Special Guest Blogger: Traveling with Homemade Baby Food
As I was packing up for the first camping trip of the season, my twins came in to ask if I have already put the apples and the cheese in the cooler. Ha, I haven’t even gotten around to packing the food yet but don’t worry, the apples and the cheese will make it into the cooler. I had offered to do this guest post a few weeks ago and I wanted to make it about traveling with homemade baby food and feeding your baby when away from the house. Now as I sit to write, everything but the food is packed and my mind is wandering back to the first camping trip we took the twins on, they were only 7 months old. What a difference a few years make!
Prior to that first camping trip we had only taken the boys out to eat in a restaurant a few times. For most of these restaurant experiences, the boys were not yet eating solid foods. It was so simple to just cozy up in a large booth and not have to worry about feeding time. When the boys began to eat solid foods, we began to get creative. You see, it is not difficult to feed your little one homemade baby food when you are away from the house, it just takes some extra planning and a little preparation. Here are a few tips that I hope you will find useful for all your dining out experiences whether they be in a campground or at a restaurant!
First and foremost, don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need, wherever you are. If you find yourself at a restaurant and you have forgotten your container of homemade food (or even jarred food!), ask for fruits and veggies. I have forgotten to toss the food into the diaper bag so I do speak from experience; at least I remembered to pack the extra diapers and cloths. Ask the server for a banana, an avocado or even a plate of steamed carrots or broccoli for your tiny diner. You will be surprised to find that the majority of restaurants are happy to oblige you. If you have an older baby, a variety of fruits and veggies might just make the meal more fun and keep help keep baby busy as he explores all the foods. All you need is an extra plate and your fork and you can mash away a tasty meal for your little one.
When you are traveling with your baby you will have to do some preparation such as plotting out how many meals you will need to feed your little one.
Camping: On our first camping trip, we camped for 5 days when the boy were 7 months old. To get to our destination required a 5 hour car ride so I packed a smaller cool with a few thawed food cubes and kept this in the car. When we stopped for lunch, the boys had lunch too. I put a stash of frozen baby food cubes that I had prepared ahead of time into our “freezer” cooler. This cooler was the big one that had more ice than Antartica! We used this to store all our meats and other perishables. I double bagged the cubes so that there was no chance of “cross contamination” with any thawing foods. During the camping trip, I would take out a few cubes from the big frozen cooler before we went to sleep and put them into the smaller cooler so that the cubes would thaw out a bit. We fed them solids twice a day so by lunchtime, the cubes were thawed and if needed, were gently heated in a glass container,in a saucepan of hot water over the fire. We also stocked up on fruits at the local grocery store so there were bananas and avocados available for meals as well. Now you might be wondering how it was taking 7 month old twins on a far away camping trip; it was challenging, I admit but it was also a lot of fun backpacking the boys around and watching them enjoy the new sights and sounds.
Hotels: Staying at a hotel with your baby is by far the easiest! Most hotels have refrigerators of some kind so it is convenient to take along your homemade baby food cubes and store them in the refrigerator. You may even have a hotel room that has a freezer in the refrigerator so you could toss the cubes into the freezer if need be. Unless you are staying in a “suite”, you may not have access to a microwave in your room. If you have to thaw or warm your baby food, ask the hotel reception if you might be able to use their microwave. I have done this on a few ocassions and it has worked out well. Don’t forget, you can always go to the grocery store and pick up some “no cook” foods like bananas, avocados and peaches.
Airplane: The rules for taking homemade baby food cubes onto an airplane will vary with the airline and will vary with the city from where you are departing. If you want to pack up a cooler of homemade baby food, be sure to contact the airline and ask them what their policy is. You may have to check the cooler or have the cooler sent through security for a separate screening. Be prepared and take some extra time for check-in if you will be toting homemade baby food. If you want to skip the packing of homemade baby food, purchase those trusty bananas or even a container of yogurt, when you have gone through security and are in your departures terminal. Fruits, yogurt and forks and bowls for mashing should be readily available at most terminal restaurants or food kiosks.
More Tips for feeding homemade baby food when traveling with baby:
Food Grinder: a food grinder is great because you can grind as you go, anywhere, anytime! Food grinders are particularly useful when you will be eating out in restaurants. You will be able to order fruits and veggies and grind them up fresh right there.
Storage containers or small freezer bags: taking extra food containers is a good idea if you plan to do a lot of day-tripping. This is helpful because you can take along only what you need for the day and divide servings for another feeding.
Fork, Whisk or Potato Masher: If you need to mash foods for your little one, having a fork is essential. I always had an extra fork in the diaper bag just in case I needed mash or mix up foods. A whisk or potato masher are two great items to have as well but a fork should get you through any feeding.
If you are feeding your little one only homemade baby food and you plan on buying jarred foods for a trip, please be sure to have baby “taste test” the jarred foods. Believe it or not, some babies that will refuse to eat commercial baby foods. My boys would not eat jarred foods. If you are feeding your baby only jarred foods and want to try some fresh foods, you may find that she refuses to eat them. There is such a difference in the tastes and textures of homemade and jarred foods that babies often don’t like being switched from one type of food to another. Another important thing to keep in mind is food temperature. Some babies won’t eat foods that are not thoroughly warmed so be sure to introduce your baby to “room temperature” foods.