Making Baby Food Prunes

Since baby has been constipated, I’ve stuck to a rotation of sweet potatoes (thinned with water), pears, and prunes.  We’ve stayed away from bananas for awhile and occasionally done avocado.  Every day, I give him prune juice with two meals, usually breakfast and lunch (keep those bowels movin’!).  Sometimes I mix it in his food (sweet potatoes with prune juice is quite tasty) or I just feed him a bottle with it (I bought organic prune juice…there’s no added sugar).

When you make your own baby-food prunes, I have learned one VERY important tip!  Cut open each prune to look for any pits…the pitting machines don’t always get them out!!! When making prunes for my daughter, I ruined at least two batches of prunes because of a pit…the blender starts whirring away and clunkity, clunkity, clunk…little pieces of pit blended in the prunes…not for baby! or anybody for that matter.

So, I got smart…

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Here I am slicing each prune in half.  Took about 30 seconds to do a whole bag of prunes (I buy them at Vitamin Cottage…)

I am SO glad I did this.  Look what I found!  Half of a pit.

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I steam the prunes first.  Use purified water because you will need this later.

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Blend everything in your blender.  Prunes are sticky and thick, so use as much of the water as you need to from the pan you just steamed in.  The hot temperature of the water helps the prunes to blend as well as thin them a little so it isn’t like blending thick mud.

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Voila!!!

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Prunes look like, well…you know.  At least they accomplish the job they were created to do.

I freeze my prunes.  However, they are an odd fruit and don’t freeze well.  I think it’s the lack of water in them.  I still freeze them.  Even though you will find them turning into a big mush in your freezer bag, the process of freezing gave them some form, then I just take a spoon and scoop out what I need to warm up for baby. (Stay tuned…my next two posts will feature how I warm up baby food, and then how I made apples this time, which was a blast!)

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Taking a Break…from mangoes to prunes

Each food introduced to my baby goes on a four day rotation…a must.  Then we can test for reactions and any possible allergies.  Over the past three weeks I have introduced avocado, mango, peaches, sweet potato, and bananas.

Baby was more interested in eating the bowl or spoon rather than the food.

Then a bout of constipation…bananas were the culprit.  (My daughter never had any problem of this sort..so this was new.  I backed off for a couple days and solely nursed.  He didn’t seem to miss food.  And we’re still nursing often enough to meet all of his caloric needs.)

Other foods introduced before the bananas…

Peaches were too sour (when I baked them in an inch of water, the skins didn’t come off as they were supposed to…the skins attributed to the sour.  I didn’t mind blending the skins in because I had bought organic).

Avocados.  I smashed them with a fork and added a bit of water.  Organic didn’t have much flavor.  My baby boy didn’t care much for them…it may have also been the texture.

Mangoes…baby spit these up and was restless during his morning nap.  I did not attempt to try these past the first try.  [“Infant Nutrition” states mangoes are a good choice for a first food, but another site I read and referenced often with my daughter (http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/mangobabyfoodrecipes.htm) states mangoes can be allergenic.  SO, of course, I read this after his spit up. Immediately, I decided against mangoes for awhile.]

Sweet potatoes…he showed the most interest in eating these.  However, my mistake: I didn’t thin them with enough water.  Therefore, another constipation culprit.  (Lesson here: each baby is different.  My daughter ate them on the thicker side, and like I said before, she never had any problems.)

I have fed my baby boy almost the same as I did my daughter thinking it would go just the same.  I’ve learned over these past couple weeks that, even as children’s personalities are different, their tummies are different too.  I’m sure this will be true for many things as my children grow.  Being in tune with my babies…being willing to change, but most importantly being flexible and forgiving of myself is key.  I don’t think I’d consider these hiccups in feeding my baby boy as mistakes…just a lesson in figuring out what’s best, researching, trusting myself, praying for wisdom…trusting that I’ve done the best I can.  With my baby boy, I had to realize this journey wouldn’t be similar to my daughter’s.   And that’s exactly what it is: a journey.

Therefore, after a break, we picked up with foods again with…a gift from God for the young and old…PRUNES (featured in my next post…)

First Solid Food!

My journey:  Nursing is wonderful.  I nursed my daughter til she was 18 months old.  My son is 8 months old right now and I will continue nursing him as long…(I’m thinking he may not last that long…he is a flighty eater, on-and-off, on-and-off…he’d rather see what’s going on around him.  We nurse away from everybody and everything a lot).

All that to say, I also solely nurse my babies til seven months old.  That’s when I introduce solids.  I want their gut to be mature enough. (Check out the chapter on ‘Gut Ecology’ in “Infant Nutrition.”)  PS–I don’t put my babies in swimming pools until at least after they are a year old.  Chlorine can wreak havoc on their guts.  I want the best possible start for them.  Our immunity is in the health of our intestines.  Eventually, they can handle it, but I’m of the mind to keep my kids away from chemicals (in the pool, at home, wherever…as long as possible).

SO, where to start? Solids.  There’s so many foods to choose from.  In “Infant Nutrition” it’s recommended to start with fruits. Fruits are easily digested and are sweet like breast milk.   I started both of my babies on PEARS.

It just so happens that my son is starting his eating journey at the end of summer and around harvest time.  Couldn’t be more perfect!  I’ve been making a freezing tons of food!

I bought a case of pears.  I didn’t buy organic because I’ve read that pears are not a “Dirty Dozen” food.  Still, I soak and scrub the heck out of them to get residues and dirts off.

Because I had so many pears, I chopped and blended about 95% of them and froze in my baby food freezer trays.

The other 5% I PEELED for baby’s VERY FIRST food.

Pears steamed lightly. (Why steam? for baby’s very first food makes it more digestible…just remember “lightly”…they don’t need to be cooked to death).

Steamed lightly, they blend into the most beautiful, creamy-white pear sauce.

(Blended pears with skins still on, turn brown very quickly.  Keep the skins on, perfect for fiber!)

And…because I had so many pears, I blended them all up and kept them in a bowl.  I only have four freezer trays.  See how it’s turning brown, it’s ok.  Kinda grossed me out when I was making them for my daughter. It gets a think layer of brown but I stir the bowl each time I fill up my freezer trays.

Mish Mash Beginnings

Mish mash…making baby food.  Here are a few things to be prepared with: reference books, a blender (preferably a powerful one), freezer trays, a jug of purified water, gallon freezer bags, time, and perseverance.

Growing up, my mom sought the healthiest way to raise her children. She passed on a legacy of natural, healthy living. I don’t claim to be totally organic, but I strive to make the best decisions I can for the health of my family.  We are the healthiest we’ve ever been by not eating wheat/gluten.  We only occasionally eat cow dairy, and  recently, we stopped eating corn.  My own GF (gluten-free) journey could be a blog in itself.  So, with a glimpse into my background, in enters this book: “Infant Nutrition.”Image  It fits into my approach to feeding myself and raising my children.  I used it with my daughter and now with my son.  I highly recommend it.  The reading is eye-opening.  Find it on Amazon: author Mark Percival.

Another EXCELLENT resource is “Super Baby Food” by Ruth Yaron.  I reference it a ton: an alphabetized section of fruits and veggies succinctly outlines the best age to introduce, how to prepare, and how to store each food choice.  Here’s a link to her website: http://www.superbabyfood.com/

Blender: I use a VitaMix.  Well-worth the investment.  Whatever you use, remember this: blend the food to death to puree (just don’t overheat your machine).

Freezer trays: any ice cube tray will work.  Here’s what I use and love                                                              (LTray: KidCo. RTray: Beaba, which are SO easy to get the food out of)  ImageImage

Jug of purified water: I have a 3 gallon jug.  Vitamin Cottage is an easy place to fill it up.  Purified water like this assures me it will be the purest and best for baby’s tummy.  You will be adding water to some foods to thin them out, especially at the beginning of baby’s adventure learning to eat.  Also, your baby will need to start learning to take just a few sips of water after eating.

Gallon freezer bags: Ziploc is great for reusing…you’re gonna be freezing a boatload of food.

Time: you might be making food while baby is napping, prepping during dinner prep, finishing after dinner (or like me this morning, making prunes at 6 am cause, well, I couldn’t go back to sleep…)

Perseverance: making baby food is fairly easy…just stick to it.  You will be blending a lot of food, cleaning a lot of messes, but it’s well-worth the effort. Just think, you’re saving money and investing in your baby’s future.