Thrifty Mombie: DIY Baby Food

I don’t know about any of you but I taste absolutely everything before I give it to my kids, and I mean everything – formula, baby food, teething gel & cough syrup.  You name it, I’ve probably tasted it, and if it tastes gross then I do not give it to my kids.  My hubby thinks it is disgusting and cringes at the thought (not so adventurous with the flavours).  When my sisters and I were kids, one of them decided that my mom’s go-to syrup for coughs or flu or whatever would be for ever more known as “Hippo Spit” – and no, we have no idea why it would be Hippo spit over any other animal’s spit, but that was that.  We have spoken about it a few times over the years, and none of us can even remember what the syrup was actually called but we think it was purple.

Anyway, let’s get back to the actual point of this post – Baby Food.  I find the store bought ones quite salty and most of them are very artificial tasting.  So, when Paige was born I decided that I would make her baby food for at least the first year of her new life.  It went quite well but since then I have seen a few fantastic (and easy) ideas for making and storing DIY baby food, and I would like to share them with you.   I have even included a few quantity breakdowns to help with how much raw produce you will need to make a certain amount of puree.

DIY Baby Food - Fruit & Veg

Supplies:

  • chopping board and sharp knife
  • steamer – I have a BPA free microwave steamer but also use the double boiler pot system (whatever works for you)
  • blender – I have a stick blender which is easy to use and clean
  • ice trays – each ice block is equal to about 1 Tablespoon
  • zip lock bags – or any other storage containers that work for you
  • fruit and veg produce and water
    • Note: I started with butternut, pumpkin, apple and peas for my kids and then slowly added variety. There are some great charts that help guide you with what foods to start and when – I used one from Design-Kat for both of my kids and found it very useful.  I stuck it on the inside of my pantry cupboard door and made notes when I tried a new item.  You can download it yourself – Design-Kat: Weaning Chart

How to:

  • peel, core (if neccessary) and chop your produce
  • add water to base of steamer container and place chopped produce in top, then cover with lid.
  • microwave on normal temp for anything from 10 – 20 minutes depending on the produce and the amount. you will need to guess-timate the first few times and maybe check after 10 minutes then put in for longer if required.
  • Remove when super-soft in texture and let cool – remember to keep the water used for steaming
  • Place steamed cooled produce in blender cup and blend, adding some of the steaming water a little at a time to get desired texture (ie: super smooth for first foods and slowly leaving more and more texture as baby gets bigger)
  • scoop blended produce into ice trays and cover with tinfoil then place in freezer over night
  • pop out solid blocks then pop into a zip lock bag with contents and date written on bag
  • store in freezer

It is pretty quick and easy and I can usually chop, cook and blend a batch of fruit & veg in about an hour or two – enough to last 1-2 weeks.

I’ll do a few separate posts with more variety as I go, but for now, here are some quantity guidelines that I have noted when making the basics:

 

1. APPLE 4. PUMPKIN

3. PEAS

Just one last note.  I do not add anything to the produce (ie: salt, pepper etc).  If steamed in a small quantity of water, with water used during blending then the purees retain a huge amount of their flavour and actually taste pretty great.

If you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment, and stay tuned for the next installment when I share more guidelines for other foods.

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Sleep is a Luxury

Okay,  so I’m not actually hallucinating…but I could be.

I am now 33 weeks preggers with our 2nd bundle and our first (little Miss Paige) is turning 2 years young in 2 weeks.  Not exactly sure where the last 2 years have gone but they seem to have whizzed past like The Flash (Marvel Comics).

This amazing miracle of a little boy (to be named James) growing in my belly is head-butting my insides so darn hard that I wake up at all hours, literally in pain.  When he does his signature right hook punch, my belly bulges at such an odd proportion that it looks like something from a sci-fi movie is about to burst from the side of my abdomen.  It is actually quite freaky.  He has been ‘sitting’ much lower than his big sister did at this stage and my hips & pelvic bones feel like they are going to shatter when I get up in the morning,  and don’t even get me started on the sudden increase of loo visits during the night – I’m pretty sure he does his own rendition of Lord of the Dance on my bladder.

I remember being a bit pooped towards the end when I was pregnant with Paige, but it is quite different this time around. I am SO TIRED all of the time!

I wake up in the morning (after a restless night of re-positioning and loo excursions) feeling what I can only describe as death warmed up, get dressed, pull myself together, slap on some make up, and a little more to cover up the bulk-buyer shopping bags under my eyes, pack a lunch then off to work.  I yawn all through the day, while doing my best to get through the daily deadlines I have given myself so that I am on track to hand-over when I go on maternity leave at the end of Feb (fear sets in at how soon that is).  Routine for hubby & I in the evenings (with weekends being a little more lax of course):

  • Start: around 17h30-18h00
  • Heat Paige’s dinner (I bulk cook this once a week and freeze in portions)
  • Paige sort-of-feeds-herself while I start our dinner and Terry feeds the dogs, and then between us we attempt to help Paige finish whatever she has flicked out of her bowl onto the table and in her hair etc
  • Terry bathes Paige while I continue with our dinner and lay out her pjs etc
  • Terry attempts to dress Paige in aforementioned pjs
    • scenario 1 – while she streaks up the passage and jumps onto her/our bed to hide between the pillows in a fit of giggles and then lies happily for Terry to nappy and dress her (20% of the time)
    • scenario 2 – while she streaks up the passage and Terry has to get her out from under the dining table, pick her up and put her on her bed while she kicks and screams and thrashes around like a fish on a hook (80% of the time)
  • We eat dinner
  • Heat bottle for Paige
  • Chill time together
    • scenario 1 – Paige sits with us quietly with a book or soft toy and slowly relaxes to the point where we can put her to bed calmly and peacefully (anything from 5-20 minutes)
    • scenario 2 – Paige leaps on and off of our laps, finds the one noisy toy that we missed during evening pack up, proceeds to bang it on the table and the couch and our heads, drops it on the floor, starts to cry because she dropped it and it is now lying one step away from her, leading to a tantrum of dramatic proportions, we ignore her and let the tantrum run its course until it boils down to a simmer, one of us scoops her up to calm her down until she eventually chills out and falls asleep (anything from 10 – 90 minutes)
  • Terry and I start watching a series that we previously recorded but then probably fall asleep, wake up long after it is over, go shower, then go to bed.
  •  Repeat the next day

I am truly so excited for the arrival of our little James, but oh my heck I am also petrified.  Paige is a busy toddler now and wow she can be hard work, and very soon we are going to have 2 to care for.  When I was preggers with Paige there was no one else to care for so I could relax and have a nap if I needed to.  And after she was born I could occasionally catch up on ‘Zzzz’s’  while she slept during the day.  How does one catch up on sleep with 2 little monkeys on different eat, sleep, poop schedules?

I know people have been doing this since forever, and I regularly remind myself that it will be fine, we can totally do this – BUT, my social life, personal grooming standards and time for myself to do hobby stuff and blogging are basically non-existent already, what is going to happen when there are 2 rugrats streaking up and down the passage after bath!

Seriously though, we made the choice to start a family, and I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever.  My amazing husband helps with everything that needs to be done around the house, and with Paige duty so I cannot even begin to complain.  These little buggers that we sacrifice so much for – I can’t imagine my life without them.

So we will just remind ourselves every now and then that “we made our bed, so now we must sleep in it”…or not, it depends on how soon baby James starts sleeping through the night.

(long, loud yawn)

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The Move to a Big Girl Room

Kiddie Movers (main pic)

About 2 months ago, Terry and I decided that it would be a good idea to start the process of moving Paige into the second bedroom and into a toddler bed.  We will need the cot for the new baby mid-March and would rather have one change at a time for Paige.  I have read horror stories about how some kids just do not adjust well to change and completely regress when they have to change rooms, or move into a toddler bed, and when a new sibling arrives.  I must be honest that it was a concern for me if too much changed for Paige early next year.

So, I looked around and got pricing of bed styles that I liked, and weighed the pros and cons of going for a toddler bed or just jumping straight to a single bed – we decided on the latter.  I found a small company in the Midlands area that make cottage style furniture from solid pine and they were actually cheaper than the popular Durban manufacturer, even with the additional delivery charge from the Midlands to Durban.  We placed our order and waited…and waited…and waited.  It took about 21 working days, which is a long time waiting in anticipation, and the communication skills of the staff were well below average.  BUT, the bed was delivered to us on 19 October and it is GORGEOUS!  Exactly what I had hoped.

We put her new linen on the new bed, hung the new curtains, and moved her play mat and toys.  We had already discussed and decided that we would start Paige off small, putting her in her new bed, in her new room, for her midday naps for the following week, and then we would start her at bedtime over the weekend (in case there were midnight wakings followed by scared screams).

Well, Paige was having none of this.  She slept so well for her first nap in the bed, that the next day she proceeded to tuck herself in for her nap, while our amazing nanny looked on in surprise.  The second night was the one, and when we said to Paige it was bed time she ran straight to her new room and climbed into her new bed, instead of going to her old room where the cot still was.

She loves her new room, and more than that, she seems to really LOVE her new bed!  No adjustment issues, no anxieties about waking up in a new room – nothing.  I think she adjusted better than we did.

You know how silly we first time parents can be, fretting about certain things because you are petrified of the unknown.   All the time spent “Googling” tips on how to handle the transition from cot to bed so that it was stress free for all concerned – what an utter waste of time.  Paige has, once again,  proven to be a tough little cookie, and she really doesn’t seem to be bothered by much.  She takes each new challenge in her stride and just adapts to her surroundings.  Terry and I adapt quite well to change, so I don’t know why we thought that she would be any different.

Anyway, it has been 2 weeks since the bed arrived, and she has made the room her own quite quickly.  All it took was a little Hurricane Paige moment for all of her toys to be blown around the room in a whirlwind mess.  She know where everything is and doesn’t even glance into her old room anymore.

The decor of her new and improved Big Girl Room is still a work in progress but it is looking lovely so far and I am so pleased with how everything is coming together.  It is bright and fresh and girly, and is adaptable for her to grow into her new environment.  We still have a few key bits and pieces to do but a little each month is easier on the bank account (I know you know what I mean).

I want to share a few of the DIY plans that we have in mind, so stay tuned for that.

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