Farm to Table: Homemade Baby Food

Several years ago, before Jane was even a twinkle in my eye, I decided I wanted to make my own baby food. I think my desire to do so stemmed from my odd love of the 1980s movie Baby Boom with Diane Keaton. In it, there is a scene where she is making homemade apple sauce with apples grown on her farm. For some reason, that always seemed like such a completely wholesome and fun thing to do.

I remember expressing this interest to my mom friends. More often that not their responses were that there was no way I would find time to do it once I was balancing a baby and a career. Of course, given my personality, this only made me want to do it more.

Why I wanted to make my own baby food

Fast forward to Jane’s arrival, and I had all of these new found reasons for wanting carrotsto make her food. First of all, I LOVE to cook. I felt that by making Jane’s food, I was connected to her nourishment in a way that seemed meaningful to me. Also, given our proximity to Whole Foods, it was convenient (and Earth friendly) to walk there to acquire the organic produce we desired. I loved picking out a carrot and showing it to Jane and telling her all about the color of it and describing its triangular shape and relating it to the objects she sees in her books.

Most importanly, I desired to lay the foundation for Jane to enjoy healthy and fresh food. A foundation where she would grow up appreciating produce and proteins acquired from a farmers market because she would respect the work and love and time a farmer spent growing and raising the things that nourish her body.

I wanted to create an environment where she enjoyed the same meals we were eating. So, on a night where we would have grilled chicken, roasted zucchini and an avocado, Jane would dine on pureed zucchini and smashed avocado. It was as simple as steaming a small amount of what we were preparing and blending it in the Baby Bullet.

Jane’s Favorite Recipe

1 ripe banana

1 small sweet potato

1 pinch cinnamon

1 quarter cup steaming liquid

Peel, cube, and steam the sweet potato. Add the cubes of sweet potato and the banana to your Baby Bullet/blender/food processor and puree. Add steaming liquid as necessary. When the mixture is a nice smooth consistency, sprinkle in the cinnamon and blend once more.

This will make enough for 6-8 servings.  It freezes and defrosts perfectly too.

Our journey with “adult” food

Baby Bullet Jars of Summer Squash
Baby Bullet Jars of Summer Squash

As she has grown out of the pureed food stage, we have continued to follow this process. We eat most (it has been a challenge to be home for dinner every night during tax season) of our meals as a family around our formal dining table. Before being served anything else, she receives a small plate with a sampling of what we are having. In all honesty, she nibbles here and there, but more often than not, she turns her plate over or throws what she doesn’t want on the floor.

Those are the moments when I question why I’m trying to treat her like an adult at just 16 months old. They are the moments that I want to throw in the towel and hand her a few fish sticks and call it a night. On more than one occasion, she has turned down her pint sized portion of flank steak and asparagus and become so incensed that we would expect her to eat such rubbish that she throws a tantrum in her chair that would impress any of those nannies on reality TV. By the end of her show of frustration, we are both tired and have little appetitie left. Enter yogurt. That’ll certainly turn her frown upside down.

While it hasn’t been as easy introducing Jane to dinner time as I thought it would be, I really do believe that as she grows older, she will come to know it as her norm. As she grows up, she will not find it unusual to be seated at a table with grown ups eating food prepared for her that is indigineous to the place in which she lives.  My hope is that one day she will see that a meal prepared with love is comparable to nothing else in the world.

In the meantime, we have lots of yogurt handy…

Did you make your baby’s food? What is your biggest meal time frustration? Or have you solved yours?

Feeding Journeys


  1. I did the same with Andrew until he mastered the pincer grasp and then I started baby led weaning with him. I pretty much would cut up whatever we were eating and we gave him some. I honestly think this is a big reason why he is such a good eater. He eats Vietnamese pho, bun, and banh mi, loves Japanese food, and he is a BIG fan of any typical Louisiana fare like jambalaya, red beans & rice or gumbo. I am so thrilled that he eats well.

    Granted, there are some things he doesn’t like, but overall, he is a great eater. I definitely think showing our kids where their food comes from, etc. and having them observe in the kitchen is helpful!

    And like Jane, Andrew isn’t a fan of steak either. What’s up with our kiddos? LOL

  2. I make my own baby food and I love doing it. With my first I was interested in trying it, but I feared it would be really hard and time consuming, so I assumed it wouldn’t last. Once I started doing it I realized how easy it was and really enjoyed it – and I am not a Martha Stewart, Pinterest queen, Food Network star kind of mom. It is super easy and really healthy, commercial baby food needs to be heated to over 400 degrees in order to meet requirements, causing it to loose a lot of flavor and nutrients, but homemade retains all the nutrients and flavor.

    I didn’t buy any special expensive equipment, I used my Cusiinart rice cooker/ steamer to steam the food and a hand help emersion blender to purée it. Many people store in ice cube trays from the dollar store, but I do prefer the Beeba ones. I get most of my recipes from an awesome book called “The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Plantet” or, they both have great recipess that are easy and often times not things you see in a jar.

  3. Excellent post, Jen! Loved reading Jane’s favorite recipe! Kudos to you for making her baby food, I know you both enjoyed it! LOVE that you are introducing her to dinner time at the table. We’re doing the same thing and while it has it’s challenges, I too hope that she begins to realize that this family meal time is special and a part of our bonding routine.

  4. I also make my son, Eli’s baby food. I do enjoy it as I love to cook, although I do wish there was a Whole Foods on the westbank (it would make the process a little faster for me) but even so it is easy and worth it. We also eat at the dinner table… And someone (if not all of us) ends up with food all over them. It can be a challenge as Eli is not always fond of sitting in his high chair and if it is one of those nights we usually end up listening to him cry the whole time, which breaks my heart. But we stand our ground in hopes that one day he will cherish those moments spent crying, laughing and bathing in food at the dinner table, as I cherish those moments when I was a child.

  5. I really agree with your last paragraph Jennifer. Some of my best memories of childhood with my mom are in the kitchen and the food she prepared for us. Still enjoy it, today…one of my favorite parts of going home to visit.


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