Feeding Babies the Homemade Way

For thousands of years mothers fed their babies without the aid of commercial formula or jarred foods. These two concepts, store-bought “baby food”, are completely new, historically speaking so there can’t be any real need for it.

Unless, of course, you count the corporation’s “need” for profit and the mother’s “need” for a jar of food at the ready.

But we have been taught to think that a baby’s nourishment has to be carefully calculated into an exact formula in a lab and then bottled in a factory and somehow that is safer and even accurate to what a baby needs. When it comes to nourishing our babies I do believe that mothers know best and that it’s safer and much more affordable to do it at home.

Feeding Babies Well, Historically

Here is how mothers fed their babies for thousands of years before the advent of formula and jarred baby food:

  1. Breastfeed.
  2. If you can’t breastfeed then find someone who can or feed them fresh milk from a healthy animal.
  3. Once they’re old enough and interested enough in that process of putting food in the mouth, start mashing up simple things that are essential to brain and body development – things like meats, vegetables, and traditional fats – and let them go to town with it.

Feeding Babies Well, Today

We’re all overcoming a bit of marketing and brainwashing that tells us many harmful and untrue things, one being that a scientist knows what you should eat better than a mother does. It is wrong, but it still must be overcome.

Some of the principles used historically to feed babies that still apply include:

Breast is best. Always breastfeed if you can, even if you don’t produce enough milk to completely meet their caloric needs. It’s free!

Feed them brain food. Brain development is happening rapidly for babies and small children and most of the foods that facilitate that are the ones that nourish the rest of their bodies as well. Key in this process are saturated fat, cholesterol, meat, seafood, bone broth, and fruits and vegetables (notice packaged rice cereal didn’t make the list).

Don’t feed them things you wouldn’t eat. How many of us would eat a steamed vegetable without any salt or butter on it? If we know what’s good for us, not many. So sprinkle a bit of sea salt into your baby’s puree and do not hold back on the butter.

Resources

Once we bring feeding babies back to the home, here are some resources to get you started:

  • Homemade Formula. There is a recipe for homemade formula that involves fresh milk and various fats and ingredients that make the milk easy to digest and closest to mother’s milk as possible. You can find the ingredients through a company called Radiant Life.
  • Real Food for Mother and Baby. This book can revolutionize and simplify the way you see the challenge of feeding your baby (and your pregnant self). This book is available at Cultures for Health here.
  • Baby Food Mill. Once your baby is ready to start eating more “real foods” this food mill is invaluable. I just cook up whatever we are eating, throw a bit of it through the mill, and then we all sit down to eat – baby and all. This is so much simpler, to me, than spending an entire day making batches of baby food. Obviously this isn’t necessary as a fork or mortar and pestle could also get the job done.

How do you feed your babies?

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Comments

  1. melissa says:

    Great article!! I’ve evolved my baby feeding with each successive child. With my oldest, I was a very young, single mother and she was formula fed and ate jarred baby food. I thought that was fine and normal! Then after my marriage, I breastfed our first baby into toddlerhood and fed him frozen puréed food that I had made fresh/steamed, puréed and frozen myself. He did get rice cereal and followed the “recommended” schedule of food introduction, starting at around 5 months old.

    My next baby wasn’t interested in my homemade icecube foods. In fact, he didn’t really start eating solid foods until around 10 months. At that point, he was able to eat many of the foods we were eating for our meal, so I figured I’d just skip the purée. He ate avocados, berries, whole milk yogurt, meats and eggs, not really in the “recommended” order. ;) And by then I was educated enough to skip the prepackaged rice cereal and I made my own brown rice cereal instead.

    Next baby was fed in a similar fashion – also breastfed into toddlerhood and she wasn’t interested in puréed cubes either so she got smooshed up or chopped up versions of our meals. By this time I was just learning about WAP and traditional foods, so she benefitted from some of the small changes I started making to our eating habits.

    Now I have a 4 month old who’s breastfeeding and I’ve gotten even more educated since his birth on feeding babies traditionally (thanks to great articles like these!!). We are drinking raw milk (which has been amazing for my milk supply! I’m producing enough to feed my baby, nurse my toddler, and pump milk for a friend’s adopted baby!), eating local grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, homemade butter, yogurt, stocks, sprouted/soaked grains, local in-season produce, etc. So I think this youngest chip of ours will reap quite a health benefit compared to my first attempts at baby feeding! =]

  2. I just posted about the same thing! Our first baby was fed processed (but organic) babyfood from the store. This baby (now eight months) is enjoying real foods and loving it! Thanks for the great post! If you’re interested in seeing mine, it’s at…
    http://creativechristianmama.com/real-food-for-babies

  3. Stephanie says:

    As a new mom with my first, I understood the benefits of breast feeding and was religious about it, but I was still learning about what to feed her for her first solids. I tried going organic as much as possible but it was mostly processed food at first until I figured out I could make my own purées.

    With my second child I came across a book called Baby Led Weaning. Coupled with my knowledge of eating whole organic foods, the second child’s meals ( and ours) were radically different. She started eating solids around 6 months and fed herself. No spoon feeding purée was needed. Life changing.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Making your own baby food is very simple. It’s an inexpensive way to feed your baby and can be just as easy for you as baby food in jars maybe even easier! I have personal experience in feeding my niece hence can come up with an interesting tips. Use a fork to mash soft food and then ripe bananas and cooked foods with no skins or seeds can be used. Cooked apple, white or sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and egg yolks are easy to mash.
    Jennifer Goldblum

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