It’s amazing how much food four six month olds will go through! I guess I knew that it would be a lot, but I never stopped to calculate just how much they’d eat. I can’t even begin to fathom what our grocery bill will be like with five teenagers!
To save money, I make my own baby food. And it’s easier than you would think! Sure, it’s harder than popping open a jar or tearing off a lid, but it really doesn’t take much time out of my day. And, with four babies and a toddler, I don’t have any extra time to spare!
With my first son, I used the ice cube tray method to prepare and store his food. I would cook, for example, an entire bag of frozen peas. Then I would blend it and divide it into ice cube trays, which I would stack in the freezer. Once they were hardened, I would dump the food cubes into a plastic freezer bag and label it with the food and preparation date. When I needed to feed him, I would simply defrost as many cubes he was eating — and it was ready to go!
Now, I’m currently introducing new foods to the quads. So every three to four days, they eat a new food until another one is introduced a few days later to make sure there are no allergies.
Once they got the hang of eating, they really started to wolf down their meals! I found that one bag of frozen peas doesn’t last long, especially if they eat the veggie for both meals. So, we haven’t had to freeze anything because they go through food so quickly!
As they are adding more foods to their repertoire — I’m mixing a fruit with yogurt or cottage cheese for lunch, and then a veggie with a grain for dinner — we have extra food that we can freeze for a later date. But I don’t think I’ll use the ice cube tray method because of the amount of cubes they would consume alone. I’ll use a larger container and stash one batch in the freezer with a label.
The actual feeding is a process in and of itself! We have four high chairs lined up in the kitchen. When I’m by myself, I pull in the chairs around me in a semi-circle and feed them from one bowl. The most tasking part is getting the babies in their chairs and strapping them in. The actual feeding part goes pretty fast, especially if they like what they are having. We follow up the food with some water out of a sippy cup. Then it’s clean up time, and we are done!
The biggest challenge (aside from the high chair straps, of course) is planning what they are going to eat and making it ahead of time. I have to know what I’m going to serve them when! So, I plan their meals when I plan our family’s meals. Then I can coordinate and make double the amount of green beans one night, or whatever. It doesn’t take much to make one more pot when I’m already cooking, either.
Once they are on to finger foods, they will eat what we eat, and we will all gather around the dining room table together. Until then, my husband and I quickly down some food before we feed them or right after. Then it’s on to the bath.
I hope this inspires you to make your own baby food too! It’s surprisingly easy, it’s nutritious, and it’s a more seamless transition to finger foods and serving the entire family one meal.
You can read more about Kerry’s life with quads on her blog, Quads Make It Seven.