“Why Should I Make My Own Baby Food?”
Why make your own baby food? You could just go shopping for the family and charge them for it, right? Well, you could, but as a professional nanny, you can earn more money by providing more service to your families. It may sound simpler to run to the baby food aisle, but it’s not usually what a parent honestly wants. The raw ingredients for baby food are far cheaper than buying it premade. Also, when the nanny makes the food for Baby, the family feels like you are an investment, helping them save money on something that their child literally needs. This makes you, the nanny, something genuinely valuable to the family. You become even more worth every penny!
Why do families want homemade baby food?
- It’s cheaper. Compared to costly baby food prices, you can make your family’s own baby food for pennies on the dollar.
- It’s fresher. Many parents worry about what the preservatives large manufacturers put in their baby’s food. With homemade baby food, they don’t have to worry.
- It’s tastier. Most practically, flavors and foods can be adjusted to match the pallet and needs of the child.
As your family’s nanny, providing homemade baby food is a way to ensure your family sees your value. By making homemade baby food, and meeting the family’s needs, you show them that you help them save money, keep their baby safe, and provide a pleasant environment for their child.
How to Make Baby Food
Baby food is made out of just six basic types of ingredients.
There should be no more added ingredients such as sugar or salt. Flavor enhancers like these are what cause today’s food to be so unhealthy. By eliminating, rather than limiting, these ingredients we can keep Baby’s diet cleaner, and prevent them from developing unhealthy eating habits.
Here are the ingredients that I most often cook with:
- Bananas (works to thicken and smooth out many other recipes)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Green Peppers
- Pasta (any small pasta which won’t be a choking hazard)
- Ground Turkey
- And just about anything else!
How to Prepare Baby Food
You can get the most out of your effort by batching. Make a day of it.
Most of the tools that I use are:
- Cutting boards
- Instant pot
- Blender/Bullet of some kind
- Nesting bowls
- Tupperware/storage containers
- Pans and pots
- Muffin tins
This is all you will possibly need, in addition to utensils such as spoons, knives, and others. You don’t need a lot of expensive tools to make great, healthy baby food.
By and large, most of the baby food that families want you to make will just be fruits and veggies pureed in a food processor. This is the easiest way to make baby food.
Follow these FIVE steps for this simple array of dishes:
- Choose a few recipes to make. These dishes can be single-ingredient purees or a mixture of complementary flavors.
- Wash your hands. Like any time you cook, it’s essential to wash your hands and be free of contaminants.
- Prepare your ingredients. Wash, scrub, peel and cut your fruits and veggies as needed.
- Cook until tender. Whether you’re baking, steaming, frying, or even microwaving will depend on what you’re cooking.
- Puree into baby food. Add liquid and puree ingredients. You may use water, breast milk, or formula as your liquid base.
Baby Food Stages
You can’t serve just any ol’ baby food to your kiddos. Foods are introduced to babies in stages. This is because babies are not immediately capable of eating all sorts of food. If a baby is fed solid foods before they can chew it or even move it to the back of their throat, they could choke. Babies need food appropriate for their ability.
If you look at the famous Gerber brand, they have trademarked these stages as “1st Foods,” “2nd Foods,” and “3rd Foods.” While Gerber may have trademarked those specific names, this concept is relatively common throughout the rest of baby food producers. We, likewise, can design our homemade dishes around three stages.
Pediatricians recommend starting to introduce solid foods around six months old.
4 to 6 Months Old
7 to 8 Months Old
Combined ingredient foods. Chunkier textures, such as strained or mashed food.
9 to 12 Months Old
Chunks. Small chopped or diced foods that must be chewed.
1 Year & Older
Solid table foods.
*Note: Any foods introduced should follow the 3-day rule. Don’t introduce more than one new food within a three-day increment. Watch for signs of allergic reactions or intolerance. Once 3 days have lapsed with one new food, try another. I also recommend using the three days to try foods that Baby first seemed opposed to again. Sometimes, they’ll have to try it a few times before they like it. 😉
How to Store Baby Food
Above, I recommended you cook your baby food in batches. When you batch anything in the kitchen, you need to store it – Baby can’t eat all of that in one day!
With baby food, you have plenty of fun storage options.
For purees, you’ll want to have some ready for now, and have more available for later. Take a week’s (or just a few day’s) supply and keep it in the fridge in a sealable container. These purees should still be fresh for at least 3 to 4 days.
To keep purees fresh for later, you’ll need to freeze them. Grab an ice cube tray and transfer the cooled puree to the tray. These allow you to store small portions by themselves, or mix and match different cubed purees later as a way to introduce new flavors to Baby.
These frozen purees should easily stay fresh for three months or longer in the freezer. You can thaw these frozen portions in the microwave set to low-power, sitting overnight in the fridge, or cooking on the stovetop.
A fine mash (or chunky puree) can be stored in refillable squeeze pouches. These are easy for you or the parents to prepare and easy for Baby to handle themselves.
For at-home eating, I like to store them the same way I do the frozen purees. Because Baby is usually eating a larger portion by the time they reach this stage, I like to use muffin tins instead of ice cube trays.
Storing Solid Food
Like any other food, solids can be stored in the fridge in their own containers. This should be no different than storing any adult’s food.
Small, portion-sized containers like these ones can help you, and the parents quickly feed Baby without having to think on the spot.
“Should I Make My Own Baby Food?”
Baby food is easy to make. The ingredients are simple, and the process is even more straightforward. Beyond that, the benefits are enormous. By homemaking baby food you:
- Save the family money
- Protect their child’s health
- Delight your kiddo’s tastebuds
- Prove your value as a nanny
Should you make your own baby food? YES!
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