INDIANAPOLIS — When a baby is old enough to finally start eating solids instead of drinking milk, parents now have to figure out how they’re going to have time to make baby food that’s healthy and enjoyable. Many parents don’t even have time to make healthy food for themselves, how can they make it work for their baby?
Jeannie Marrugo, a mother of two daughters, was experiencing this exact crisis, especially after the US House Committee report found out that store-bought baby foods contain “dangerous levels” of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.
“I didn’t want to sacrifice my baby’s nutrition because of the demands of everyday life,” Marrugo said. “Surely I wasn’t the only parent wanting to give my baby a balanced diet while staying on top of everything else.”
She brought up these frustrations to her mother, Sherri Sego, and her difficulties trying to balance being a mom and a full-time architect. Through this conversation, Café Baby was born.
Located off 5945 E. 86th Street in Indianapolis, Café Baby provides nutritious baby food so busy parents don’t need to worry about putting their child’s health at risk due to their schedule. With over 50 different flavors curated from partnerships with Indianapolis private chefs, babies and toddlers can safely enjoy their food. Breastfeeding parents are also able to purchase lactation cookies for babies that aren’t ready for solids.
“Adults like it too. We have a lot of parents say they look forward to when their baby doesn’t finish this so they can,” Marrugo laughed. “It’s basically like 50 different flavors of applesauce, I mean it’s not like the green beans or the peas or anything but we have some fruity flavors that are really good for adults.”
Some of their most popular flavors include Mango Tango, Baby’s Ratatouille and Quinoa, Baked Zucchini Pizza. Recently, they worked with Indianapolis Private Chef Whitney Barnett to curate a fall menu that includes Autumn Soup, Cinderella’s Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Stew.
First-time parents tend to be more paranoid with their babies than parents who have had multiple, as newer parents don’t have that previous experience to guide them through the process. Marrugo wanted to make sure that these parents were able to rest assured that the food they give their babies has only one additional chemical: love.
“When they come into our store they see our kitchen, and most the time we’re making the food while they’re in there,” Marrugo said. “You can look at it and tell that it’s a better option than what’s on the grocery store shelf. It’s more vibrant. It smells better. They’re welcome to sample things if they come into our store. The difference is night and day.”
Recently, Café Baby has also partnered with Union Jack in Broad Ripple and Westfield to include their baby food on the restaurant menu. They’re working on distributing to more.
“We are actively pushing to restaurants to add baby food options to their menu, and it’s like, more than the kids’ menu,” Marrugo said. “Most restaurants don’t cater to kids under 12 months, so we’re really trying to educate restaurants on why it’s important to offer baby food and try to get some options on their menu.”
Café Baby offers their products at their Castleton store or on their website.