Making your own baby food: 5 ways to make it easier

We all dream of making our own baby food...until life gets in the way. Here are simple solutions to make it happen.

Making your own baby food: 5 ways to make it easier

Confession: We all dream of making our own baby food.

We really do want our little ones to eat the healthiest possible food, but sometime (all the time?) life gets in the way. Whether it's work deadlines, cleaning up after your toddler tornado, or that seemingly never-ending pile of laundry, our schedules fill up and purees-from-scratch fall off the to-do list.

So we made healthy baby food easy. Here are 5 strategies that simplify homemade baby food—

1. Create a cooking schedule that works for you.

Meal prepping isn’t just for the trainers in your Instagram feed! Steal their tips and make them work for your baby-food-making schedule. Pick a night where you can block off 3-4 hours (Sunday nights are often good choices to kick off the week) and spend the time cleaning, steaming, and blending all your veggies. Portion out enough for the week, and freeze what you won’t use right away. (We love these glass storage blocks from OXO for easy freezing and reheating.) Labeling each container with the night you plan to serve it will help you stick to your schedule and avoid wasting food. (Just don’t save leftovers — it’s too easy for bacteria to grow. Toss whatever your baby doesn’t eat.)

2. Test a Pinterest-loved recipe.

You’re much more likely to stick with something if you actually enjoy it, so look at your baby-food-making sessions as an opportunity to flex your culinary creativity. Get recipe inspiration online or by scouring the baby food shelves at your grocery store. If your little one isn’t crazy about a new flavor, don’t give up! This stage is all about palate training, and it can take several tries before they learn to like a new taste. Keep mixing it up until you find what works for both of you.

3. Get fresh baby food delivered + ready to blend

Skip the heavy prep and let a professional tackle the shopping and shopping! Purchase a subscription with Raised Real, a company that sends you flash-frozen, pre-portioned servings of organically-sourced ingredients you simply have to steam and blend. They even give you an all-in-one baby food steamer and blender to do it. The ingredients grow with your child because you decide how much to puree or if you want to serve whole as finger foods for toddlers. And the company was founded by Michelle Davenport, a registered dietitian with a PhD in Nutrition, so you can trust you’re giving your baby the best.

4. Take a cue from your own plate.

As those little taste buds are maturing, they won’t always need a special meal. If you see your baby start to eye what’s on your fork, consider steaming and pureeing it so she can have a taste. It’s a great way to fend off picky eating from the start, and soon (BONUS!) you’ll only need to cook one meal for the whole family. If you’re not sure about the right nutritional mix your baby should be eating, talk to your pediatrician or take a cue from Raised Real’s expertly-researched recipes.

5. Shoot for an 80/20 approach.

What’s that? We’re not expecting you to be a perfect super mom? What a novel idea ?

Rather than insisting every bite your baby gums is made from scratch, consider a compromise. Use the above tips to create large batches you can serve for main meals 80 percent of the time, but let yourself off the hook if you hand your baby a squeezy pack or a few puffs now and then. There are so many great organic options available, you don’t even have to feel bad about it.

Sponsored by Raised Real.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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