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Making Baby Food at Home Is Actually Way Easier Than You Think

Making baby food at home may sound hard but I promise you, it’s actually insanely simple and it will save you so much money!  While feeding your baby three jars/pouches of food a day costs about $3 a day, I was making baby food at home for only $6 a week! 

In addition to the massive amount of savings you have making baby food at home, you will also know exactly what is going into your baby’s food. You can make sure it only contains the best ingredients rather than tons of unnatural additives and preservatives. 

This post is all about the benefits of making baby food at home, what you will need to make it, and how to store it to make things as easy as possible.

making baby food at home

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4 Reasons to Start Making Baby Food at Home

  • Control the Texture– As your baby gets older, their food will slowly become thicker in order to prepare them for eating real food. Making your own food allows you to do this easily by simply decreasing the amount of time that you puree and the amount of liquid you put in. Best of all, you can increase the texture and thickness of your child’s food at exactly the right pace for them.
  • You Know Exactly What’s In It– One of our family’s biggest concerns with store bought food was the preservatives and chemicals had been added to our baby’s food. Food quality is important in every stage of life, but it is especially important for a growing baby.
  • It Tastes Better– Sometimes when my baby won’t eat a particular food, I taste it myself to see what he might be thinking/to see if it is any good. While homemade food really tastes pretty good, you do not want to take a bite of store bought food. Trust me…
  • It is Significantly Cheaper– The estimated cost to buy store bought baby food for 3 meals a day (3 jars/pouches) for a year is almost $1100. In contrast, making your own baby food costs approximately $300 a year for the same amount of food. 

What You Will Need

Homemade Baby Food Cooking Essentials:

  • A Saucepan & Spatula– To cook or steam vegetables.  
  • A Food Processor or Blender– I love using my Ninja Professional Plus Blender. It does a fantastic job and is super easy to clean. This emulsifier is also a great low cost option!
  • A Freezer Tray– You can choose to freeze your baby food in normal ice cube trays or buy baby food freezing trays like this one from WeeSprout. I will talk more about this later. 
  • Lots of Tupperware Containers (If you want to stock up)- I find it easiest to make a day that is dedicated to baby food prepping. I make all the different kinds of food, freeze them in trays, and pop them into large tupperware containers (one for each different flavor). 
  • Labels– Keeping track of what food is what, what date it was made, and when it needs eaten by can feel overwhelming. Plus, getting the residue from the tape or labels afterward can be daunting. I highly recommend using these water dissolvable food labels. You can label everything easily for the freezer and when it comes time to wash the container, you won’t have to fight to get the labels off. 

Feeding Essentials:

  • A High Chair– As a minimalist, I naturally love space saving products. We use the Summer Pop N’ Sit chair as the full time high chair in our house because it can go with us anywhere that we go and takes up no space in our little two bedroom apartment. Ours is more of a booster style chair that can be put onto any other chair, but they also have a full height collapsible high chair that works until your little one is 45 pounds!
  • Silicone Bibs with Catch Pocket– These are a must!  Silicone bibs with catch pockets will save you a lot of clean up, catching all the drips and dribbles as your baby eats. When your baby is finished eating, they can simply be wiped, rinsed clean, or thrown into the dishwasher. After I bought some of these, all my cloth bibs went immediately into the donation pile. 
  • Glass Bowls– Since you may be putting puree into the microwave to thaw, it is best to have glass bowls you can use to feed your baby. These glass bowls also have a silicone sleeve that suctions to the table to help avoid messes. It’s the best of both worlds!
  • Spoons- I personally have loved using Munchkin’s soft tip infant spoons. Their 12 pack comes in at around a dollar per spoon. This way, when the spoons get thrown under furniture or magically go missing, it’s no big deal. Once your little one moves onto feeding themselves, this self feeding training spoon is a great option to start with!  The middle portion of the spoon fills up so they don’t have to worry about balancing it or holding it wrong until they get the hang of it! 
  • Cup-  It will take your little one some time to learn their way around a cup. I suggest starting with a training cup. I personally have had a lot of success with the Nuk learner cup. Once your little one has mastered the learner cup, you can move forward to either a weighted straw cup or a 360 cup. We absolutely love the weighted straw cup because the straw is always in the water no matter how he holds it!

Supplies for On the Go:

  • Reusable Pouches– Baby food pouches can be expensive. Plus, you don’t know for sure exactly what’s in them. These reusable food pouches are great for homemade baby food on the go.
  • No Spill Snack Cups– For the all too essential baby puffs, these no spill snack cups are great to throw in your diaper bag or purse.

How to Make Homemade Baby Food Purees

When my husband and I first made the decision to make our own baby food, it felt daunting. I had no clue how to do it. Every time I went to the grocery store, I would walk past the baby food section and think, “Buying it would be so much easier.”  But, the truth is, making it is actually so easy! I set aside one day every couple of weeks to make baby food and that’s it! That’s just as much time as a trip to the store! 

  1. Cook (if necessary) your desired produce on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave. It doesn’t matter how you choose to cook it, just make sure it is cooked until it is tender.
  2. Place the produce you cooked in a blender or food processor with 1/4 cup of water or breast milk.
  3. Begin blending.
  4. Add a 1/4 cup water or breast milk until it reaches the desired consistency. For a stage one food, you will want the puree to be watery and be able to drip off of a spoon. As your baby gets older and you move to thicker stage two purees, simply blend the puree for a shorter amount of time.

How to Freeze & Store Homemade Baby Food

When I make a batch of baby food, I keep a couple ounces out for the next few days and I freeze the rest for later. Freezing baby foods will allow you to food prep for weeks or months at a time! In fact, baby food can be kept frozen for up to three months! These next steps will show you exactly how to store your baby food in perfect portions to make thawing and serving easier! 

  1. Choose and make the puree of your choosing.
  2. Put a little into the fridge for the next couple days.
  3. Transfer the remainder of the puree into baby food freezer trays or ice cube trays. (if using an ice cube tray or a food tray without a lid, cover with plastic wrap) 
  4. Let the Puree Freeze for at least 3 hours (or until solid) 
  5. Empty the tray into a storage containers or Ziploc bags.

How to Thaw Homemade Baby Food

Thawing in a Microwave

When thawing purees for your baby, keep in mind that a standard ice cube is equal to one ounce of food. Place the desired amount of food into a microwave save glass bowl. Place the microwave on defrost and microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between. The cubes may also need broken up with a spoon to finish thawing. The food is ready when it has thawed and is barely warm to the touch. Be sure to check the temperature of the food before serving to your baby. If the food becomes too hot, put a little cold water in and mix to cool it down. 

Thawing in a Fridge

Thawing food purees in the fridge is a great way to avoid using a microwave if you don’t like using one or simply don’t have one. This does take a little more planning ahead, but it is a great option. If you do choose to thaw your baby food in the fridge, I suggest using these four ounce mason jars to prep food the night before. They come with both lids and labels to make life so much easier! 

 

  1. Take the puree cubes you want to thaw for the next day out of the freezer.
  2. Place the cubes in glass containers that seal or a reusable pouch if you will be on the go (one for each meal works best!)
  3. Let the cubes thaw for eight hours or overnight.
  4. Grab a spoon and serve the puree directly out of the container. If your little one doesn’t like cold food, you can warm the food up with the stove top, microwave, or placing the glass bowl in another bowl with warm water.

Thawing on the Stovetop

Add any cubes of the puree you want to thaw into a saucepan and thaw over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until it is thawed and slightly warm. Make sure to taste the food yourself before giving it to your baby to make sure that it isn’t too hot. 

Recipes to Get You Started Making Baby Food at Home

Stage 1 Recipes (4-6 months)

A stage 1 baby foods are the first baby food that your child will eat. These foods will be made very thin and watery, able to drip off a spoon easily. Stage 1 foods are made of one single fruit or vegetable to help watch for food allergies and sensitivities in your little one. Stage 1 foods are best for babies ages 4-6 months or for babies that are just being introduced to food for the first time. Keep in mind that all babies are different and that these ages are simply a guideline.

Stage 1 Veggie Purees

Pea Baby Food Puree– My little guys absolute favorite food!

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen peas (this is equal to about 2 cups of peas)
  • 1 cup of water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger or ginger paste

Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic OR 1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Carrot Baby Food Puree

  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 3/4 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger or ginger paste

Broccoli Baby Food Puree

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen broccoli 
  • 1 cup of water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Green Bean Baby Food Puree

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen green beans (or 2 cups fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk 
  • Optional: A small pinch of dried parsley

Butternut Squash Baby Food Puree

  • 1 butternut squash (feel free to cook your squash with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil to give your baby some healthy fats)
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Avocado Baby Food Puree

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon garlic 
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon lime juice

Stage 1 Fruit Purees

***Quick Tip: I like to mix these fruit purees with rice cereal or baby oatmeal to fill my baby up a little more while cutting down on the amount of sugar he is eating.

 

Banana 

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Pear 

  • 5 ripe pears, peeled and chopped up
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Peach

  • 3 cans peaches in 100% fruit juice (drain 2 or the 3 cans and keep 1 can’s juice for the puree)
  • 3/4 cup water
  •  Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Strawberry

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

 

Blueberry

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1 tsp lemon juice

 

Mango

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk

 

Stage 2 Recipes (Babies 6-9 months)

Stage 2 foods are thicker than stage 1 foods and contain multiple ingredients instead of just one. Your babies appetite will also start growing at this age and their portion sizes will start to get larger. Keep in mind that all babies are different and these ages are simply a guideline.

Stage 2 Veggie Purees

Sweet Potato + Pepper 

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup of red pepper, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Peas + Carrots

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen peas (or 2 cups peas)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk

Broccoli + Cauliflower 

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen broccoli & cauliflower (or 1 cup cauliflower and 1 cup broccoli)
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk

Pumpkin + Carrots

  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk

Stage 2 Fruit Purees

Banana + Blueberry 

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ginger paste

Peach + Chicken

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, boiled
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of peaches in 100% fruit juice (do not drain juice)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth 
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Mixed Berry

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon dried mint

Banana + Avocado

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup water or breastmilk

This post was all about why making baby food at home is so important and exactly how to do it quickly and easily! While it may feel daunting to make your own baby food, it doesn’t have to be! 

- Beautifully Busy Mom

Don’t forget to save these recipes and tips for later!

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