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BABY care FAMILY

Baby Food: Essentiels to Make Your Own Baby Purees

baby food

baby food
photo of my son at 7 months after a meal

Introducing a baby to solids can be challenging for new moms. After trying several brands of store-bought vegetable purees, it became clear that if I wanted my son to develop appetite and to stimulate his taste buds, I must cook my own vegetable purees. It is fun and if you do in batch, it will not require a lot of your time.

Before I gave birth, I wanted one of these fancy baby food machines. Let me tell you that you don’t need one. I bought a Beaba Babycook, read the manual and return it. My method is simpler, uses what you already have in your kitchen and would not become useless 6 or 7 months later. Talking to a few moms convinced me that a baby food machine didn’t worth the trouble, the cash and the extra counter space. Instead, I upgraded my 20-year old immersion blender for a sturdy model with a chopper attachment with lid. I never looked back.

Batch Cooking and Freezing

If I was making mashed potato and carrot for our dinner, I doubled the recipe. I froze the rest in ice cube trays. I use standard ice cubes (because I had them), the trays from KidCo and the PLASTIS ice cube trays from IKEA. If you need to equip yourself, buy two standard size silicone trays — it is easier to remove the food from them — and a few PLASTIS trays. The smaller size of the PLASTIS trays is practical for adjusting how much food you serve to your baby.

Season the Baby Food

My goal was that Zack could easily transition to what we eat for dinner. I developed recipes that fit my cooking style. For me, that means seasoning the food. Right from the start, I use butter, olive oil, onions, freshly ground pepper, ginger, fennel, and herbs to provide an array of flavour to my baby.

The Basis of my Recipes

I boiled the  vegetables in a marguerite. I tried roasting in the stove one or twice without success. I cut the vegetables in small pieces to reduce the boiling time. Each puree includes two or three vegetables that complement each other in taste and texture. I cooked them together.

I experimented a lot. Don’t hesitate to look at what inside your fridge or on your counter before you start. One of my yummiest recipe was a batch of caramelized onions that I mixed with boiled carrots. For inspirations, I looked at soup recipes. The list of ingredients triggered delightful mixes that became my signature purees.

Zack adored these recipes:

  • Ginger flavoured sweet potato and zucchini puree. I added a small potato to absorb the water of the zucchini.
  • Ginger flavoured carrot and red onion puree.
  • Mashed cauliflower and potatoes with a touch of fennel.

Have you cook any tasty purees lately? What is your secret?

Zack now eats like us. No more purees for him; in his mind, he is a big boy. He looks forward to lunch and dinner. He eats by himself and likes everything, except for eggs that he never cared for. We will never know if making his purees played a role in that but I am sure that it didn’t hurt. I encourage any mother to make their own baby purees. All you need is your pots and pans, a handblender, good ingredients and a little bit of imagination.

 

BABY care FAMILY

My Must-Have Baby Bottle Accessories | Being a First-Time Mom

must-have baby bottle accessories

Besides the bottles of your choice, these are my three must-have items if you are feeding your baby with a bottle. First, you need one or two bottle and nipple brushes. I seem to prefer the Munchkin Bottle and Nipple brush to the equivalent brush by Nuby but I can’t tell you why other than I got the Munchkin first.

I try to wash the bottle as soon as I finished feeding my son. I rinse it first in cold water, then I use the brush for a quick clean with soap and cold water. The bottles will be fully washed in the dishwasher in the sanitizer mode. You need the drying rack because plastic doesn’t dry well in a dishwasher. I bought the Boon Grass drying rack for its cool design and its two parts easy fit in my dishwasher. Since it is mostly to dry the nipples and the bottom parts of VentAire bottles, it provides me enough place. But if you are worried that it is not big enough, Boon made Lawn, a bigger version of Grass.

It took me a week to buy a bottle warmer. I did it for one key reason: time. The milk gets at the right temperature in more than half the time and you know exactly how long it will take. For that alone, it is worth every penny. I asked around and it seems that parents prefer the Avent bottle warmer. This is why we got this one.

The Baby Bottles

It simplifies my life as a parent to have enough baby bottles for one day of feeding, plus one bottle. I can wash the used bottles before going to bed. This is where the extra bottle comes handy. You keep one bottle ready to use for the night feeding or, if you are lucky like us, for the morning feeding. We bought two VentAire newborn gift sets.

I decided to try out the VentAire and it works fine with my son. I also bought 2 glass Medela bottles that we do not use them anymore. Glass bottles are simply too heavy. My son had problems with the Stage 1 nipples that came with the VentAire bottles. The Stage 2 nipples were too fast for him. After trials and errors, we discovered that the Medela slow nipple works the best for him. We were lucky that the Medela nipples fit the Ventaire bottles. Therefore, I bought several packs of Medela nipples to complete my set.

SOURCING:
+ Grass Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $16.99 USD
Lawn Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $29.99 USD
+ Avent Express Food and Bottle Warmer $36.17 USD
+ Playtex BPA Free VentAire Standard Reusable Bottles Gift Set $26.99 USD

BABY care FAMILY

My Tips on Breast Pumping | Being a First-Time Mom

my baby son

In case you did not hear, I gave birth to my adorable son two weeks ago. He is still at the hospital where he underwent a major surgery that was planned before his birth. This means that I extract and store my milk until he is ready to drink it. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you will have many questions regarding how you will pump your breast milk. Let’s me tell you a few things that you won’t find in the breast pump manual.

The Rent Vs. Buy Dilemma

Pumping two breasts at once is a must. Believe me, you will not have the time to extract one breast at a time. After careful considerations, I decided to rent a professional grade milk pump. I rented a Medela Symphony, which is the same model that they lent me at the hospital. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Regardless of the brand, you absolutely need more power when you use it 5 to 8 times a day.

Generally speaking, the Medela Symphony would enable you to pump more milk in less time than with a consumer model like the Freestyle or the In Style. I figured out that if I need a pump once the baby comes home, I could always buy one for occasional use or rent a few more months the Symphony.

Establish a Schedule

You must stay motivated to not give up. This feeling has nothing to do with your ability to produce and extract milk. It is just that every 3 hours comes often and extracting milk with a machine can be boring. Therefore, find a reason that will get you going when you feel like giving up. On the bright side, after a while it will truly become a part of your daily routine.

Here are a few tips to ease the transition. First, you can skip the night shift. When I was at the hospital, I pumped during the night. After a week of sleeping only 2-3 hours a day, I was too exhausted. With all the stress you are going through as a parent with a baby at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the medical staff encourages us to rest. The best way that parents can help their baby is to stay healthy physically and psychologically.

At the NICU, they advice mothers to extract their milk at midnight, 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, noon, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. I follow more or less their schedule. I’m so tired that I also skipped the 6:00 AM session to try to get back in shape.

Setting the Mood

Being in a comfortable environment is important. I set everything up in my son’s nursery where I sit on the rocking chair and listen to music. Plus, I can admire two pictures of him. You need to feel relaxed, especially at the beginning.

Milk Storage

I either use small storage bottles that I get at the hospital or the Medela’s Pump and Save breastmilk bags. I freeze my milk after each session.

Knowing how much a baby will drink is important to reduce waste. I mostly store 2 to 3 ounces of breast milk per container. I like to freeze a little less than 5 ounces in the bag since on average, a baby will drink about 4.5 ounces per feeding once he reaches one month old. Until that, most babies drink 2.5 to 3 ounces of breast milk in a bottle, eight times a day.

Mixed Feedings

Moms should not be ashamed if they need to supplement their breastfeeding with formula milk. This will not be an issue initially since I have a good stash. I will use my own milk for the night feedings. If and when I will run out of milk for the night feedings, formula milk can come to my rescue.