Making My Baby's Food Isn't Just A Hobby, It Helped Me Heal

Ad failed to load

When I had my second child I was determined to breastfeed. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I had a breast reduction when I was 17, and I was unable to breastfeed my first baby due to low milk supply. So believe me when I say I was acutely aware of how difficult breastfeeding can be. But that knowledge didn't save me from the surprise, or the pain, of realizing that formula-feeding would be the best choice for both me and my child, though. Five weeks attempting to breastfeed, and ultimately turning to formula, left me grieving an experience and connection I truly believed I could enjoy. I also didn't know that making my own baby food would help me come to terms with formula-feeding and, essentially, give me the closure I was missing.

Like many babies, my daughter started solids around six months. I considered my options. While the jarred baby foods available to parents have improved substantially, there's no denying the growing popularity of making your own. And while it didn't cross my mind to do so with my son, after reading about the benefits of making your own baby food and experiencing the heartache that is wanting to breastfeed but being unable to, I set out make my own food for my daughter. I was surprised by how excited the entire process made me feel. In a way, I was involved in providing her food again. I was taking back something I lost when I couldn't breastfeed.

Ad failed to load

I started with Pinterest and pinned as many simple recipes as I could. My sister gave me a bunch of reusable containers designed for baby food, but I found that any old containers would really do. I considered a baby food maker but found that my food processor and/or blender would do the trick. Since my daughter's pediatrician said my partner and I could introduce solids when our daughter was between 4- and 6-months-old, I started paying attention to her hunger cues in order to determine when she would be ready for my home-made purées.

In a way, I was involved in providing her food again. I was taking back something I lost when I couldn't breastfeed.

Thankfully, it didn't take me long to realize the entire process wasn't nearly as overwhelming or complicated as it may seem. I didn't need to spend a lot of money in order to make my daughter's food, either. While advertisements for certain products designed to help parents make their own baby food would tell you otherwise, all I really needed was a blender and some storage containers. I would make big batches at once, labeled the containers with dates, then froze what I wasn't going to use that day. Little by little, and as my freezer filled with baby food I made myself, I started to feel as though I was gaining more and more control over what was going into my daughter's body.

Ad failed to load

Studies highlighting the benefits of homemade baby food didn't hurt, either. In fact, a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, explained that babies who are fed homemade baby food have a much more diverse diet and a lower fat mass than the babies who ate store-bought foods. Lead author Dr. Elise Mok of the Research Institute at McGill University Health Center and the Montreal Children's Hospital said, “The results could have implications for preventing obesity and chronic diseases associated with poor food choices." While I absolutely believe fed is best, the benefits of breastfeeding can't be denied, making my daughter's food provided me with a feeling I, honestly, lost when I made the switch to formula: that I was giving my daughter the very best.

Little by little, and as my freezer filled with baby food I made myself, I started to feel as though I was gaining more and more control over what was going into my daughter's body.
Ad failed to load

Being able to do more than just scoop, pour, and shake store-bought cans has helped me defy the idea that I wasn't a "good" mom because my body couldn't produce enough breast milk. In a way, making organic baby food has provided another level of bonding in my daughter’s and my feeding experience, and I’m enjoying it every single step of the way. There's something so satisfying about learning what my daughter's likes and dislikes are — the textures she loves and hates — and automatically knowing when she's full. The level of involvement necessary to make organic baby food has helped to reassure me that I’m a good mom and that I've still got this, my ability to breastfeed be damned.

After watching my plans to breastfeed change, and adapting to formula-feeding while simultaneously saying goodbye to the hope that I would be able to nurse, it's safe to say that making my daughter's food goes way deeper than just making sure she's fed. It's helped me feel a part of her feeding experience again. It's ultimately brought me even closer to my daughter, and made mealtimes more fun for the both of us. I don't think, as a parent, you can really want anything more.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

5 Parenting Habits That Increase Your Chances Of Successfully Potty-Training Your Child

From starting solids to learning to walk, every childhood milestone presents its own unique set of challenges — but this is especially true of potty training. Indeed, the very thought strikes fear into the heart of many a toddler parent, particularly…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Getting Pregnant Might Mean Losing The Plus-Size Body I Love

For the last two years, I haven’t been my body’s biggest champion. I’ve gained 50 pounds. The stress of helping a parent get sober, a house purchase, and a new job got the best of me. But now, at 36, with talks between my husband and I about having a…
By Loren Kleinman

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger