Is making baby food worth it? Spoiler alert: I do make my own baby food so I obviously think it’s worth it. However, I have plenty of friends who don’t feel the same and buy baby food to their own preferences, which works best for them. For those deciding whether or not to buy baby food or make it yourself, I hope this post will give you some insight.
In the reader survey I did months ago one mother said she felt like a failure when reading about mothers making their own baby food. In her mind, buying organic baby food seemed just as good! So, I’d like to say to this anonymous mother and any other who feel the same way, do what’s best for you practically and mentally. No guilt or failure talk here!
1. Incomparably cheaper.
When Pickles was born, buying baby food was simply not financially feasible for us. Baby food is expensive in Australia (like, say, a dollar a jar) and since all my babies have been big eaters, we’d have spent at least $5 a day for her baby food, if not more. That would be have been at least $175 a month once you throw rice cereal in there. It was out of our budget so I began to make our own food and we’ve just continued the tradition.
In comparison, I can spend a fraction of that a week on fresh potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, other veggies and fruit. If finances are a consideration you’ll save a ton of money making it yourself. If your grocery bill has ample wiggle room, then this may not be a factor. You are certainly able to buy good baby food without preservatives or additives, it just costs a lot more.
2. Time factor.
Obviously it takes significantly less time to buy baby food than it does to make it. If you feel that making your own baby food will add a lot of stress to your day/week/month, then you might want to skip it. However, if you are interested there are ways you can cut down on preparation time.
I generally cook enough baby food to last a few days and my baby will eat two different things (aside from random fruit or our table food) until it runs out. I’m sure other mothers have 6 or 7 types of baby food frozen they thaw out for variety, but I have never done that. It may be why mine aren’t picky eaters… because I never gave them a chance.
Preparing a potato and spinach mixture, for example, would require you to boil the potatoes (peel them or not if you so desire), puree them to whatever consistency you prefer, and add the spinach. It does take time, but it isn’t labor intensive nor does it require you to stand over it.
Some people prefer taking an entire day and making many different batches of food and freezing them in ice cube trays. I’ve always said I would do this, but never have. My excuse is that I can’t find ice cube trays easily in Australia (true story…) but I don’t mind making a batch or two at a time.
Another way to save ample time is to just puree whatever you’re eating. I was speaking with Stacey from Veggie Mama the other day, and she said she’s never made a big fuss. She gives the baby pieces of what she’s eating until they are full and that’s that. I believe this is something like baby led weaning and is obviously less expensive and time consuming than store bought or homemade baby food.
3. Convenience factor.
When we are travelling or in other people’s home for a time we always buy baby food. When we’re traveling we always buy baby food and, as you’re allowed to carry it on the plane, it’s an easy way to transport nourishment that won’t leak, get squished or go bad within a few days.
Making baby food has sometimes led us to an “oh my goodness we have nothing for the baby to eat” moment. Since we schedule and do naps at set times, only a liquid feed with no solids isn’t really an option if I want the baby to nap for a few hours. Which I always do. So making your own baby food does require planning ahead, but it is still very doable.
4. You know what’s really in it factor.
With today’s heavy emphasis on clean eating, I don’t think it’s as big of an issue as it used to be, but if you cook the food at home you know exactly what’s in it. No added sugar or salt. However, there are plenty of organic baby foods that are probably more healthy than some of the normal foods I make, so health wise, I don’t think it matters much.
5. Such a short season.
I always love when my babies enter the phase of eating what the rest of us eat. We do it gradually and, generally speaking, by a little over a year they’re eating solids. I’ve found that this is a short season and I enjoy doing something particularly special for the baby. If you hate making baby food but must do it for financial reasons, take comfort in the fact that it’ll be over soon enough. Then they’ll be eating you out of house and home!
If the deciding factor is money, make your own baby food hands down. If convenience is your deciding factor, you may choose store-bought. At the end of the day if your baby is fed nutritious food then your job is done well.
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I have one of these that I use: http://www.target.com/p/kidco-babysteps-deluxe-food-mill-with-travel-tote/-/A-12063379
It’s convenient because baby gets exactly what we’re eating at dinner without a lot of extra prep. I just put a little of everything in it and grind it up together. Works at restaurants too.
Rachel Norman says
I have never in my life seen this! Awesome :)
Oh I am glad I found your blog – I am on the other side of the story from you! I live in far north Queensland, and my daughter lives in New York. She is about to give birth to my grandson. I am interested to see what you say about not having family living close by – will go and peruse some of your past posts right now.
Rachel Norman says
Gillian, I say…. IT’S SO HARD TO NOT HAVE FAMILY AROUND :) That’s the gist of it. Ha. Of course you learn different things to get by and you make do and you become more self-sufficient and capable. But it is hard. No less hard for you as a mother and soon to be grandson too, I suppose?