BERF: The Prep Part 2

April 22, 2013

My first batch of baby food lasted us beyond a week, but by the time batch 2 was ready for cooking I felt a lot more prepared. I put M down for his morning nap and got to work on peas, oatmeal, green beans and butternut squash.

I’m storing his bottles in the small bin on the right and all of his food props on the left on a shelf in our upper cabinets. Wish our kitchen had more drawers!

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I ended up buying this OXO tray with a lid. The cubes are easier to get out, but not by much. But it’s nice to have two trays now. One wasn’t enough for bulk prep + freezing.

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First the oats. I made some of Mimi’s Baby Grains and added some organic plain applesauce to them for a bit more flavor and nutrition. 1/3 cup of oatmeal with 1/3 cup applesauce yielded 6 servings. I kept two out for the next 2 days and froze the other 4.  The applesauce has been nice to keep on hand for when I need a quick meal and don’t have anything thawed. Sure a freshly steamed apple might be better, but I’m ok with organic applesauce with an ingredient list that reads organic apples only.

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Next up: peas! Frozen peas were steamed and then blended and 2 cups filled this tray perfectly. After they were solid, I popped them out and put them into a zip lock with the sweet potatoes.

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Next we tried two new foods: green beans and butternut squash. Yet another great purpose for frozen squash! I’m happy to let someone else peel it for me.

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1 cup of beans were steamed and pureed with a little bit of water. They turned out quite watery and the texture didn’t look great to me, but M didn’t seem to mind. I wonder if they’d be better blended with something creamy like the peas or sweet potatoes. I kept one out for short term and froze the rest in the OXO cups.

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Everything I labeled with the food and date with simple masking tape. Works for now!

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Lastly the squash. I steamed 2 cups of it in a pot over hot water for about 10 minutes and then pureed that. Added a little bit of cinnamon too!

Then once it had cooled, I filled it into 4 of these Little Green Pouches. I was sent these to review and LOOOOVE them! They are $15 for 4 on Amazon. I’m definitely going to order a second set.

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Have you seen these commercial pouches? When I first visited the baby food aisle of the grocery store I thought they were for older babies to suck from, but I didn’t realize this is just how most baby food comes these days instead of in glass jars. You can just squeeze the food onto a spoon and feed a younger baby – duh! Or squeeze into a bowl. There are so many fun flavors that appeal to my granola mom side – ingredients like quinoa and cute labels! But these pouches are expensive, so the Little Green Pouch was fabulous to create my own squeeze packs. We used the pre-made ones when we traveled to Arizona because they were shelf-stable, but around town you could use your own.

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I scooped in the squash and froze 3/4 of them. They are dishwasher safe and freezer safe – two awesome must haves. When I feel Mazen I just squeeze from the pouch into the spoon. Eventually I’m sure he’ll like to slurp out the food himself.

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Love that you can see the ounces on the side too.

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Last favorite food tool: I’m loyal to OXO and the color green so these are our favorite spoons!

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So for round 2 I made:

  • 14 cubes of peas (I usually do 2-3 cubes per meal)
  • 6 servings of oatmeal
  • 4 servings of green beans
  • 4 pouches of squash

That lasted us 2 weeks (with 2 meals per day and fresh foods like mashed avocado mixed in)

Not bad for an hour of prep! I think for round 3 I’m going to start mixing more foods together. Even though breast milk is still his primary nutrition, I can’t help but think about things like pairing a starch + protein or fat + fruit.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sarah April 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

I’ve also seen babies sucking the food out of the pouches themselves!

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2 Jessica April 22, 2013 at 9:19 am

My 9 month old son LOVES pouches! I have been trying to steer away from purees and more toward “real” foods, but especially when he has a tooth coming in or we are in a rush, the pouches are so convenient. He gets excited when I show him one, lol. .. He has a bunch of teeth and has been eating since 5.5 months so now I steam carrots, zucchini, etc until soft but let him eat the pieces whole instead of mashing. He also loves beans, soft cheese (like string cheese), yogurt and avocado scooped right out of the shell. <3

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3 Hannah April 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

Do you use the microwave to defrost them?

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4 KERF April 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I usually just pull them out in advance to thaw, but I have used microwave before, yes

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5 Josie April 25, 2013 at 1:14 am

The back of the pouches say “do not microwave”? Or do you mean the blocks in the ice cube trays?

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6 KERF April 25, 2013 at 6:42 am

Oh I meant prepared food. The pouches I heat under hot running water

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7 Tara April 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

I love the pouches! They really get me through the day with the kids I nanny. The apple go-go squeezers are going to be clutch when M is older.

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8 Beth April 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

These little spoon attachments are awesome: http://www.amazon.com/Plum-Organics-Dispensing-Boon-Spoon/dp/B005P0I3AE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1366644577&sr=8-2&keywords=plum+organics+dispensing+boon+spoon

They screw onto any of the different pouches (at least the ones I have tried) and the food squeezes right out into the spoon. No juggling a pouch to squeeze it onto a separate spoon!

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9 Mandie April 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

awesome

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10 Lauren April 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I saw a mom squeezing right into babies mouth this past weekend! I couldn’t see the baby to tell how old he was.

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11 Melissa April 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I have an almost 8 month old who doesn’t like much texture in his food so far, but for more watery purees (like you mention with the green beans) we’ve been mixing in a bit of this organic brown rice powder: http://www.amazon.com/Plum-Organics-Organic-Cereal-7-Ounce/dp/B004N5DHNU. It makes the trip from spoon to mouth a little less messy and hopefully we can add more as he gets bigger.

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12 Kim April 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Kath…at six months does Mazen take a morning and afternoon nap? How long are these naps and did this transition happen naturally? Thanks for the post :)

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13 KERF April 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

He takes 3 naps – usually 9-10:15, 1-1:45 and 4:30/5-6. Bedtime is 8pm.

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14 Laura Keenan April 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Just found your blog & I love it! We seem very like minded. Your birth story was beautiful, I loved reading it. Looking forward to following along!
- Laura
tinytoeslittlenose.blogspot.com

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15 Jennifer April 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I saw those pouches on Amazon and almost bought them. I’m so glad to see you like them. I wasn’t sure how I would like them with the hole on the side instead of the top. Are they dishwasher safe? Do you find that they clean easy or does food get stuck in the them?

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16 KERF April 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I wash them immediately after use so there isn’t much food stuck

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17 Renee King April 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Oxo makes great stuff. The Plum Brand and Ellas Kitchen are great too. C doesn’t seem to care for the Ella’s kitchen to much, but really likes the plum brand. I like the pouches because they are great for travel, no worries of glass breaking. Also when Mazen gets older it will be really easy to stick in the diaper bag for him to have a snack on the go. So glad that you did a review on these because I have been looking for someone that makes refillable ones. Target also has some that you can buy and refill, it is a whole system you can buy or just the pouches. Thanks

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18 Kim @ Cooking in the City April 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

How easy are these to clean/ dry? I know you said they are dishwasher safe, but I’m guessing you squeeze in some soap and do several water rinses as well? Thanks!

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19 KERF April 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I wash them right away in the sink and then put them in the dishwasher once they are mostly clean of food. I haven’t had any problems to date

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20 katie April 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I was always under the impression that you shouldn’t refreeze food that had previously been frozen. I saw your post and looked it up, and it seems safe after all. Good to know!

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21 katie April 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Safe for vegetables, that is.

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22 Sarah April 24, 2013 at 10:56 am

It’s also safe to freeze food that has been cooked after being previously frozen. For example, say you buy your meat in bulk and keep it in the freezer, and then defrost some ground beef or whatever. I think you’re not supposed to refreeze it if you decide not to cook it (although I haven’t looked up the reason for that rule) but it’s fine to make chili (or whatever) with it and then freeze that.

For vegetables, I think the only risk would be destroying the texture even more than freezing in the first place did, but obviously for baby food that’s not a problem. But in any case, unless I missed something in Kath’s post, she’s steaming the frozen food and then freezing it after pureeing, so that would fall into the cooked-and-then-refrozen category anyway.

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23 Jenna April 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

LOVE this blog (and KERF too!) – thanks for all of the helpful posts!!! Question for you – what supplements do you give Mazen, if any? (ie. vitamin D drops, iron,…)

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24 KERF April 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Only vitamin D drops

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25 Rachel L. April 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

it’s such a shame that disposable pouches (instead of recyclable glass) are becoming the norm. I’m all about convenience, but I wish someone would come up with a better way! At least the reusable pouches are a step in the right direction.

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26 Allison k April 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Actually if you look in the baby food aisle most of the food is still in jars or plastic containers. I didn’t feed my baby purées, so I can’t say it with confidence but I bet the plastic containers are recyclable. I’m not referring to pouches. Which are wasteful, but convenient for babies that can feed themselves.

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27 Mia April 23, 2013 at 3:04 am

You should be careful not to give him too much protein. Babies are not supposed to eat anything which have more than 3,5 grams of protein per 100 grams. The kidneys are not matured enough to handle more than that amount of protein. Peas has 6,1 grams per 100 grams.

Instead you should think about mixing the peas with potatoes, to minimize the amount of protein.

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28 KERF April 23, 2013 at 6:33 am

I have not heard this before. Several sources have recommended meat as a first food (Le leche league, for example) and meat is more protein dense than peas. Do you have a source for this recommendation?

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29 Mia April 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

Buy they do not recommend it as the only component of the meal, right?
Le leche league focuses primarily on breast feeding in Scandinavia. Maybe because we are very strict when it comes to baby’s first food.

In Denmark we start with tastes of self prepared fruits and then move on to porridge, made primarily from rice- and cornflour to avoid gluten. After 6 months we introduce oatmeal and other porridges made from grains + various vegetables except beets, fennel and spinach because of nitrate. We also don’t recommend giving your baby dairy which contains more than 3,5 g of protein pr 100 g – most low fat products have a high content of protein, whereas dairy with 3,5% of fat does not.

Your baby needs roughly around 9 grams of protein pr day and most of that comes from your breast milk. Therefore he doesn’t need that much protein in his diet and I would focus on carbohydrates and fats instead. You should also remember to add 1 tsp of fat to Mazens portion of food – and shift between butter and different kinds of oils – and I do not know if this is a recommendation in the U.S, but it is here and the added fat should only be left out if the meal is made only with breast milk/formula.

Most babies love mashed potatoes and you can add all sorts of vegetables to that and still get a creamy mash :-).

And I can’t provide you with any research in English.

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30 Anne April 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Ha! We started feeding our daughter pureed meat fairly soon after she began eating food, though not right at six months. She loved it! She always ate peas, too. I wouldn’t worry.

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31 Casey April 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

Anything I have ever read says not to give baby TOO much protein, since fat is what they need most. When I started giving my son pureed chicken, he only gets a little bit of it maybe a couple times a week. I try to limit the protein and really up the fat with avocado and other healthy fats.

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32 jen April 23, 2013 at 8:09 am

I had trouble getting a nice consistency with green bean puree too. Never did quite figure it out. I tried steaming, boiling, cooking longer, cooking less. They always just seemed watery and yet unsmooth somehow. Maybe because I used frozen as well? I never did try fresh to see if that made a difference.

I was always timid about making big batches of mixed foods in case little girl didn’t like the taste. But I used a small square ice cube tray for freezing and it worked great for us to just thaw a few different foods and try mixing this and that to see what went down well. I remember being so impressed that she liked quinoa and lentils as an early food. Then later realizing that even though I totally planned for her to eat a mostly whole foods, healthy diet like we do, I also somehow had this subconscious expectation that she would only enjoy all the super sweetened stuff marketed to kids. She’s almost 2 now and I still catch myself being amazed and impressed when she likes things like spicy salsa, black beans, and brown rice & barley pilaf. I know I shouldn’t be so impressed — I must have been seriously brainwashed on some subconscious level by kids food marketers at some point in my life!

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33 Lyndsey April 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

I’ve never heard the rule regarding protein. The wholesome baby food website doesn’t have any information on that. Other websites indicate that as long as baby is growing normally, you are feeding him normally :-).

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34 Kattrina April 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I still cannot get my son to eat a single puree. It is frustrating. He is getting better eating finger foods (roasted broccoli, roasted carrots, red peppers, etc.) but I am not certain he’s getting enough food. I even sent some purees to my sister’s (she watches him during the day) to see if she could get him to eat and he flat out refused. Not sure what the deal is, but he seems to still be growing just fine.

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35 Sarah April 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

How old is your son? Purees are not a necessary developmental stage, anyway. :) They’re convenient and fun, and lots of people choose to feed babies that way, but lots of people don’t. Finger foods are great, and I’m sure he’ll make up the difference with breastmilk/formula until he’s getting more of his calories and nutrition from solid food. If he’s growing fine and enjoys eating finger foods, I don’t think you have a problem at all!

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36 Heather April 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

We love the pouches! I didn’t get in to making baby food for the first stages, but we do exclusively use organic baby food.
I first found the pouches a few years ago before they became really popular. My daughter was well past the pureed baby food stage, but I loved that there were several options of fruit/veggie combos with nothing else added so we would offer them to her as a snack or treat. We called them smoothies. When I told my ped about it she thought it was a great idea! She isn’t as in love with them now at almost 5, but there are times she’ll see one she likes in her baby sister’s stash and I’ll let her have it. It is a nice and easy way to get some extra fruit and veggies in (especially in the winter when there are less options for fresh)! :) I see the pouches in the produce section these days, but they are usually just a fruit (mostly apples). I prefer the kind that has a veggie as well and usually can only find them in the baby aisle.

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37 Elizabeth April 25, 2013 at 8:51 am

Have you had to change anything in your Cloth Diaper routine now that Mazen is eating some solid foods? I had heard that you can was EBF (exclusively breast fed) poops in with the rest of your CD laundry, but once they start eating solids you should plop the poo in the toilet or use a diaper sprayer.

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38 KERF April 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

We’ve been using the liners (these) and love them. I toss them in our diaper genie and then wash the diaper. It’s working great, and I actually prefer this poop to the EBF kind!

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39 Wendy April 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Hi Kath! I have a 5 month old daughter and I am getting ready to start her on solids at the end of May. I have really enjoyed your posts on starting Mazen on solid food. I’ve done lots of research on starting solids, but I love that I can come here to see it played out in “real life”. Thanks for taking the time to write these posts!

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