Healthy Kids

Baby Food and Baby Led Weaning with Your Slow Cooker

As ya’ll probably know if you’ve been around here awhile, I did a couple of baby food making things, but then I quickly chucked that idea and did baby led weaning. I just don’t have the patience to spoon-feed a baby. When I was a nanny, it was the most annoying part of my day. The clean up was a drag, too.

Baby Led Weaning is the lazy way to feed your baby and actually has a lot of benefits: baby learns fine motor skills, learns to listen to their bodies wisdom and cues about when they are full and gives them some independence and personal power. But if you are set on feeding your baby pureed food, which by the way is totally great and fine if you are into it, you may be the type who wants to make your baby food so you can control the quality and the cost of the food.

Organic jarred and packaged baby food and get expensive fast. 

There are all kinds of contraptions on the market, and some are really nifty and work well. This is a one-step baby food maker that I like.

But since I have an on going love affair with my slow cookerand since you are here, you probably do, too. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I think the easiest way to make baby food is in your slow cooker!

If you want to do pureed food but don’t feel like or have the time to make extra, specific baby food for your baby, the absolute simplest thing to do is make a regular slow cooker freezer recipe and puree a portion of it with an immersion blender or a magic bullet type thingy.   This way you have made dinner for everyone, you serve them up like normal and then you puree a portion for your baby and spoon feed them.

My slow cooker freezer recipes are all gluten free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and egg free so they are perfect for babies (some do have honey so swap the honey out for something else or omit all together because you can’t give a baby less than 12 months honey), since they are free of common allergens and hard to digest foods.

I wouldn’t use a slow cooker freezer recipe as baby’s absolute, very first food. I would do egg yolk, or mashed up banana or avocado if you are JUST starting out (remember grains are the worst possible first food for your baby). But once your baby is used to solids, you can introduce meat and veggies pretty quickly and start doing slow cooker recipes. If you want to make specific baby food without using a slow cooker recipe, just dump whatever combo of fruit and veggies your baby likes into your slow cooker, make sure the slow cooker is 3/4 of the way full, cook it for 4 to 6 hours on low, and puree when it’s done. Spoon out the puree into small portions.

If you want, you can add breastmilk to the baby food to make it taste more like what they are used to and help with digestion. Also, be sure you are giving your baby probiotics and enzymes if you aren’t already. Most babies born these days have compromised digestive systems to start with and need all the help they can get digesting their food, once something other than breastmilk gets introduced. You don’t need to add water most of the time, but if you want to make it a thinner consistency add 1/4 cup of stock or water till you get to your desired consistency. Season them as you would season them for yourself, salt and pepper for veggies and then whatever combos you want to change it up. Introducing your baby to as many flavor combinations is helpful in making them a less picky eater later on. When you are making baby food, I would do it on a weekend when you are home so you can really watch it and make sure it doesn’t overcook.

Speaking of storage, there are five million different types of baby food freezer containers, just get ones that are BPA free, have lids, and stack well.

So what do you think? Sounds easy right? Have you ever tried making baby food in your slow cooker and have some tips to share as well?

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  • Ashley
    September 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Great post Stephanie!
    I am in the baby food making stage right now. I was steaming everything, but the last two batches I made in the slow cooker and put on while I went to work. My only worry was/is that I cooked it too long – by time I make it home with the little one from daycare, it is a good 9 hours, so it cooked on low for 9 hours. My cooker doesn’t have a timer on it (just warm, low, high). I cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker then deboned it and mixed it with sauteed cherries and plums (sauted in coconut oil). Then another day, I threw a t-bone steak with zuchinni, squash, sweet potato and green beans all in the slow cooker and then just pureed that with sauteed plums. Sadly, if I don’t add a fruit, he will not eat it.
    I am looking for better canning options because right now I use the old fashion mason jars wiith the two part lid and that is just a pain to clean. They have the nice glass ones from Wean Green but those are $$$.

  • Mellissa
    September 14, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    I’m in love with making purées and I happen to enjoy the heck out of feeding my daughter. What’s also fun is seeing what random food I can get her to eat, and watching my mil cringe at the idea of diapers it will create! Lol. I had never thought about skipping grains until following your blog, but we’ve have yet to introduce them and I’m really happy about that decision, so thank you! I’m also a huge fan of your freezer meals and use them at least once a week in the one day a week both my husband and I work. They are a lifesaver! I haven’t tried pureeing them, but I will definitely try it now that we are past the single ingredient intros. I have used my slow cooker to make her meats… Lamb shank with the bone/marrow, skinless turkey and chicken theighs, to make their own bone broth to purée with after cooking. She loves it! Thanks for the post!

    • Stephanie
      September 15, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      Awesome Mellissa! That is so great to hear!

  • Ashley
    September 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    You slow cooker recipes have changed my LIFE! With my daughter I bought all the expensive food, but with my son I have used these recipes. He loves them! The big perk is because of all the different flavors I notice he isn’t as nearly as picky as she was. I scoop out some of the food put it in a blender and freeze it in ice trays!. It is so easy and I send it to daycare and they warm up the food for him! Again thank you so much for the recipes that have definitely been a God send for me and my family since we have given up processed junk and I don’t nearly spend as much money.

    • Stephanie
      September 17, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Ashley! Thanks so much for sharing. I get so discouraged sometimes that all the energy I put into this blog and sharing info is for nothing, comments like yours truly keep me going. Lots of love to you.

  • Nic
    September 19, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    Hi! mamablossom from instagram here. I’m just starting to offer my 6 month old her first solids…avocado, banana and sweet potato so far and she’s doing beautifully (so glad they were the ones you suggested!). I love baby led weaning, it just seems so natural. Egg makes a lot of sense as a first food but as my 2nd daughter was allergic until she was 3 I’m holding off.

    • Stephanie
      September 19, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Hey MamaBlossom! That makes perfect sense, good thinking.

  • Anne-Marie
    October 9, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    This is brilliant! I have reusable pouches for when we are on the go, and this sounds like a great way to make sure the fruits & veggies get broken down enough for my babe to get all the nutrients without losing any to the cooking method. Add our immersion blender and some yogurt, and we have a great replacement for store-bought pouches. LOVE! I think we’ll do apple/pear tomorrow, in fact (they are about to go bad, and we stuffed ourselves full today). 🙂

  • Sandy
    September 18, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    great article!
    I am going down the baby led weaning road with my daughter as she rejects anything purée to the point of gagging on it. I by no means agree with it being “the lazy way” I still have to prepare meals and love trying her on new foods. I think it is a more personal more family orientated way of feeding as we are able to enjoy food together as a family.