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.