Having a baby with multiple allergies (the list keeps growing, you can read about it here) has been challenging. Allergies mean not being able to just purchase store bought food, or get snacks on the go (or any snack for that matter), not being able to simply give him food off our plates or letting him eat anything without a package which states ALL ingredients.
The number one thing our allergist told us was to not let him eat any store bought food. He informed us that here in Germany, the companies do not have to list all ingredients in baby food if it is under a certain amount of a product in it. All baby food (with the exception to Nestle) use fillers such as soy or milk in their baby food, both of which my son is allergic to. On top of it, it is so, so, so hard to find baby food which isn’t a mix of things (the doctor told us to stick to single food groups for a while).
So with all of this information (aren’t we bombarded with info once we have a baby, it seems so intense to me at times) I am making his food at home. I really enjoy it though, and even before he was born and we found out about his allergies, I intended to make his food, so it’s not a big deal.
In order to get it all done (moms are amazing at that!) I have compiled a few tips for other mamas out there who are interested in tackling home made baby food or who have babies with allergies.
Added note this is strictly for making and preping purees. My son will only eat pureed puree, meaning nearly liquid. He is not a fan of any lumps, chunks or textures yet. I will do a post on food prep once it has changed and I am no longer making purees.
First, get a steamer! It has been such a time saver. Second, get a industrial size blender, preferrably one which is silent (ours is Bosch Silent mix and it is seriously amazing, we can blend things while he’s sleeping and he won’t hear a thing!). I was gifted a baby bullet (which I wished for and wanted so badly) but and thoroughly unimpressed. It is so loud and you can only puree such small quantities, plus it takes forever to get to a good consistency. Don’t waste your money, or space on your registry for it. My tip, get a good blender with glass instead of plastic.
Once you start foods you typically only do one at a time. So buy a significant amount so you aren’t having to make food every other day. I always make quite a bit and freeze all of it and take it out in the morning when I know I will need it (and what I will need).
Speaking of freezing, I cannot recommend the infantino squeeze pouches enough. They are so good for freezing and are so easy to feed with and are nearly mess free. The are easy to fill, defrost within minutes and are meant to be thrown away so you don’t feel bad when you throw them out. (Although I do resuse some of them when I know they were filled with something my son isn’t allergic to.)
So, now that we have all of devices out of the way, lets get started with making the food.
Whether you go organic or not, its the same process, usually peel, cut, steam, blend, put into bags/storage device, let cool, freeze or refrigerate.
As I mentioned, I always make a significant amount. I do the 4 day rule with new foods so I keep enough for 2 days in the fridge and then freeze the rest. Every other day I take out in the am and let it thaw out in the fridge then put the bag in warm water when hes about to eat it.
You might be thinking (if you’re a fellow allergy mom) that it’s a waste if he’s allergic and you make so much food. Yes, but I have friends that will gladly take my deliciously home made baby food off my hands if it turns out my son is allergic. Or you can always make something for yourself with it. The pros outweigh the cons here as you won’t be cooking every other day.
I usually pick one day a week to do it all, and its usually Mondays. I start with his favorites (at the moment its yam and banana/plum) and then I make the new food.
This week I have made enough for the whole week, plus the new food. I always make enough of his favorites in case he has an allergy to the new food.
Here is what I made this week:
6 yams, 5 banana/plum and 6 cubes of zucchini, zucchini being the new food here.
You’ll notice that the zucchini is not in a pouch. I do this to be able to really see how much he has eaten in case he gets a reaction. I also do this as it makes it easier to get rid of should he be allergic. Also, I don’t like using the pouches in case he has an allergy, since I won’t be able to reuse them afterwards.
I generally don’t keep food in the fridge for more than 48 hours (depending on the food if theres meat in it I only keep it in for one day, all fruit and veg I keep for 2 days). I keep food in the freezer for 1-1.5 months. Generally it doesn’t get the chance to stay in there for that long.
Lastly, I will generally only let him have a pouch openfor half a day. If he’s teething and doesn’t really want to eat solids, I will let him slowly eat from a pouch until he’s finished or after about 5 hours. Then I dump it out and wash it with hot water and soap then let it air dry or I will throw it out. If I am feeding him from a frozen cube, I will put the cube in a glass cup, and the cup in a bowl then fill the bowl with boiling water. It heats up the cube in a few minutes and it’s ready to eat!
As you can tell, he seems to like it too!
Note, this is what works for my family, it may not work for you and that’s fine. Every mom/family has to do what works for them.
Do you make your food at home too? Or buy store bought, what is your experience? I love hearing other thoughts on food.