Thursday, November 17, 2011

Traveling with baby food

UPDATE - this worked very well for our travels for the holidays. I ended up doing this for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. If I had any extra, I was able to use it up when I packed meals for around town when I knew we wouldn't be home.

The holidays are coming and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to travel this time with a 6 month old and getting him the food he likes. Last time I traveled with an infant, my daughter was closer to 9 months and we did just a couple of quick weekend trips. But at 9 months, she was doing more table food and I was using jar food that time and formula feeding. This time around I have been making my sons baby food - because you do what you learned about after having your first.

So my orginal thought was when we got to the in laws, I would buy some jar food, and a little cereal and hope he liked it and would get through the weekend. The more I thought about it, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. One he has not tried any jar food yet - so I was worried about him not liking it. Two, he would be stuck with the same flavor of cereal all weekend - unless I bought more than one flavor, but then I would have to pack the extra to take home (more packaging than I need). We do buy diapers when we get there - and I have a wipe contianer I left at their house the last time we traveled - so I'll be buying a refill for that.

Here is some of what my son eats
He has different cereals mixed with food, and I use little formula to mix with the food. I do breast feed, so we really don't need much formula. I do have some of the prepackage pouches to fill 4 oz bottle - but there are times he need a little 2 oz bottle to help him settle - even after feeding and I hate to waste formula.

And his food.
Here is an example of what his food looks like from the freezer. Now I know for the 5 days we will be gone, I don't need all of this. I need enough of about 5 breakfasts and 9-10 lunches and dinner.

So here is my solution --

premeasured cereal, for each meal and formula measured for 2 ozs bottles.
And --

premeasured quanities of his food. All of these have been vaccuum seals using this ---

I know people have made there own yogurt tubes and seeing the pouch food and premeasured formula sticks is what gave me the idea. I'm hoping that if I pack the food in a good cooler with lots of frozen water bottles we can make it on our 7 hour trip without to much trouble, and my son will enjoy the food he loves. I do have a small food mill that I will take with me to have him try some foods - but he will mostly have his favorites.

To do this

First you need to make the bag strips to fill. For the food saver they have premade bags and rolls. I don't have many bags right now, so I made bag with my rolls.
I measured off a nice size peice of the roll. There are marking on the side of the roll, and I cut at about the 4th mark. I wanted the strip long enough to get more than one serving size in a strip to save more room, also this made the strip the right size lengthwise to seal the sides.

Then you heat seal one side closed.

Once the one end is sealed to need to make the tubes. I laid the newly made bag back in the sealer and made seals so I had anywhere from 3-4 strips. I found later that I like 3 strip wide for the food and 4 strip wide for the cereal and formula. Here is what is looks like before I cut them apart.

If you look closely there are two seals close together. This allows me to cut the strips apart to fill. If they aren't cut apart then you would being trying to seal the whole piece and you might not want that. Also make sure that you seal across the bottom seal so you don't have any leaks on the bottom of the strip. I came a little to close a couple of times.

Then cut apart the strips.

Once they are cut apart then you can start filling.

Notes when you are sealing the first section. Because you are at the end of the strip - you have a lot of empty space at the top. Make sure other end of the strip is in the vaccuum channel. If it is not then your strip will not vaccuum and the machine will just keep running. Once you get closer to the top with your sections it gets easier.

For filling the bag of the dry items I used a funnel. Now for the funnel I got creative. I don't have a funnel big enough to allow larger item to go through. So I used the cup part for my breast pump that I didn't use.
The hole is big enough and worked well. You might have to shake the cereal and formula down on the first couple of sections, just be patience. Also when you seal these, make sure there is no cereal or formula where the seal hits. This happened to me once I had to add a seal because the cereal broke the orginal seal.

Now we will see how this work over the holiday weekend. I think it will be great. A couple of last notes. Make sure you pack a small pair of scissors in your bag to cut these open. Which means I don't think you can do this much for airplane travel. We are driving to our destination so I don't have to fight with TSA. My hope is with the items vaccuum sealed that they won't defrost as quickly. I plan on freezing some bottles of water and layer the food between them in a small cooler that will be in the freezer before we leave. I'll post how this worked after the holiday. But if I can save a little money, and some space in the car this sounds like the way to go.

Linked - ;;; ;;;;;