When Jackson was a baby I looked into making my own baby food for him. As it turned out, I found that it is a much cheaper and healthier way to go. I'm talking saving hundreds of dollars on each baby. Our family doesn't necessarily eat only organic food (although I try to get it if it's economical) but for our babies, we do like to go the organic route. And with the money we save not buying jars of baby food, making organic food is definitely in the budget. Just a little math comparison. Yesterday at our local grocery store, I saw a package of organic baby food for $1.86 for two jars. Let's say you go through 2 jars of food a day*. That's about $55 per month. If you feed your baby baby food for 6 months, that's about $330. Making my own baby food, I've never spent more than $10 per month. And that's going organic and shopping at Whole Foods. See? Hundreds of dollars! Even if you double or triple the number of what you buy to prepare your own baby food, it still comes out better. Not to mention that you know exactly what you are putting in your baby and don't have to worry about any of that extra stuff (preservatives and whatever else you see in there).
*Since I've never actually fed my babies jarred baby food, I'm just guessing at the "two jars a day". I don't actually know how many jars most people go through a day.
When I started making baby food for Jackson three years ago, they didn't have any of the cheaper baby food maker options like they do now, so we opted for the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's super easy to use. Yes, they have much cheaper options out there now. NO, you don't actually need ANY of these gadgets to make your own baby food! You need a way to steam your fruits and veggies, like a stove top steamer, a microwave steamer, a counter top steamer, or any other kind of steamer. And a way to puree the baby food, like a food processor, blender, or even a potato masher. You will also need a few other items, like ice cube trays and freezer bags.
Once a month, I do all of my shopping and preparing. I'm starting Gavin on veggies. This month is butternut squash, sweet potatoes and peas. I got him avocados too, but I don't make that in bulk, I just squash one up as needed. They (and bananas) get too brown and mushy in the freezer.
First, you prepare your food to be steamed. Peel it and chop it if need be. I had to do that for my squash and sweet potatoes but not the peas.
Then you steam it, using whatever steaming method you need. (You can bake it too, if you want, but I prefer steaming because you can use that nutrient rich water from the steamer to incorporate into the baby food.)
Then you puree it, using the water from steaming to make it the consistency your baby needs.
Put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it.
|The peas are still in the freezer....|
Then put it in labeled bags and keep it in your freezer. Just pop one or two out when it's time to feed baby. You can microwave it for a few seconds to thaw it.
|At first he was a little unsure about the sweet potato....|
|But he ended up LOVING it!|
A lot of people have told me in the past that they don't have time to do this. Maybe they're right. But I can tell you that it takes me maybe an hour once a month. But for us, it's worth that little bit of extra time to save the money. I also like the flexibility with the food later on, being able to make my own combinations of food, like strawberry banana apple sauce, and peas, green beans and carrots. It's also REALLY nice to have these cubes on hand to add to Jackson's food without him knowing. (cauliflower or squash puree in mac-n-cheese goes completely unnoticed!)
Do any of you make your own baby food? What's your baby's favorite kinds? I'm always on the look out for different combinations of food for baby and ways to hide purees in Jackson's food!