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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Making Your Own Baby Food Is As Easy As 1-2-3!

By: Catherine Pittman © 2007

Many parents today are choosing to make their own baby food because nutritionally, it is hard to beat the pure wholesomeness that preparing foods right from your own kitchen can offer.  Making your own baby food is not only simple and convenient, but it can save you money in the long run.

There are many reasons that families choose to make their own baby food. One of the prime reasons for today’s families: Feeding your baby from your own pantry will ensure that it is free from the additives and fillers found in most commercial baby foods, and allows you the choice of using only organic and natural products. Preparing your own baby food will begin your little one’s road to good, healthy eating habits… one that will last a lifetime!

Is it expensive? Making your own baby food really doesn’t require expensive equipment or a great deal of time. You can use many of the same fruits, vegetables and foods that you purchase and prepare for the rest of your family. If you have a clean pot to cook in and a blender or food processor to puree baby’s foods to the right consistency, you have everything needed to get you started!  While some foods, such as bananas, cooked potatoes or other ripe fruits and cooked vegetables only require a fork for mashing, you may need your blender or food processor to puree other foods. 

Regular family foods prepared with salt, heavy spices, sugar or fat are never suitable for infants. It is important that you remove baby’s portion before these ingredients are added, or take the time to prepare it separately.

If you want to talk about expensive, let’s talk about commercial baby food!  What manufacturers charge for baby food is outrageous, and in reality the cost is in no way justifiable. How can they get away with charging so much? Baby food manufacturers have conditioned parents to believe that they have no choice but to buy from them. Some parents feel it is easier and more convenient. In reality, you DO have a choice, and that choice is as simple as 1-2-3!

Why spend a fortune on inferior products, when it’s easy to make your baby’s food out of the same produce that you purchase for the rest of your family?  Ever looked at the ingredients of baby food?

Most commercial baby foods contain additional fat, salt, sugar, fillers or other ingredients that are not only completely unnecessary but quite unhealthy.  These additives are an attempt to add flavor, texture or to add bulk to poor-quality products that do nothing to contribute to your baby’s health and well-being.  By preparing the foods yourself, you avoid being robbed by the manufacturers and ensure your baby is eating pure, healthy foods. You are sure to find yourself with quite a bit of extra cash to spend on all those other things that your growing baby needs when you cook your baby’s food. Your baby will reap the benefits of eating fresh, nutritional food in more ways than one!

When you prepare your baby’s food, YOU are in control! You can choose to only use organic foods, thus eliminating GMO's (genetically modified foods). You know exactly what your baby is eating, and you know it is full of nothing but pure goodness! Applesauce, for example, is easy to make from cooked fresh apples, but when you buy applesauce you practically need a science degree to decipher the list of ingredients!

Once you start cooking your own baby food, you’ll quickly come to realize just how easy it truly is! All you need is a food blender and fresh ingredients to prepare a healthy, tasty and homemade meal for your baby.  You can freeze some of your little one’s favorite meals in advance, and serve up a delicious, healthy meal in a matter of minutes every day of the week!

How does one cook baby food?  Steaming is one of the best cooking methods not only for your baby, but your entire family. It preserves the vitamins and minerals in the foods, and is easy to do.  If you don’t have a commercial steamer, simply place the foods in a steam basket, mesh sieve or colander above the boiling water, and cook them in the rising steam. For babies, cook things until soft, then puree or mash. Microwave cooking is another way to prepare foods. Boiling or simmering fruits and vegetables is also an acceptable cooking method, but will result in vitamin and mineral loss.

Okay, it sounds easy. Now you’re probably asking, how does one “stockpile” baby food? Freezing baby food is as easy as the cooking. You can pour your pureed baby food into ice cube trays, cover with waxed paper and freeze. Once frozen, simply transfer the cubes to freezer bags and return to the freezer. You can also “plop” a spoonful of pureed food on a cookie sheet or wax paper, freeze, then transfer the frozen plops to freezer bags.  Frozen baby food portions will keep approximately one month and can be thawed in a microwave at a low setting, thawed in a steamer, or by placing the plastic bag in cold water. Never thaw at room temperature.

Pureed foods do spoil more easily than other foods, so baby’s food should be used immediately or frozen for future use. If you do store in the refrigerator, do not keep it more than two to three days. If it is not used within that time period, it should always be discarded.

Most parents today would say the main reason they use commercial baby food is convenience. With their busy lifestyles, they feel they barely have time to prepare the regular family meal.  Babies can typically eat what the rest of the family is eating with very little special preparation. Just remember to remove their portion before adding salt, sugars, and most seasonings!

Once you get started cooking for your baby, you will quickly realize it is very simple to do, and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Eating delicious food is one of life’s simple pleasures, and your baby deserves to enjoy the rich flavors and textures of a real home-cooked meal as much as you and the rest of your family!

Happy cooking!

About the Author
Catherine currently resides in Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for her children's music production company, Pitter Patter Productions. The company has specialized in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten since 1992, and also produces ebooks for parents and new parents. Our children's music is available on CD at, and available for download at: CD Baby,, and iTunes.

Coming 2013... The Baby Food Cookbook Kindle Ebook.  

If you would like to reprint our article on your Blog, newsletter or magazine, please email Catherine at:  Thank you for your interest!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lullabies: The Benefits of Love Made “Audible”

By: Catherine Pittman © 2007

It is amazing to me how certain childhood memories can bring back vivid moments in time that endure throughout our lifetime. As we become parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts, we strive to create as many magical memories as possible for the children that bless our lives. My mother and father gave me one of the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for: the gift of music.

As a musician of the piano and oboe, my mother believed that music should be part of every child’s life. Her love of classical music filled our house in my early years, and she encouraged each of her daughters to enjoy music through a musical instrument or their voice. My father also encouraged music with his love of musicals and holiday music. It is, perhaps, the very reason why I came to find my “hobby” of writing children’s music and my appreciation for music of all types.

Lullabies can turn bedtime into an enchanted, magical moment, weaving a spell over your child with its beautiful sounds and words. Music has the power to stimulate, motivate and captivate little imaginations, while creating neural pathways in the brain that help determine the learning capacities for your little one’s entire life.

Can lullabies really help soothe your baby?  The answer is a resounding YES. You find music soothing, so why not your baby too?  Science has proven that certain, distinct sounds calm even the fussiest baby: nature, white noise, and music.

Even if your baby isn’t fussy or crying, using music as often as you can, will encourage a calm, peaceful and well-loved feeling. It only takes a few minutes every day to play or sing soft, soothing songs, and before you know it your baby will look forward to hearing music emanating in the nursery at bed and nap time.

There is nothing complicated about introducing your baby to music from day one. You do not need to find that perfect song or certain type of music, nor do you have to have the perfect singing voice! Your baby isn’t your critic; your little one will only think it is the most beautiful sound in the world in which he or she lives!  When you sing, it is your voice that baby finds familiar and soothing, making your baby feel safe, secure and loved is all your baby will feel and hear through the music. You don’t have to sing or play lullabies with vocals. The soft sound of instrumental lullabies is just as soothing. Think of lullabies as your love made “audible.”

There are many benefits associated with introducing and bringing the magic of music into your baby’s nursery:

§  Emotional well-being
§  Accelerates language development
§  Inspires creativity and improvisation
§  Promotes eye-hand coordination
§  Strengthens communication and expression abilities
§  Benefits your child’s development

In addition, music has been proven to improve how we perceive our visual world. Spatial reasoning helps children in the areas of math, engineering and the sciences. Bringing the magic of lullabies into your nursery will lay the groundwork for your child’s healthy intellect. It is also a powerful method of creating an incredibly loving bond between you and your baby.

Music is a very enriching and positive experience, no matter what your age. It transcends language barriers, encourages interaction with others, and can make bedtime into an enchanted time. Those magical moments with beloved melodies will remain permanently engraved in your child’s heart, soul and mind. Lullabies are the simplest of gifts you can give your baby!

About the Author
Catherine is the owner, songwriter and one of the vocal artists for PitterPatter Productions. The company has been producing it original award-winning music for children since 1992, specializing in lullabies for newborns and babies, and music for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners. All of our music albums are available on CD at our website and the songs and albums are available for download, & iTunes under artist Catherine Pittman).

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