Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baby foodie: Lawrence mom makes son’s meals from scratch — sometimes

August 17, 2010


One thing I was sure, SURE I would do when I was pregnant was make my own baby food. I’m sort of into cooking, so I figured it would be a total snap to whip up culinary masterpieces to tempt my baby’s palate. I wanted him to grow up appreciating good food, with a wide repertoire of things he would eat. Also, I thought it would be much healthier and more pure than anything I could buy in a carton or jar.

Here’s the reality. We do the jars. A lot more than I ever would have hoped to.

There are some things I still make from scratch. I make a mean applesauce and freeze it in individual cubes. I pureed a whole baking pumpkin so we’ll have those cubes for surviving during the apocalypse, it made so many. I’ve steamed and pureed carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach. But feeding him strictly food made by my loving hand proved trickier than I anticipated.

For starters, I’m busy. I work full-time and I cook at least one meal a day for my husband and myself, and if I’m honest, I just don’t have it in me to plan something to puree for baby on a regular basis on top of my other household chores.

Also, my baby goes to the sitter three days a week. I can’t really be dragging frozen food cubes over to her. And there’s eating out and traveling. Frozen food cubes don’t travel well. Jars do.

The other thing I have noticed is that I can actually offer my baby a better variety of things if I feed him some pre-made baby foods. I couldn’t really puree peas or green beans for him when he was tiny and needed smooth foods. They have skins that I wasn’t sure would ever smooth out like the peas in the plastic tubs that Gerber makes do.

Now that he’s bigger, it’s easier. We can usually give him some bits of what we’re having, and I keep things on hand that he can pick up on his own. I can cut up a banana or offer him some noodles or frozen peas (he loves them when he’s teething). He can eat a blueberry or a cracker or some smooshed-up beans. But sometimes I still revert to the Gerber toddler food, because I worry about protein. Somehow, the meat (can we really be sure it’s meat?) in those toddler meals is palatable to him, but if I give him a bite of turkey he chokes and gags and acts like he can’t swallow it — no matter how small I chop it up.

Yeah, those Gerber people do sort of know what they are doing.

Gerber makes “organic” products, and while I’m not completely sure what that means, it makes me feel a little better about what I’m giving Johnny, if I’m not going to be able to give him something I bought at the farmer’s market for every meal.

Letting go of the “only homemade food” ideal was hard for me, but it falls under the category of “Things I Do To Survive.” My advice to moms everywhere, my mantra, really, is this: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.

We can’t be super-mom every minute. We can’t work, keep perfect houses, be playing developmental games with our children, cooking three different organic meals from scratch, recycling, hanging the laundry out to dry, and wearing heels and pearls all the while. Some things, sometimes, have to give. And guess what. Your children? They’ll survive. They’ll even flourish.

And they’ll be happy, growing up with a mom who knows how to prioritize, and hasn’t worked herself into a padded cell.

So to the people at Gerber? I say a hearty “Thank you.” You’re a real winner, in a pinch.


deputyfife 7 years, 10 months ago

Two comments --

1) The author clearly puts herself and her husband over her baby if she's fine with making a meal for themselves every night but not her child.

2) This smacks of a covert advertisement for Gerber - what a load of crap.

It's really very easy to bake a bunch of fruits and vegetables at once, puree them (and peas work great regardless of what the author says), and freeze them. In just a few hours we can make enough food to last our son almost a month. And frozen food does travel very well as long as your trip is less than 5 hours away.

This is laziness at it's worst, and I question the legitimacy of this article.

momof2ku 7 years, 10 months ago

You need to get a grip. I can absolutely relate to this gal. As a busy working mom one can only do so much.

Megan Green Stuke 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe you misunderstood. I'm sorry I'm not clear. Sometimes I can't make food from scratch for ANYONE in my house, myself included. Sometiems I get dinner for mom and dad on the table and open a jar for baby. Sometimes I make for baby and mom and dad forage.

My point is this: bought baby food (I happen to use Gerber because the consistency is better that onther brands) is an okay option. If you look at the ingredients, the Gerber beans say "beans, water". Can't go wrong with that.

That said, I do make a lot of his food, and try to do my best. I believe that a sane mom (who opens a jar from time to time) is better than an exhausted, crazed, unhappy mom (who makes every last drop from scratch).

Thanks for your comment.

mom_of_three 7 years, 10 months ago

Did Andy take your bullet away?
I don't think she puts overself over her baby at all. She admits she can't do everything she wants to do, like many working mothers. We have no idea of her job or her schedule.
And Gerber has made food that kids have grown up on for years!

Meryl Carver 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree that it's a lot easier to make things from scratch than most people think, but the rest of your comment is a little harsh there, deputyfife.

First of all, I don't think having a child means you have to put it's every whim before your own needs. She's a mother, not a martyr. And having a nice meal with your husband is, generally speaking, good for a marriage. If we're choosing what's better for baby, a happy home easily beats homemade-food-at-every-single-meal.

Second, I believe in eating well/local/etc. to the point that I have my own flock of chickens, but even I open a non-homemade jar or can a few times a week for myself. While for now it's just me and the hubby, I assume that when we have a kiddo he'll eat pretty much as we do--mostly homemade, but with the occasional convenience food thrown in for sanity.

Last, I don't think comments like yours do anything good for encouraging people to do things like make their own baby food, can, garden, etc. If a new mama starting out has to make everything from scratch to meet the approval of us make-it-from-scratch folks, she's just as likely to get frustrated and chuck the whole experiment. I'm much more willing to give her credit and encouragement for trying.

number3of5 7 years, 10 months ago

I raised 5 children. They ate from the table with us. I did use the Gerber/Heinz baby foods for pudding and fruits I could not afford in quanties enough to puree. I did not like to freeze cubes of food, because they tasted off. When I had children that were too small to chew for themselves, I chewed up their food and then fed it to them, as all of our grandmothers did. A blender worked great for most foods, even chicken and turkey.

Megan Green Stuke 7 years, 10 months ago

Thanks all, for the great comments.

We all do our best. I hoped this article would serve as a support for all the moms out there who are, every day, doing their best, by their whole families.

Megan Green Stuke 7 years, 10 months ago

Also, you might check out this post wherein I show my process for making baby food. I do encourage people to try to make from scratch, when finances, time, and practicality permit.

StirrrThePot 7 years, 10 months ago

I prepare food for my 7-month old as well as use the jarred stuff. I also work full time, and with two bigger kids in the house as well that is what works best for my spouse and I.

A couple of examples--I will steam fresh carrots and puree in the blender with a little bit of water. I will steam and puree frozen squash too. mixing foods with some rice cereal has worked well for us particularly with the foods like peas and sweet potatoes. Mixing applesauce with pureed fresh bananas has been a hit with all 3 babies.

Great article with some good advice, thanks!

storm 7 years, 10 months ago

I'd give up something else first because making baby food is both convenient and easy. Plus, your child's palate doesn't get trained on procesed food which eventually leads to being overweight. Is this an infomercial for Gerber?

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