5 Good Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food

2SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/27/2010 10:00 AM   :  109 comments   :  13,815 Views

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read all of the books new moms are "supposed" to read: the ones about sleep, discipline, eating, and anything else that could possibly happen during their first year. I really wanted to be the mom who used cloth diapers, never used a pacifier, and had their child on a schedule within the first two weeks. Those things did not happen for a variety of reasons. But one thing I was serious about was making my own baby food. It's something I was successful with for both of my kids, but why did I want to go to all of that trouble? It's not really as much trouble as you might think, and there are definitely some good benefits.

1. It's cheaper than buying commercial baby food products. I bought zucchini at the store for a few dollars and it ended up making at least 10 servings of vegetables for my one-year old. That's much less expensive than buying jars of baby food.

2. You are sure the foods you're serving your child don't contain any additives or preservatives.Many commercially made baby foods contain preservatives that allow them to sit on grocery shelves for long periods of time. Homemade baby food can be frozen if you aren't going to use it right away. Some commercial products also contain thickening agents like corn starch or flour, which means your baby is getting less fruits or veggies and more filler.

3. It helps your child develop a taste for fresh fruits and vegetables from the start. As you probably know, fresh, seasonal food typically tastes better. If you taste a jar of pears, it probably tastes blander than a fresh pear that's in season.

4. It's good for the environment. Less bottles and packaging means less waste in landfills. There's also less food waste since you won't have to throw out half-eaten jars of baby food.

5. It allows you to have total control over what your child is eating. By making your own food, you know exactly what your child is eating and whether or not they are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients.

I used to spend an hour or two once a week making batches of food to puree and freeze. Doing small amounts at a time meant that I had a wide variety of foods on hand and the process wasn't terribly time-consuming. I always used ice cube trays with lids to make individual servings that were easy to defrost and serve.

There's nothing wrong with commercial baby foods if you decide that's what is best for you and your family. Most of my friends buy baby food and have children who are just as happy and healthy as mine. But it's another option to consider if you're looking to save money, help the environment and help your children develop a taste for the fresh stuff right off the bat.

What do you think? Did you, do you or would you make baby food for your children? Why or why not?


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Comments

  • 109
    I made all my son's food along with breastfeeding. No pre-made stuff for us. We even skipped the rice cereal which doesn't have much nutritional value. It was a lot of work for a working mom, but it was great knowing exactly what he was eating. He loved sweet potatoes and apple sauce the best. - 10/14/2014   11:42:55 AM
  • 108
    I made my daughter's solid food right from the start,, I DID buy rice cereal though,, I did not even have a blender:I had a hand-crank plastic grinder my friend lent me.. I froze breast milk and food in ice cube trays.. never wasted my $$ on watered down baby juice, just added water to our juice..
    only used cloth diapers except when traveling.. 1981. - 2/17/2013   4:00:03 PM
  • CRAGNCRUDE
    107
    I decided to make only the vegetables myself, and buy the rest. So I have a mix of selfmade and bought baby food. Now that he is 9 months old, I want to start to let him have the same food as I eat. - 8/1/2010   4:47:49 PM
  • 106
    When my kids were small I made all there foods & I knew what was in what I was feeding my babies!
    Plus my kids were very healthy for me taking my time to feed them healthy! - 5/4/2010   2:40:54 PM
  • GLAM66
    105
    I made baby food for my kids as often as I could. Hard to do sometimes working a full-time job, but it was worth it. I even found myself enjoying some of it, like the sweet potatoes combined with strawberries, yummy! Anyway, my kids are 13 and 11 and to this day, they eat a lot of fruit and veggies. They even choose fruit over candy (most of the time)! I say definitely take the time to do it. It is worth it! And now with those "bullets" or mini blenders, I think it would be easier to blend. Happy Eating! - 5/3/2010   11:00:26 AM
  • 104
    We did this when our first was born. For two working parents it was very hard. Also, with coupons and sales it wasn't that much more expensive to buy. Two things helped: breastfeeding and getting him on real food. - 5/2/2010   10:18:00 AM
  • 103
    I don't have kids yet, but we are thinking about it. Making our own food is one of the things we have decided would be important for us to do. - 4/30/2010   12:55:23 PM
  • 102
    I made all my daughter's food from scratch, too. It wasn't always easy and it was frustrating when she wouldn't eat it. It was so tempting to just throw my hands in the air and buy the jar stuff, but I didn't give in and I'm glad I took the time to do it. It was an amazingly "radical" thing to do among my circle of friends at the time, and this was only 7 years ago. I hope more people will make their own baby food from scratch. - 4/30/2010   11:28:41 AM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    101
    It is nice to see that more parent's are making their own baby food. I did that for my son and I think that is the reason he likes vegetables and fruits today. I can only hope he isn't feeding his children (my grandchildren) the chemical and preservitive laden baby food on the the grocery shelves. All anyone needs is a good blender. Don't need to add DHA and all that garbage due to over processed food. - 4/29/2010   10:53:37 PM
  • 100
    My daughter (and first/only child!) is 11 weeks old. I'm looking forward to making her babyfood and was inspired/motivated all over again by this article and your posts. I'm definitely reassured of the benefits and the ease with which it can happen (1-2 hrs/week - REALLY?! I should be able to manage that!) ;) - 4/29/2010   10:09:11 AM
  • 99
    I made about 80% of my son's food when he was an infant, and I felt really good about it. I went to the farmer's market when I could to get stuff, and his food tasted SO much better than the store-bought stuff. He's a great eater now at 20 months, and loves veggies and even spicy food. It's not as difficult as some may think. We got him started on the foods we were eating pretty early, even with the spices we were eating. - 4/29/2010   1:55:42 AM
  • 98
    So neat to see how many people are making their own baby food! Amber started solids at 6 months, two months after she got her first teeth. She didn't take to baby food and seemed to prefer things like bananas (have you tried baby food bananas? yuck!) and avocado. I made pureed sweet potatoes for her once (super easy), but it didn't take long for her to switch to soft cooked sweet potato cubes. Maybe I'm just lucky, but she seemed to want to pick up her food and feed herself more than be spoon fed. - 4/28/2010   11:55:21 PM
  • 97
    I made my own baby food too for cost reasons. It is definitely cheaper. I stored them in ice cube trays and used an automatic egg cooker to reheat! - 4/28/2010   10:56:31 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    96
    We found the homemade food and the store bought food didn't taste good anyway, didn't make any difference whether it was freshly made or bought, so we bought due to time constraints. Children are in their 30's now, so they managed just fine............. - 4/28/2010   10:15:27 PM
  • 95
    Only when we traveled did we buy babyfood. We had a huge garden and my son ate everything we did, just pureed it for him. To this day he loves veggies and fruit more than junk food. - 4/28/2010   6:43:34 PM
  • LEFE95
    94
    I wish I could have made baby food for my son. I had intentions of doing so because I thought it would be better for him to eat the same foods we were eating and that it would be cheaper for us than to buy baby food. My son was not a sleeper from the time he was born until he was over a year old. The only time he fell asleep was out of pure exhaustion. We tried everything people suggested to us to help him sleep. He was always curious as to what was going on in the world and was afraid to miss something. He was the type to sleep for a half hour at a time (if I was lucky). I had a difficult time trying to get rest also. At that point, the last thing on my mind was to make baby food, unfortunately. - 4/28/2010   2:44:29 PM
  • 93
    I did the same as so many others. I breastfed, then made my own food from whatever we were eating. I just left out any seasonings. I did buy some jarred foods, then I put my homemade food into the jars, but I also used the ice cube trays to freeze extra foods for later. It only took a few minutes and I had a lot.

    I also went the cloth diaper route. We didn't have the money for disposables and they were such a waste. I saw no reason not to do an extra load of laundry here and there. My daughter is now 27 and said when she has her own child, she plans to use cloth diapers as well. She doesn't want to waste money on disposables. She'll probably make her own food as well. - 4/28/2010   1:58:48 PM
  • 92
    My feeling is that they should first have their mothers breast milk formula is too full of sugar etc. Some baby can do breast milk for some months before starting foods. But when they are ready mash or pureed real foods is the best and all fresh foods not canned. Too much sodium. I raise three children. - 4/28/2010   1:25:02 PM
  • 91
    I think I bought jarred baby food a couple of times on sale to get some fruits that weren't in season at the time and to check the puree consistency. My baby never wanted purees or thinned baby cereal. I ended up having to incorporate opened jarred food into soups and sauces for grown-up food. My daughter preferred to learn solid food eating with softer food she could gum and mash up, like soft fruit pieces or cooked peas she could pick up herself and dissolve easily in her mouth. It was a long process of trial-and-error to learn just what she would accept. Manufactured food just does not fit the bill for a baby who wants to learn this way.
    Even at 2 1/2 she doesn't like mushy food. Child-led solids does not lend itself to jarred food, so homemade food, cut, shredded and chopped to order it is. - 4/28/2010   11:30:16 AM
  • FURBALLDTH
    90
    Breastfed them until they were almost a year. They went right to table food cut up or mashed. It always shocked me to hear about parents putting infant cereal in the baby formula to make them sleep through the night. Sad. - 4/28/2010   11:17:32 AM
  • SARAHWOHLLEB
    89
    I really enjoyed making my kids babyfood. I found that using the potato ricers to mash some of the foods helped them be a little lumpier for babies that are getting closer to feeding themselves table foods. - 4/28/2010   11:08:01 AM
  • 88
    When my children were small (32 years ago) I invested scant dollars in a good blender that came with smaller blending 'cups' which also included covers. I would blend what we were eating (if spicy with no spice) and either save it in the covered cup in the fridge or pour the blended food into ice cube trays, freeze and bag. The ice cube size was almost a perfect portion (with no leftovers) and they thawed quite quickly either in plastic wrap over warm water or in the microwave. We grew all our own food at the time (we live on a farm) so this was a practical thing for our family. - 4/28/2010   11:04:07 AM
  • 87
    It is amazing what we can do with a little guidance. I think home made baby food sounds great and sounds far more healthy than processed food. - 4/28/2010   10:53:09 AM
  • 86
    I had LOTS of AMBITION and ALL INTENTION of doing it when she was born but being a first time mom at 43, I was very stressed out! I guess I could never juggle between caring for her and keeping the house clean and tidy it was all too overwhelming -- it was just more of a convenience and no stress to open a jar. t I am HAPPY to say as she got older (after one yr) I DID start making my own pea soup puree, lentil soup and mashing up meatbals and freezing then in icecube trays -- I would even cook the tiny pastas to accompany the meals as well. Still do that even now that she's 2.4 yrs old for a QUICK MEAL!!! :) - 4/28/2010   10:02:56 AM
  • 85
    I make baby food for my granddaughter and freeze them in individual containers. Her mama returns the empty containers to me for refills. Ms Aliegh has learned to eat so many great foods and now at 14 months will eat anything I am eating. It takes no time at all to whip up her food. - 4/28/2010   9:54:29 AM
  • CHRYSTAL1980
    84
    I am not considering any more children but if I had any more I would definitely try this sounds much healthier - 4/28/2010   9:05:41 AM
  • CHRYSTAL1980
    83
    I am not considering any more children but if I had any more I would definitely try this sounds much healthier - 4/28/2010   9:05:26 AM
  • KAY43026
    82
    I, too, made baby food for my 3 children. They got nothing but breat milk for at least 6 months, then started on my 'other' mom food. I had a little hand held baby food grinder (with different size blades to control the size/texture of the food). My kids essentiall ate what we ate. I'd add a little water/broth if the foods needed to be thinner. My oldest is 30 and all 3 kids eat almost anything now. Guess it was the good start they got. - 4/28/2010   8:16:02 AM
  • MAGGIEFA
    81
    I was able to nurse my daughter without supplements until she was about 4 months. At that time, I used a hand food mill to grind whatever we were eating at the time -- small and portable, it could go anywhere with us. Old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast, meats, vegetables, etc. Only introduced one food at a time. I never added salt to my cooking, only herbs or spices, but I would pull her food before things were too seasoned. As she got a little older, I took straight from the table. If we went out to friends or restaurants, I would pick things that were less seasoned and grind on the spot. . - 4/28/2010   8:05:27 AM
  • 80
    my Kids are 26 & 24 I made their baby food meals everynight for dinner..
    homemade foods and the love you put into your food is better than store bought ..

    - 4/28/2010   7:58:39 AM
  • LOVESLIFE48
    79
    Yes, I made baby food for my boys. - 4/28/2010   7:53:39 AM
  • 78
    I made all my own baby food for all three children. It was easy, inexpensive and healthy! - 4/28/2010   7:49:58 AM
  • 77
    I have 6 children and my oldest is 40. I made almost all my own baby food. A lot of things can just be mashed with a fork like sweet potatoes and make a quantity once a week. I thought my youngest would turn into a sweet potato because she like them so much. They never had trouble with "textures" as I see a lot of children have or finicky about what they ate. I also never gave them baby cereal, they were able to handle regular oatmeal at 6 months or whatever whole grain cereal I made. They never had any food allergies except to milk and we switched to goat's milk. They all love to eat, have healthy appetites and are in healthy weight ranges as adults as compared to me who has struggled with weight all my life. - 4/28/2010   7:36:49 AM
  • 76
    Yes, I like to make baby food for my daughter. I also buy a few jars or those frozen baby foods (both organic) but I prefer to just make it. - 4/28/2010   7:22:29 AM
  • 75
    I remember back in the 70's when my daughter was a baby, making her fresh food although not all the time. We had a blender back then because when they first came out I talked my mom into buying one. I was a single mom and living with my folks so sometimes I didn't have the money for food so I made my own. I didn't take food stamps because I worked. - 4/28/2010   7:18:23 AM
  • 74
    Hindsight would have me doing this, and working less....but that's another story. LOL. - 4/28/2010   7:14:01 AM
  • 73
    I made baby food for all 5 of my children. It was expensive 33 years ago plus they
    didn't like it much. I purchased about 12 jars for our first daughter and almost none after that. Homemade is the best. - 4/28/2010   7:01:58 AM
  • 72
    I did not make baby food for my children. - 4/28/2010   6:47:11 AM
  • 71
    Much like KELLYBEUMER (below), we used a hand-cranked food grinder / puree gadget, and fed our children pretty much the very same things we were eating, as well as homemade plain yogurt, mashed banana, etc. We eat healthy foods anyway, so we weren't too worried about processed foods or extra additives, but we made sure not to introduce potential allergens or problem foods (like honey) too early.

    Our children love vegetables now. - 4/28/2010   6:43:10 AM
  • 70
    I made all my food for my two children. I used to make up batches and freeze it so I always had a variety to hand as I introduced new foods and I could keep it interesting. - 4/28/2010   5:52:19 AM
  • 69
    I gave both my children homemade food. I had jars of stuff for emergencies, but they didn't like it. When I tasted it, I knew why! BLEURGH! But that homemade stuff: YUM! I *did* end up gaining a little weight from always eating my babies' food. Oops. But it was worth it. I now have two little girls who eat well, love their veges and aren't fussy at all. - 4/28/2010   5:19:27 AM
  • 68
    I made my own for my two younger children.

    If you wait until they are ready to be weaned onto solids (when they start grabbing food off your plate and stuffing it into their mouths is a good sign) then you don't actually need pureed foods.

    I also made my own rice cereal for the boys by grinding a small amount of brown rice in a coffee grinder (only used for grinding seeds and spices) before cooking it. - 4/28/2010   5:13:30 AM
  • 67
    I gave both my kids meals that I prepared. I would on weekends prepare meals for an entire week and put them in the freezer. However I still kept a few bottles of ready meals for when we were travelling or things were just a bit hectic in the house, which I must say did not happen very often. - 4/28/2010   2:51:56 AM
  • 66
    Commercial baby food is watered down, then thickened with cornstarch. Then they add salt and sugar. YUCK!
    Making your own baby food is easy. Just take some of those carrots, or sweet potatoes, or banana that YOU are eating and mash it up with a fork or put it into the blender. Easy! - 4/28/2010   1:15:51 AM
  • 65
    I made all the food my babies ate (except when we were traveling) from the beginning. They were both breast-fed and to this day they love fresh veggies, fruit and trying new foods! wooohoo! - 4/27/2010   11:40:44 PM
  • 64
    When my daughter was getting ready to eat solid food I decided to buy a KitchenAid blender instead of a baby food processor and a blender (my blender had just broke.) The cost was the same and now, 13 years later, I still have a fantastic blender! I would cook extra food, run it through the blender, freeze it in ice cube trays, and store it in freezer bags. That way her food was pre-portioned and quick to prepare! Plus I knew everything she ate and that it was healthy and organic! - 4/27/2010   10:02:58 PM
  • 63
    I did it. Cheap, easy, organic. - 4/27/2010   9:53:27 PM
  • 62
    I have five grown children. I nursed them until they were six months old, and then started them on solid food, so I didn't buy much "baby food" but used table food. There is ORGANIC Baby Food at the Health Food Store. - 4/27/2010   9:53:18 PM
  • 61
    My sons are 28 and 30 and we used to make most of our baby food ourselves way back then. It was a way to limit salt and the sugar they got in there diets - 4/27/2010   9:48:53 PM
  • 60
    I made all of my daughter's food, starting with sweet potato and ending with small portions of mashed-up spaghetti and meat sauce, plus everything in between. It really wasn't much of a hassle and I felt so much better doing it that way. My daughter is now almost 9, and loves her fruit and vegetables. I feel that's because she's only ever known the taste of real food. - 4/27/2010   9:11:46 PM

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