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Baby’s First Foods for Busy Families

As a working parent, I worried about how I would manage to feed my son three healthy, nutritious meals a day. I was interested in making my own baby food, but wasn’t sure I could fit that project into our busy days. Surprisingly, I found that setting aside one afternoon to cook and store baby food every three weeks, I was able to build a stockpile of a variety of tastes, textures, and colors. Here are my tips!

· Shop

Explore the grocery store together! Take your child to the store to shop for first foods when they are fed, rested, and ready to explore. Babies love to look and touch, so spend time cruising the produce aisle, talking about everything you see. Name the fruits and veggies, discuss the color and texture, and allow your child to touch and explore the foods. Choose a few popular first foods, like green beans, squash, and sweet potatoes to take home and get cooking!

· Prepare

Wash, peel and chop your foods, placing the prepped foods in large bowls. I steam all of my foods on the stovetop by putting a steaming basket in a pan of boiling water. Keep a cup nearby to refill the water in the pan as you steam each batch of foods until they are very soft. When the foods are cooked, place them back in a bowl to cool before blending, and then blend until smooth.

· Store

You can purchase small containers that are freezer safe from many places, but I got mine on Amazon for a very reasonable price. Scoop your cooled purees into the containers and freeze. For organization, I label large freezer bags and place all the purees in one bag- this is helpful if you have lots of foods that are the same color like squash, carrots and sweet potato.

· Enjoy!

Decide what delicious meals you would like to serve or send to child care the next day, and move those three frozen containers from the freezer to the fridge to defrost. They might still be a little frozen in the morning, so they transport well in a lunch box or cooler. When you introduce a new food to your baby, expect some funny (and adorable) faces. One of the reasons that I really like having a large amount of the same foods in the freezer is that I can reintroduce a food to my son several times- young children often need to experience foods many times before deciding if they like it.

I’m so happy that I was able to find a way to fit making a variety of baby foods into my busy schedule without feeling like I’m taking time away from my son. I hope these tips encourage you to try exploring your own foods with your little one.

-Melissa Smith

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