If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle
Cooking baby food requires THINGS. Kitcheny things. Yes, yes, you have things. You are a grown-up, you have knives and pots and a stove and EVERYTHING. But how much of the food that you have cooked for yourself, your friends, and the other various grown-ups in your life has had to be in the form of mush*? Exactly.
When my son’s pediatrician recommended that I start feeding him solid foods, I panicked a little. I had thought I had another couple of months before I had to worry about that and I had no baby spoons or anything. After all, when you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you have two cozy bistros with you at all times–you don’t need to have any extra equipment so long as the milk factories are functioning!
A little frantic internet exploration and a trip to Amazon (praise be unto that website) got me the required spoons, as well as a bunch of other stuff that I’ve found to be indispensable when making and serving the mush that we call baby food. And now I’m going to tell you what it all is. Hurrah!
You definitely need:
A hand blender. Mine is by Cuisinart, and it’s green, which makes me happy. It is also the single most useful thing that I’ve bought for baby food making. I use it for just about everything.
A regular blender. Because sometimes the hand-held one just won’t cut it (see what I did there?) Also useful for making margaritas. Mmm, margaritas …
Feeding spoons. I like the plastic ones that don’t have hard edges, so they’re easier on his gums. There are bazillions of different kinds, with different features, but I use the Munchkin infant spoons. They’re pretty.
Freezer storage. Now, I’ve seen all over that people put baby food in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in zipper bags. I’ve never done that, but it sounds like as good a method as any, especially if you’re on a budget. I bought freezer storage containers that stack and have air-tight lids, and I love them. Whatever you do, you want to have a method of storage ready to go before you actually start making food for your baby, because you just can’t make an ounce at a time fresh, and that’s all your baby is likely to eat at first.
You probably need:
This thing. It’s a bowl with two sections, one of which has these little bumps that make it easy to mash up bananas, avocado, or whatever. It also comes with a spoon which has ridges on the back**, the better to mash up those whatevers. AND, if that wasn’t enough, it has a lid that you can attach the spoon to and carry it all together. Brilliant!
Bibs. I mean, unless you LIKE doing extra laundry, in which case, who needs ‘em?
High quality beer. That’s for you, not the baby. Makes cooking a whole lot more fun. Don’t try to substitute in any crappy domestic brews, though. Get the good stuff. You’re making your own baby food! You deserve it!
Tunes. My ipod now lives in its speaker dock in the kitchen. Cooking time and feeding time both need soundtracks. My son is a big Guns ‘n Roses fan. As for me, a little ’80s dance party makes chopping apples go a lot faster. If you need ideas, or you’re bored with your current iTunes lineup, there are lots of awesome playlists here, and new ones go up every Sunday.
You can do without:
A food mill. I don’t have one, and I’ve done just fine. If you must get one, go for it, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.
Baby food cookbooks. I do have one of these. Most of the recipes, especially for early foods, go like this: “Peel and coarsely chop carrots. Boil them until they are soft. Strain and puree.” Yeah. You can get that BS from this blog for free!
Any serving dish or storage container that isn’t both dishwasher and microwave safe. Do I really need to explain this one?
BPA and phthalates. This one can be a bit tricky, since you may find yourself having to do some detective work in order to determine whether or not a given object is safe for your baby to suck on and eat food from. This link has some good information to help you start.
Once you’ve got all the stuff that you need, you can start cooking and your baby can start eating! My next post will include a real, honest-to-god baby food recipe. Holy crap!
In case you to be reminded why we are making our own baby food:
*If you are a person who makes pâté and other such gourmet delicacies that might be called mush, then you are someone who ‘cooks’. You do not need to be reading this blog. Go away.
**This spoon is great for feeding until the bambino has a tooth or two. After that, he will bite down on the spoon, catching the ridges with his tooth, and good luck getting the thing out again.