When I was in elementary school, I was a girl scout, complete with the little green dress and a sash full of badges. One of those badges was for child care. A Mom of a girl in our troop had many children, eventually nine. So, she knew the ins and outs of diapers and baby care. She had a set of boy/girl twins and they were our guinea pigs for this class. We learned to change their diapers and care for them. They enjoyed all the extra attention from our eager troop of girls.
Their Mom also taught us about feeding. She made homemade purees of fruits and vegetables, including bananas, peas and carrots. She put each of these purees into a separate bowl. Next to each fresh puree, she put a bowl of store bought baby food. She then mixed them up so we would not know which was fresh and which was jarred and had us taste them. We wrinkled our noses as we tasted the bowls of store bought baby food and enjoyed the fresh purees. Wow, what a difference. She then posed the question, "which would you rather eat?" She went on to discuss the nutritional benefits of fresh baby food.
You never know, in all the lessons of childhood, which ones will stand out. For whatever reason, this left a big impact on me. I knew I would not subject my future babies to what I perceived to be yucky jarred food. I was going to make fresh purees. While my adult lens is different than my elementary school lens, once the babies came, I was still committed to making their food. It was more cost-effective, environmentally friendly and had a fresh taste. I wanted to make them food that I would eat if, for some reason, I had to eat purees.
I took it one step further than the troop Mom. While I was pregnant, I planted vegetables in the garden that I envisioned turning into baby food purees. After work, I nurtured the plants with visions of the babies enjoying the freshest of fresh food. I followed through and made them fresh vegetable purees from the garden. I discovered that I could mix fruits with vegetables in a way that would make adults wrinkle their noses at the thought of such a combination, and the babies loved it. Carrots are sweet and livened up more bland vegetables such as zucchini. Bananas or tomatoes added a touch of sweetness to just about anything. Will these fresh purees make a big difference in the lives of the babies? No. I am a happy product of jarred baby food. Any healthy food given with love, whether it is jarred or fresh, is what matters.
What are your thoughts and experiences with baby food? What early memories impacted your decisions as a parent? Comments, as always, are welcome.