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Y'all know I'm lazy. Like, LAZY lazy. I was crap at tummy time because it was too hard to get back up again after being on the floor. I don't do Mommy and Me classes because it would involve putting on pants and showering. My baby co-slept because I didn't have to get out of bed at night to nurse her. Yeah, I'm hella lazy.
When it came time for Melanie to start eating, the thought of having to remember to buy all those little jars of baby food, lug them home, and then figure out how to get rid of a shit ton of empty jars was NOT going to happen. Like, it seemed easier to make the damn food myself than deal with that hassle week after week. And y'all, I can absolutely confirm that is it MUCH easier to make baby food than you think.
Here's the Lazy Bitch's Guide to Making Baby Food:
(If you cannot make your baby's food – no judgement. As long as you are feeding your baby – you're doing it right.)
Cook in Bulk.
Cooking baby food in bulk is crazy easy. You can chop/peel several vegetables or fruits at one time and then have one steaming, one sauting, and one roasting all at the same time. Seriously, in one hour I can make enough baby food to feed my girl for a couple of weeks. Also, doing the cooking this way really cuts down on washing dishes since you can safely reuse several different cooking utensils. I totally recommend cooking your vegetables, fruits, and/or meats in as natural a state as possible. This is not only way easier – it also helps the food maintain the most nutrients possible.
Freeze Individual Servings.
After you make your big batch of baby food, you can then freeze it into individual servings. Doing it this way will dramatically cut down on waste – both in time, energy, and food. Just freeze each type of food together in a labeled bag and when you want to feed baby, pop out a portion of whatever type you want to serve. No doling out a new portion each time, no worrying about food going bad, no stressing out about serving sizes. Also, this allows you to experiment with different food combinations as your baby gets older.
Use the Right Tools and Keep Them Together.
I store mine in a basket on a shelf in my kitchen. Listen, there are a million gadgets out there to “help” you make baby food. But all you really need are the following (and honestly, you could probably substitute shit you already have if you're not in the mood to buy new crap):
To Cook the Baby Food: Most of the things I use to cook my baby's food were already in my kitchen. Basically, cooking baby food is exactly like cooking regular food – you're just isolating the ingredients and pureeing the crap out of it. Here are my go-to items:
To do your baby food, you're going to need the basics – a stove and an oven + an assortment of cooking sheets, pans, and pots. These items are to cook all the vegetables, fruits, and meats (after the eighth month, it's safe to feed your baby raw food).
At first, you'll also need some way to puree the baby's food. I use a food processor because that's what I already have handy in my kitchen but really, a blender, food mill, or immersion blender work just fine.
You'll also need a knife to slice larger veggies in half for roasting or chopping up fruits into more manageable sizes for sauting or steaming. I just use my favorite knife from my kitchen. A peeler can also be handy so you don't have to cut off or remove peels by hand.
I also recommend using a mesh steamer basket to steam your veggies as it helps them keep their shape and color. However, my friend Brynn taught me that you can also use a colander to steam stuff in a pinch.
Another big lazy bitch tip is to line your cooking sheets with tin foil or parchment paper before roasting or broiling stuff – it will save you on all that extra washing up. Just throw away the foil when done. Look, Ma! No cleaning!
To Prep and Store the Baby Food: I like to make my baby's food in batches and freeze it for use on a daily basis. I've found that this works great for the lazy bitch in me since I can spend about an hour doing up two to three different recipes all at one time and then freeze them for later. Here are my go-to items:
I use ice cube trays to freeze each type of baby food into managable one ounce cubes. When I started off, I used cheap plastic trays from the dollar bins but they were a pain to get the cubes out of, were an irregular shape that didn't freeze well in bulk, and also broke whenever I tried to get the cubes out. So this is one instance when I'd encourage you to upgrade to these silicon bar ice cube trays. I love them! They freeze the baby food into perfect one ounce cubes which stack easily on top of each other when I do bulk freezing. Also, the trays can be twisted and turned to get each cube out with no fuss (and don't break!).
I use this mini spatula and a plain ol' spoon to move the purees from the food processor and into the ice cube trays. I use the spoon to scoop puree into each section and the use the spatula to smooth everything down and level out the top.
Starting in the seventh month, you can begin to mix food types together (and add herbs or spices) to introduce your baby to a more “regular” diet. I keep a set of measuring spoons and measuring cups handy so I can do it all faster.
When it comes time to store the batches of baby food I've made, I label freezer baggies with a Sharpie and just pop each type of food into a single baggie. Then the baggies go right into a dedicated section of my freezer. Bing, bang, done.
Don't Reinvent the Wheel.
In addition to having the right tools, cooking in bulk, and freezing batches of like foods, I would also recommend using this cookbook to get you started. Yes, you can just wing it or look up recipes on Pinterest but y'all – this cookbook really is wonderful. It has great information and tasty recipes that encourage your baby to try lots of different flavors and become accustomed to “real” food quickly.
Any of you make your baby's food? Any tips?