I thought solids were going to be easy.
I was wrong…way wrong.
We started Cameron on solids at around 6-months-old. At this point he was still exclusively on breast milk, that I was still exclusively pumping. Anyone who’s ever EP’d before probably knows it’s incredibly difficult. The prep…the cleaning…the timing…the “what do I do with the baby while I pump?!?!” struggle. As I was working my butt off to continue to give Cameron my best material, I felt compelled to stay consistent with healthy food options when it came time to integrate solids.
We started with the usual array of mashed cuisine (quite the delicacy), and once he conquered those I wanted to mix it up and offer him a variety of flavors and textures.
Sounds great right? Just me in the kitchen, with Cameron sitting patiently in his high chair, watching me create single-serving batches of nature’s finest puree-able foods, which I would then spoon to him with a smile. Sigh….
Ok yea, that didn’t happen. I’m a working mom, and at the time, a commuting, pumping mom, so I barely had time to feed myself. But I found a way to make it work. The secret: DIY pouches.
One of my besties worked for one of the biggest baby food brands, and had introduced me to the concept of pouches long before I ever became pregnant. Although they looked delicious, and the convenience couldn’t be beat, I knew nothing beats good ‘ole homemade, so I sought out to make my own. Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Get a pouch maker. There are several brands available, but I went with this one for it’s price, user reviews, and functionality. Some also have the option to use reusable pouches — I wanted something I could throw away and not have to clean, so I went with these matching disposables.
Step 2: Plan your blends. Before I started a “pouch sesh,” I would list out all the blends that I wanted to make. I actually took a lot of inspiration from the pre-packaged blends sold in stores, as I know those typically have to pass taste tests before hitting the shelves. Some of my best combos were:
- Green beans, greek yogurt and pear
- Cherries, corn and greek yogurt
- Mango, carrot and quinoa
- Lentils, squash and apricot
- Peas, apple and millet
- Quinoa and apple
- Barley, blueberry and apple
Step 3: Stock up. Anytime I have the option to opt for organic produce for Cameron, I go for it. For pouching (yes, I made that up), and pureeing in general, Whole Foods has a great selection of frozen fruit and vegetables that are also organic (and actually cheaper than other stores). As you’ll see in step 4, frozen is awesome because the less prep work, the better.
Step 4: Puree. Now that you’ve got all your materials, it’s go time! I would typically start by cooking batches of the frozen food (usually as many as I could steam at a time on the stove), then puree each in it’s own bowl (I used a hand blender, and just rinsed it between each food). This process can take a while if you’re making a lot, so sometimes I would puree everything, store it in individual bowls in the fridge, then save the pouching for the following evening.
Step 5: Pouch! Depending on which tool you decide to use to do your pouching, you can either layer your purees on top of each other, or blend them all together (I chose to layer, because it made the pouches prettier — I deserved that). Word to the wise, don’t force the food into the pouch! It’s not pretty when it explodes back in your face…and your hair…and the white blouse you decided to wear without thinking it through.
Step 6: Store. My favorite part about the pouches is their freezability (yea, I made that up too). Over the course of about two nights, I would try to knock out about 40 pouches to freeze. Then I would pull a couple out the night before to thaw in the fridge, and they’d be ready for the following day. I packed them in Cameron’s daycare bags, we used them while traveling, took them to Disneyland, and they were great for babysitters. Plus, you can get these awesome spoons that attach to the end, that way you can just feed directly from the pouch!