year anyway, so I have another five months to figure out how to feed him healthy, fresh foods and be okay with supplementing when necessary. In the meantime, I’ll give him my puree of peas sparingly and gobble up his giggles and coos.

And when those run out, I can try my hand at making mangos!

Michele O Medlin is a wife, mother, and voiceover artist. She sometimes writes on her blog over here. When she does, she generally swears. Users beware.

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chiquita said...

The good news is that gradually you can start giving him what you eat. Also things like lentils or some vegs (sweet potato) just cook some for yourself and mash his.

But I hear you about spending quality time. This time with him is precious, don't stress about doing it all "from scratch."

JeCaThRe said...

Here's how I avoided the whole baby food conundrum: I didn't feed any baby food.

(I have no affiliation with this blog except that I read it.)

My almost three year old never choked and is now a good eater with no allergies. (Not that baby food would cause a picky eater with allergies, just that skipping baby food didn't kill my boy.) I'm planning on doing the same thing with my younger son when he's old enough for solids.

flybigd said...

It's ok. My little guy is 20 months old now so it wasn't that long ago that I was in your shoes. Super Baby Food totally freaked me out the first time (OK, first 20 times) I read it (nervous first time mom) but then I got a grip. When my hubby and I were having something I thought the little one would eat, I pureed it for him; if not, he got a jar of Earth's Best or some mashed-up fruit. So it's all good.

Kristine said...

We have a little hand food mill. Very easy. No blender, no freezing. Just take some veggies, heat them up a bit, twirl around the food mill, and ta-da! Baby food. Great for things like banana, which turn brown very quickly after being blended. And the mill was cheap: $10 at Babies-R-Us.

julianne said...

Yup, doing your own purees requires a system and storage for sure. You can still make your own "baby" food without going to all that trouble though! I just fed my daughter what we were eating. Like if we were having green beans, just steam some of 'em a bit longer so they're squishy and hand 'em over. Wikipedia has a decent overview of baby-led solids: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby-led_weaning

Wendy said...

I made most of my son's pureed baby food, but I did a lot of it in small batches. When I cooked something appropriate for him (broccoli, green beans, potatoes) for the rest of the family, I would take a portion out for him and puree it in a bowl with the hand blender. I usually did enough for the meal we were eating at the time, with some left over for the next day. No need to freeze at all -- easy peasy.

Amiyrah said...

We lived(and still live) in a one bedroom apartment, so I know what you mean about space being at a premium. Our solution? Feed him what you make for dinner. What I used to do is make dinner the same way, except put a small amount of whatever it was to the side and I didn't season it. Once dinner was done, I put the non-seasoned food in the blender with a little bit of hot water(yes, this included meat) and let it blend while I pulled out the tableware. He loved everything I made that way. It was easy, and we had less leftovers to deal with at the end of the week. Plus, it didn't take much time out of our night time routine(dinner with daddy, bath time, bed).

Paula said...

Back in the dark ages when my kids were babies...I made some of my own baby food too. Mostly I steamed or boiled plain veg and smashed it up with a fork or food mill. Those nifty little stick blenders with the food chopper attachment work pretty well too. For potatoes and carrots and things I added a bit of whatever liquid they were on (formula by this time) to thin it a bit. Pea jackets weren't really an issue, but then my children rarely left anything edible behind. Come to think of it, they still eat everything in sight! Good luck!

Courtney said...

I got a handgrinder that was small enough to fit in my purse, and just fed her itty bits of what we ate. We started with yogurt at 7months, incidentally (easy to get out of the fridge, no choking, yummy and good for you.) Now at 20months, she'll eat pretty much anything, though I do cut up tough cuts of meat.

Michele said...


thank you so much for responding. i've actually wrote you a response of sorts in my blog. it's more questions for you but i thought, i'd move it over to my area so that i won't waste kris & leigh's space.

Thank you again!