22 January 2009

How CHEAP is homemade?

Congratulations on taking the decision to prepare your own food for your baby!
By doing so, you're treating him to two of life's greatest gifts -- good health
and delicious food.
Homemade infant food may help cut food costs, and provide baby with food as
nutritious, if not more nutritious, than store-bought baby foods. Making your
own baby food will also help baby get used to foods the family eats.


Baby food doesn't have to come in jars. You can make your own at home, and it's
not difficult. Baby food is simply strained, pureed, or mashed adult food, just
a different version of the food you prepare for yourself. Three good reasons for
making your own baby food are:

You know what's in it
You can
custom-tailor the texture to your baby's taste preferences
You can shape
your baby's tastes and help her learn what fresh foods taste like.


SO the obvious is there. Its nutrious and its cheap. Not convince yet?

I took this a step further to show how much I cut cost in preparing fresh homemade baby food. I am not totally off commercial food, I use them ONLY when there is unplanned family outing of such (macam last minute kenduri ke) Life doesnt have to stop when you have babies anyway right?

Ok. This weekend, shopping at Tescos was fun - Sya actually identified the Chinese Pears and started grabbing them LOL. She knows that is "ma-mam" = food

How much will it cost you?
Two weeks worth of banana = RM5.01

Two weeks worth of chinese golden pumpkin = RM1.87+ RM2.76 = RM4.63

Two weeks worth of apples, red delicious = RM8.99

Two weeks worth of sweet potato = RM3.22

Two weeks worth of carrots (good quality from Australia) = RM2.67

Two weeks worth of fragrant pear = RM4.87

Two weeks worth of papaya = RM2.57

total spent = RM31.96

baby rice = RM6.99

commercial baby food, per jar RM2.95 (the cheapest in the market so far)

2 bottles x 14 days = RM82.60 + RM6.99(baby rice)= RM89.59 -> 2 weeks (commercial)
homemade = RM31.96 + RM6.99(baby rice)-> = RM38.95 -> 2 weeks (homemade)

you save RM50.64

For me...thats a real good bargain.

21 January 2009

A Clean Bill of Health

I wish I had this when Liya was a baby - its really easy to wash the bottles, tits and now when she is taking solid, I feel safe to use this to clean the fruits and vegetables. It helps to get rid of pesticides and impurities as well as milk fats on baby bottles.

The refill pack from TollyJoy I think the best so far. Cheaper than the Pureen. This is 900ml for RM21.90 at carrefour. Pureen is about RM23.90 for 700ml.

20 January 2009

Peachy Peach

I find it a bit unfair that DH and I have "gourmet" food and Sya doesnt. So for something really really gourmet I decided on Peachesfor Sya (the wholesomebabyfood.com says its ok as long as 4 day rule apply)

Besides, Sya's stools need a bit softening...I know that sounds gross but hey that's life.

Visit here for the full prep on peaches:

Peaches are expensive here in Malaysia unfortunately...I grew up in the UK so I had ample of a kilo of fresh peaches for the price of a Papaya in RM. These 4 babies cost me a wooping RM16 bucks....but hey that gourmet and I feel bad if I'm spending that money on a buffet and my baby is not..

First I would wash the peaches with the special vegetable & fruit liquid. Then cut them in quaters and pitted the pit.

Steam until soft and tender then reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the fruits.

Peel off skin and then place fruit(s) into food processor for pureeing and seive to get rid of any unwanted bits or skin.

You could add cereal to thicken up and after the 4 day rule, Sya actually liked it plain with banana.

Peaches are a bit duretic so go easy on them - not too much for the beginning.

19 January 2009

pa pa ya!

Sya's grandpa Atuk Rahim is a very smart man. Smart as in he is good with numbers. Infact I love going to Tescos with him becoz he economically calculates which is more worth your money's buy. Abah as I fondly call him, has a built in calculator in his head.

Suprising, he didnt come from a wealthy family, sometimes food was hard to find (my late grandpa was only a rubbertapper) but was amongs the first in his village to go to university.

I notice my grandma loves to plant fruit and veges at her back garden...so I did a little reading here and there and found that IRON played a major role in learning, memory and thinking functions. I will make a later post on this as the article I found was very very helpful.

I noticed as well that my dad had a very very personal liking for Papayas. He would squeeze some lime juice on them for breakfast. Lucky for him, he has this BOUNTYFUL Papaya Tree right at the back of his house.

My grandma also said that she had sometimes mashed them up to give them as baby food. I gave them to Liya when she was growing up, and definately she has very very good memory and thinking skills. Back then 8 years ago, I didnt have any internet access for my cause, but knew it was a good source of vitamin C.

I googled somemore (of course I live by the motto "you are what you eat") and found these

"Excellent food for children because it is important for their growth."

"It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, E, Folic Acid, Potassium, Copper, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron and Fiber!"

Because there is Vitamin C, I am not afraid about the absoption of nonheme Iron it contains.
"On the other hand, the absorption of iron from plants (nonheme iron) is enhanced when vitamin C is simultaneously present in the diet, and calcium absorption is improved by adequate amounts of vitamin D."

More on nonheme Iron and the use of Vitamin C for enhanced absorbtion here :http://ibdcrohns.about.com/cs/nutrition/a/fdairon.htm

At least now I have a pretty good reason to give Sya Papayas. And Papayas are sooooo cheap..what more reason should there be.

Last week Sya gratuated from Papaya with honours. Alhamdulillah, no allergic reaction after having only steamed papaya for lunch using the 4 day rule.

Since it is only advisable to give raw ripe papaya at the age of 6 months, I decided to steam them until they are soft for a good 3-5 minutes (not to long so that the nutrients are well kept).

I had fun with papaya definately...easy to prepare and delicious - yes I taste them, after all our kids are still HUMAN.

My version of PA PA YA!

1. Peel the skin first.

2. Cut whole papaya into half

3. The black seeds needs to be remove and the white bits needs to be scraped off.

4. Cut into cubes.

5. Steam for a good 3-5 minutes until soft. Pureed and strain to get rid of impurities and maybe big bits.

13 January 2009

Why no salt?

Can I put salt in my baby's food? This will also include the ever famous ikan bilis

I've just reviewed a good article about why we should give salt or anything salty to babies who are weaning and starting solids.

You should not add salt to your baby's food in the first year as this may damage her kidneys. At this age, your baby's kidneys are not mature enough to handle the salt loading. Besides, salt exists naturally in the foods you feed your baby.

In the first six months of life your baby needs less than 1g of salt per day, which she will usually obtain from breastmilk or formula milk. Between seven and 12 months this increases slightly to around 1g. Toddlers aged one to three years need less than 2g (this is the equivalent of 0.8g sodium per day).

To stay within these recommendations you should aim to:
• limit salty foods in your baby's diet
• don't add salt during cooking
• avoid processed foods, such as ready meals, pies, biscuits, crackers, soups, gravies, sauces, pizza, tinned vegetables, cheese, bacon and crisps, which are all very high in salt, and offer low-salt alternatives.

Foods made specifically for babies, such as jar foods and infant cereals, have a low salt content, as salt is not added during processing. These should not be confused with foods aimed at older children. These can be highly processed and have a high salt content and are therefore not suitable for your baby.

If you do choose to offer your baby or toddler high-salt foods, it is recommended that you only offer small amounts occasionally.

Salt is usually labelled as sodium on food labels: 1g of sodium is equivalent to 2.55g of salt. Read food labels carefully and aim to choose those foods with a sodium content of no more than 0.1g of sodium per 100g.

Suitable low-salt foods for your baby include fruit, vegetables and salad, plain meat, poultry and fish, eggs, pulses and milk. Whether they are fresh, tinned or frozen shouldn't make a difference as long as they have no added salt (tinned vegetables often have salt added so be especially careful to check these). Rice and dried pastas are also low in salt provided they have had no salt added during cooking. Make a habit of reading food labels, and you will soon get to know which are the most suitable foods to buy.

Reviewed by Dr Tan Siew Pin

07 January 2009

Mommy Have You Gone Bananas?

Cavendish Bananas

If you're not sure of which bananas to use, I tried Cavendish bananas (pisang montel) and they worked fine for homemade baby food.

Used the same technique as I do, but this time was just steaming. I remembered how much I love my mom's lempeng pisang (banana pancakes) so hopefully this is a good start for Sya.


Its simple, cut the bananas into small pieces, place them in the your steamer container (mine is china bowls coz they are hear resistant) and steam them until soft. Place is grinder or food mixer, adding a bit of boiling water to the desired consistency.

I strain them because bananas do contain seeds, so just to make the purees free of any particles.


05 January 2009

Freezing Baby Food In Ice Cube Trays - First Attempt

My zealous attempts at making homemade baby food for Sya has landed me to experiment the "Freezing Baby Food In Ice Cube Trays" technique. I wanted to place them in the medium size zip lock bag for easy storage but TESCOs ran out of them.

We bought some cheap ice cube trays from tesco but when I bent them, it made a cracking sound that made me jump. Not good. Must hunt for better ice cube trays.


I dream of this :


I was a bit sceptical about storing them coz I've not found a proper one with lid, so I placed them in airtight containers. Huge fan of them and they are made in Korea. They also have mini containers within the containers and Parksons had them at 50% sale when I bought them so lucky me.



As bacteria forms quickly I had to quickly transfer them onto the airtight containers. Now I must stress how important it is on the dos and donts of homemade baby food cleanliness.


Check here for more info -
Baby Food Tips and Hints - Do's
Baby Food Tips and Hints - Dont's

But all in all, this was a good atempt for a first timer.

04 January 2009

Making Homemade Baby Food - Part One

*this is especially for my friends out there who wanted to know more on how I make homemade baby food

I love Thong Sui and am not cantonese nor am I chinese.

Though I look very much chinese. I suspect its because my anchestors came from Cirebon where the great Admiral Cheng Ho travelled and some who followed settled there and a lot of people from Cirebon DO look chinese and some of our food do have that influence.

But thats another blog posting....

Anyway...again I love Thong Sui. I usually pass on local malay desert with coconut milk like pengat.

In Cantonese, Thong Sui means sugar water or dessert. However rock sugar is used instead of granulated sugar. This is because granulated sugar tend to give wind in the stomach, but rock sugar doesn’t. My mom diligently boiled barley with rock sugar when I was young when it was heaty. She also uses rock sugar for her famous pumpkin or banana pengat gula (something like Thong Sui)

In recent years I'm really blessed to have chinese friends that I mastered some art in the making of Tong Shui. Those days it was hard to find halal tong shui shop. There was this tea lady who was a master in the art of tong shui and taught me a trick or two. I got envious of the fragrant smell coming out of the rice cooker turn double boiler and told her I wanna make some on my own, using my own 'Halal' rice cooker. I love fuji apple, sweet potato or papaya Thong Sui.

But thats another blog posting....coz I'm supposed to write about my experience on making homemade baby food for my girls.

I used to steam my fruits and veges for Aliya when she started solids. But ever since learning to make Thong Sui on my own, I decided that when I have A'aesyah, I would do the same but this time I would cook them in a double boiler. I decided to do that for the same reason why people double boil Thong Sui Ingredients - because they are delicate and you dont want to water them down and lose all those natural goodness.

I bought some china wear for double boiling infront of McDonalds a few months back to use but I am still envious of the double boiler my mother has at my parents home (real clay pot you know)

Commercial baby food is expensive (RM2.95 per small jar) - I only use them for travelling purposes. Its a tideous job but I firmly believe mom's cooking is the best (air tangan ibu kata orang melayu)

The new rice cooker DH bought is deep so its perfect for double boiling.

After reading that "if you DO choose to leave the skin on, however, you should buy organic apples in order to avoid the pesticide residues that accumulate in the skin of non-organic produce", I decided to peel them unless I bought organic ones (which can blow a huge hole in your pocket). I also wash the apples with a special liquid from Pureen as well but I notice that sometimes having the skin on makes the baby food a bit bitter and my girls dont eat as much as if they know. So though my mom always say the natural goodness resides in the skin most of all, I still peel them for those reasons.

Why should i peel fruits and vegetables for my baby?
Read here

Sya (A'aesyah) has been on solid for nearly a month now. My brother and myself have a history of food allergies, Sya is lactose intolerant (she is on soy based milk) so we use the 4 day rule to introduce new food so she's had apples, pears, japanese sweet potato and carrot. This week I am trying local sweet potato (the orange type) and bananas (pisang montel).

Why the 4 day wait rule? Read more here

4 day wait rule
Avoid Baby Digestive Problems and Pinpoint Problem Foods

So this is part one of my journey so far with homecook baby food. I will write some more of my experience in later postings. Do drop a question if you have any or share your thoughts on my subject if you wish.

For malaysian mommies who are thinking of making homecook baby food (though we usually are but making an alternative to the nasi bubur that has been forced on us by our elders) - kudos! I tip my hat off as respect as I know how much hard work it takes but I purely believe you are making an EXTREMELY EXCELENT choice for your kids.
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