Making Your Own Baby Food – A Guest Post

I am one of those crazy people who made their own baby food. Yes, one of those. You know the kind. I pull out my baby food mill at restaurants and grind up steamed carrots (ordered with no seasoning, no butter please!) while my friends look on with an incredulous look that says, “we knew you were weird, Kristi, but this…?”

Why did I do this? (For two babies so far!) Obviously every new mom is a little fanatical when it comes to health and safety. We dutifully pick up every single thing that falls on the floor and sanitize it. We carefully boil or sterilize everything that will enter our child’s mouth. I was no different, and the thought of feeding my baby unrecognizable vegetable-based substances that are who-knows-how-old from a jar that has been who-knows-where did not sit well with me.

These thoughts were confirmed the first time that I tasted jarred baby food – wow! That stuff is bad! I was used to tasting my daughter’s homemade purees, and I was shocked when the jarred butternut squash tasted more like dirt than anything resembling a fresh vegetable. She obviously agreed, because she wanting nothing to do with that orange muck coming toward her mouth!

So, I chose to make my own for health reasons and taste. That, and let’s face it – we are extremely cheap. Those little jars of baby food seem cheap when you’re standing in the grocery isle, but when your baby starts eating 3-4+ jars a day, suddenly that really adds up fast! For example, you could buy a 5lb bag of carrots for $2.99 and end up with 36 servings of baby food- if you buy carrots in the cute little plastic containers it would cost you $18.00 for that much! Yikes!

So, here’s what to do: (it’s very complicated, so take notes! LOL!)

Get some vegetables or fruit
Cook them until they’re soft
Puree them in a blender or food processor
Freeze them in ice cube trays
Pop them into labeled plastic freezer bags

Presto! Tricky, isn’t it?

Most people seem to feel more comfortable with the little jars and containers for some reason. I am frequently asked how you know what to feed them. My suggestion? Go to the grocery store and look at the “level one” foods. What are they? Buy them. Cook them. Repeat the steps above. You can even buy one jar to check the consistency if it makes you feel more comfortable. Trust me, Gerber does not have some magic formula for carrots. They use: carrots!

If you want a book that spells out what to do when and gives you some more specific ideas and pictures of the purees, I love First Meals by Annabel Karmel. I also like www.wholesomebabyfood.com.

Another great benefit to making your own baby food is the ease of transition to other foods – once they are ready for ‘chunkier’ foods, just do a quick, coarse puree and freeze them in ice cube trays (or I have found that silicone muffin cups work great once they start eating larger servings). Once they’re ready for finger foods, just chop them into chunks and freeze them. As they get older, start grinding/ mashing up whatever you’re eating for dinner, and they automatically learn to eat what the rest of the family eats. I usually will pull a portion out before I add salt, etc.

You can do this! Your baby will thank you (well, maybe not. But you’ll feel good about it!) and so will your wallet!

Kristi is a full time wife and mommy. When she is not trying to thwart her 1 year old’s efforts to engage in a variety of dangerous and destructive activities or learning about butterfly metamorphosis with her 3 year old, she is drinking coffee. When she is not doing any of the above, you will find her blogging about motherhood, womanhood, homekeeping, and knowing God through His Word at http://runwatchplaywait.blogspot.com.

Comments

  1. Autumn's Mom says:

    I LOVE this post and agree whole heartily. It is SOOOOO much cheaper to MAKE it than to buy it. My dad actually got me into this. He brought me a masher when my daughter was born. I never had a puree machine. A masher tool takes a little extra work, but it gets the job done. I love that I am saving $$. At some little fruit markets I brought sweet potatoes as low as 3 pounds for 29cents or even 1 pound for 59 cents. You can't beat that price even when the jars are on sale and you buy generic the best you will get is 3 or 4 jars for a dollar and that might be the small jars. However, 1 pound of potatoes can yield at least 6 or more feedings over the course of about 3 days. I never bothered to freeze b/c she loves it so much, I would just store in the fridge and serve at meals in
    6oz serving cups which is equal to the lrg size baby jar in the stores.
    My dad also taught me to steam the potatoes with the skin on for better taste & nutrients. I buy both frozen & fresh veggies. I just steam, mash & serve. If I am going out to a restaraunt, I just pack her food in the container and put it in the baby bag. You can do the same with fresh fruit. I get bananas for 49 cents a pound!
    I only have 1 baby now, but I definitely plan to do it again with baby 2. Most of my friends use the jars, so it is nice to hear about other moms making food for their babies too:) Great Post!

  2. I love these Fresh Baby food trays. You can freeze the baby food in them, then pop all the food cubes in big freezer bags, though I did have other friends that just used regular ice cube trays. Now that dd is a toddler and eating the same food as I do, I use Fresh Baby food trays for ice and these trays are super sturdy and it doesn’t matter if other things in the freezer get stacked on top of them because they have lids, so for me they are very practical. Also I did buy Gerber food once in a while, like for peas because I did not want to use a mill for those (to get the skins off) and on so I saved the little rectagle plastic containers and reused them over and over for freezing baby finger foods. I would cut a whole catalope or melon (when they were super cheap) into tiny bite size pieces and get LOTS of servings. I can’t remember how many servings for how much $, but it was super cheap. For most of my baby foods, I used the Cuisnart mini food processor. This was another tool that I ended up using a lot for other things later too. I like it better than my big Cuisenart food processor!

  3. I, too, have two littles and both are homemade baby foodies… I have never purchased any store bought food (though my MIL has when we’ve visited) other than cereal (thanks to WIC)… I use the ice cube method and have “snack cup” sized containers (with lids) that I serve the food from… as the littles get bigger, I start to throw a helping of our dinner (pre-salt) in the food processor for their enjoyment, until they are old enough to eat table foods. I can only imagine what I’ve been able to save over the past 2.5 years!

  4. P.S. Canned veggies and fruits are great too, if you’re looking to add convenience – they don’t need to be cooked – just puree, freeze, and heat when you’re ready to serve!

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