While preparing main dishes for your family is necessary, it’s important to consider food for the non-nursing babies as well. Due to the lack of preservatives in most baby foods, it’s likely that it’s not feasible to have enough “traditional” baby-friendly foods stored in the event of survival living. It also takes up a lot of valuable storage space. If you’ve read my articles previously, then you know that I’m always trying to save space and find items that serve multiple purposes. I take the exact same approach with food. The nutritional value in baby food will deplete dramatically as it is stored, and yet in an emergency, it’s critical to ensure your child is getting the maximum nutrition in order to counteract the inevitable changes he or she will undergo. So here are a few tips so that you can easily make your own infant-palate foods from the preparedness supplies that you’ll hopefully already have on hand.
The key to success in creating baby foods is to have a non-electric hand blender/beater available. I would recommend a good hand potato masher or a potato ricer as well. These are great tools, not only for what you can prepare for the rest of your family, but for creating ideal baby food as well without electricity.
Obviously making the foods smooth and edible for the smallest tykes is a critical component of their foods. Yes, you’ll need a little bit of elbow grease to make their food, but you can typically do so from what you’re preparing for the rest of the family with some small modifications–and yes, that includes simple freeze-dried foods–Yay! After beating the food well with your blender/beater, check for smoothness. To do so just take a small amount of puree between your fingers; rub fingers together. If you feel any large particles, then be sure you keep beating the food. Junior or toddler foods should contain some larger particles, so they will require a little less blending. Also keep in mind that you can add finely ground cereals to any of your baby’s food (meat, vegetable, and fruit) to ensure appetite satisfaction and the appropriate amount of fiber. This can include rice, barley, lentils, and oats. Remember, everything should be very soft, well-cooked, unsalted for the most part and unseasoned. Also be sure that your foods do not contain nitrates in them as they are very toxic to small children’s bodies. I also strongly recommend that you do NOT use freeze-dried ENTREES as baby food as they typically contain a LOT of salt that the little munchkin does NOT need.
In addition to making baby food, it’s relatively simple to relactate in order to feed your little ones in an emergency. In the Philippines, Filipino mothers are breast feeding their children to the age of 5 due to food shortages. While I know that makes many women cringe for obvious reasons, in the event of an emergency, it may be a life saver, nonetheless. Relactating is prudent especially for young infants. Mothers who have been bottle-feeding their infants will begin to produce milk if they put the baby to breast. During times of limited or questionable water supplies or the lack of availability of baby formula, breastfeeding obviously provides safe and continuous feedings for the babies. Just be sure that the mother is eating additional nutrition to compensate for the breastfeeding.
If relactating isn’t an option for you, and your infant isn’t up to eating even soft baby foods yet (under 6 months of age), then you can make your own baby formula.
Combine 6 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk, 2 teaspoons of quality vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon of sugar (ONLY REAL SUGAR—no alternatives) in one cup of purified water (boiled, pasteurized, etc.). Thoroughly mix all the ingredients and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before serving to your child.
Here are some other baby food recipes.
Chicken Custard for Babies
¼ cup chicken broth
½ cup cubed cooked potatoes (or mashed potatoes)
½ cup cubed cooked chicken
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Place into small greased casserole dish then place in a water bath. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean. You will have two “custard-like” meals.
All in One Meal
½ cup of prepared milk (powdered or evaporated is fine)
½ cup cubed beef or veal
2 tablespoons of cooked carrots or peas
4 tablespoons of cooked rice
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Heat before serving. Makes 2-3 servings
Cottage Cheese Custard
¾ cup hot of prepared milk (powdered or evaporated is fine)
½ cup of cottage cheese (remember, this can be easily made from powdered milk)
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
Blend all ingredients together except for the nutmeg. Pour into small greased casserole dish and then sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Place casserole dish in a water bath and bake 40 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. Cool to lukewarm before serving. Makes 3 servings.
½ cup dried apricots
1 ½ cup of prepared milk (powdered or evaporated is fine)
¼ cup sugar (Note: never substitute sugar for honey or other sweeteners due to potential health hazards to the baby)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
Soak apricots in milk overnight or at least 5 hours. When ready to prepare, blend the milk and the apricots well until the mixture resembles a puree. Then add the sugar and cornstarch. Blend until smooth. Heat in a saucepan on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Makes 4 servings.
For more baby food recipe ideas, click here.