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Don't Outsource Baby Food

Trust Your Own Food For Your Baby and Toddler

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

When I had my first child, I was a chief resident at New York Hospital. I thought my life was busy before I had my son, but nothing compares to having a baby. I went back to work after 6 weeks. Truth be told, I looked forward to my childcare provider showing up at my door so that I could go to the hospital and get some rest. It was then that I realized I was NOT going to be supermom. I decided I was going to give it my all in two areas. I would try to spend as much quality time with my family as I could and I would cook as much as possible. I limited how much baby food I bought, using it only for emergencies like long trips or for nights my son would spend with my in-laws. The rest of the time my son and later my daughter got food made at home. When you really think about it baby food is some of the easiest stuff to make. 

Early on I would puree all sorts of fruit like plums, mangoes, and berries. When the pediatrician told me I could start giving him actual food, I would overcook white rice so that it would come out like a paste or sometimes I would use cream of rice. I would overcook lentils and combine with the overcooked rice. If my husband and I were having Indian curry for dinner, like for instance peas and tofu curry, I would puree the curry for my son. I would give him sambar (Indian lentil and vegetable stew) with cream of wheat. I fed him zucchini battered with garbanzo bean flour and ginger. He had spinach soup with mung bean. His stir fry had soft broccoli and zucchini. Any sauce we had with our pasta got served to him over pastina. 

My point is that baby food made by a giant company with stockholders and a profit motive is a new thing in human evolution. In the past, and in some parts of the world today, mom chews the food for the baby in her mouth first and gives the baby the prechewed food. Not only did this mean that the baby got real food but the baby got a healthy dose of good bugs from the mom. When you make the food, you know exactly what your baby is getting.  You’re not going to cut corners. You’re not going to add additives and preservatives. What you’re making is going to be fresh. 

Companies use marketing ploys to convince us that we need to buy baby food and toddler food. They make it seem like nothing we make at home will compare nutritionally to their product. But don’t forget, their business is to make money. So they have an incentive to use as little money as possible to make the food you are going to give your baby. I am especially disturbed by highly processed "fruit" and smoothies that are being sold for babies and toddlers. In actuality, making your own food for your baby and toddler will be cheaper in the long run. 

Other articles by Padma Garvey