5 Good Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food

0SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/27/2010 10:00 AM   :  109 comments   :  13,720 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?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Will the FDA Efforts to Limit Salt be Successful?

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 59
    I'm not a Mom, yet, but hope to be, even at age 41. I fully intend to make my own baby food, purely for the sake of health. I want them to learn all about our farming family background and how real, nutritional food is tasty!
    - 4/27/2010   8:41:13 PM
  • MALEACATS
    58
    both of my children (now adults, 28 and 26 yrs) were breast fed babies, and I made their baby food - blender or just mashed up with a fork as best I could. I also used cloth diapers, much cheaper than the disposable, and yes, just as easy. Both children had no allergy problems when they were young, no ear problems, no respiratory problems. It's not as hard as it sounds, just use vegetables and common sense (I also added chicken, then small amounts of beef when they were older). You can freeze extras and have them ready to go! With all of the technology available today, it's much easier and cheaper to do so than 28 yrs ago and soooo much better for your babies. - 4/27/2010   7:32:51 PM
  • 57
    I am a grandmother now. I Breast fed my first child and then he went on to rice and barley made with a potato ricer. By the time our second son arrived he was fed with baby food made with a blender so much smoother. Our third son was breat fed till he had teeth and after the first major ouch I figure he was ready for anything with such sharp liile teeth.
    We all know that the answer to almost everyone of these problems is just one word C O N V E N I E N C E . Be it fast food, for grown ups or in this case fast food for babies. Time is money or time is fun. Time is rarely spent on good nutrition by the vast majority of people these days. Its a hurry up world Pat in Maine. - 4/27/2010   7:10:13 PM
  • 56
    Ok... I'm not a mom yet but I'm sure I'll be one when the right time comes. So while waiting, can someone tell me how exactly do you make baby food without compromising proper nutrition. Thanks!

    Blessings to all SP moms. Happy Mother's Day! - 4/27/2010   6:51:12 PM
  • 55
    I made a lot of the baby food my 4 kids ate. It wasn't hard and, on a very limited budget, it made money go further. I think it was also at least as healthy as using store-bought baby food exclusively. - 4/27/2010   6:48:19 PM
  • 54
    When my third baby began stealing food off my plate and eating it, I stopped buying baby food. From then on, with her and her two younger siblings, I took the food we cooked each day, before we seasoned it, and mushed it and fed it to the baby. They are all healthy. - 4/27/2010   6:45:24 PM
  • 53
    I made a lot of baby food for my daughter. When we went out I was more likely to use packaged, but for the most part it was fresh and often home grown. I'd do it again! - 4/27/2010   6:42:12 PM
  • 52
    I am a mother of four, grandmother of four. My oldest is 39 and we made our own baby food in a blender for him. Our second is 37 and our current blender is the one we purchased when she was a baby - an Oster - and it still works. I made almost all of the baby food my children ate. I understand that the Squeeze-O is pretty good for making baby food, but I think that came out after my children outgrew baby food. My daughter makes baby food in her blender for her babies, too. - 4/27/2010   5:58:11 PM
  • 51
    Both my mother and stepmother did this with all their children. Most of them are not obese (I'm the exception), all have a wide range of foods we like and none of "picky" eaters. We are all healthy. - 4/27/2010   5:42:37 PM
  • SUNSET09
    50
    I think it's a great idea and the points prove the fact. It's the same with our bodies when we either grow our own or make it from scratch. You have more control of what you're eating and how healthy you make it is up to you. Good goin! - 4/27/2010   5:35:38 PM
  • 49
    I made baby food for my children, especially the orange vegetables. I made a larger amount, froze it in ice cube trays, then popped them out and put them into a freezer bag for future use. I also used the baby food grinder for when they were toddlers. - 4/27/2010   5:26:58 PM
  • 48
    My first child (now 34) had homemade food. - 4/27/2010   4:59:24 PM
  • 47
    My baby is 28 and she had homemade food,, I did not have a processor at the time, but a little plastic hand grinder,, she ate what we ate, ground up.. at two months she was eating cereal,, she was a SIDS baby, so had to be hooked up to an apnea monitor, watched all the time for blue or black extremities. She nevfer drank whole milk, only 2%in her bottle after breast feeding was finished(I got mastitis), loves all fruits and most veggies. I did not have to haul glass jars home, store them in limited apartment cabinets,, no salt or sugars in her food, fresh veggies from the Farmers Market in summer!!
    It only takes a few minutes to impact another person's lifestyle, just like Sparks!! - 4/27/2010   4:29:29 PM
  • 46
    I made my own food at least until my son was 14 months, then occasionally bought jar. I was so against them in the beginning. Somehow, it made me feel like a better mother if I took the time to make it myself. I have been working full time since he was 3 months old, so it hasn't always been easy. I froze the food in, what looked like, ice cube trays, but bigger. I also noticed that I was one of maybe 2 or 3 out of 15 children in my son's room who had homemade food. All others had store bought jars and formula. I pumped and brought in milk, too. - 4/27/2010   4:13:01 PM
  • 45
    I made my own a few times to try to get DS to eat what we were eating for dinner, but almost all of our baby food was given to us by other people as their kids outgrew it. A little scary about how fresh it might be because of that, though!
    With #2, I'll definitely make our own. Already have a food mill! - 4/27/2010   3:57:28 PM
  • 44
    Yes, I just made mixed veggies for my 8 month old grandson that is coming today. I made my own food when my own children were babies. So.... much cheaper and with a microwave it is a snap to warm them up. Freeze small portions and cook in batches. - 4/27/2010   3:35:42 PM
  • 43
    I had 4 little ones (now 35-27) that were breastfed for the first 6 months and went to homemade foods introduced slowly a little at a time,of course, but it was just mostly what we ate. If I thought it was a food that might have been more spicy, salty, or something for them I would take out their portion before I added that to ours, so rarely made batches or froze much, I just used a grinder at the table. I think I bought or received as a gift less than 20 jars of baby food for the 4 of them and gave away half of that. - 4/27/2010   3:11:52 PM
  • 42
    My baby prefers the interesting flavors in homemade food. She loves Indian curries and dal, mashed up a little bit. I've rarely fed her any packaged baby food. My husband also really loves the baby food I make for her. It's led us to eat some interesting purees. The family favorite so far is quinoa with black beans and cumin, butternut squash baked with cinnamon, and green beans--all pureed together. Yum. - 4/27/2010   2:54:38 PM
  • 41
    I definitely want to make food for my (future) babies. It is cheaper and better for them. I have a friend who would just use some of the food her and her husband were eating and throw it in a processor. Even easier! Within reason, of course. - 4/27/2010   2:45:06 PM
  • NJ_HOU
    40
    My children are in their 30's so my data is probably OUT OF DATE. Why was the chemicals, salt and lack of variety. Further, the research at the time stated your children will have a more varied palate if they experience different tastes while young. I would just make it up and put it in sterile ice cube trays and place these trays in bags to keep other 'flavors' in the freezer out. Seemed to work well they still love their veggies I agree take your time and mix and match if you need to , e.g., my daughter was languishing for cherry vannila pudding.... I gave in and bought the treat .. - 4/27/2010   2:23:35 PM
  • 39
    Yes! I have/am feeding both my kids my own food. I used the Super Baby Foods book for guidance. I steam the veg/fruit and then do the ice cube tray freezing method and it's super easy! I take a little time, one day a month, and get it done then. It lasts a while and is easy! Plus, things like avocados and bananas are easy to just mash up. Simple!

    My next step is going Organic cause I have not done that. I think it would be great to weed out the pesticides since little systems may not be able to process the same way as bigger ones.

    Even if you work, this really is easy. It can easily be accomplished in an afternoon to last for a month. Plus, it teaches good habits and is tons more affordable. - 4/27/2010   2:23:17 PM
  • 38
    For freezing baby food, look for shallow silicon "novelty" shaped ice cube trays. They make it easier to get individual frozen portions out, you avoid the whole BPA thing and they take less room in the freezer. You also end up having a cute selection of shapes for drinks in the summer. To me the ability to get individual portions out was a big priority. I also liked that you could freeze smaller portions which was helpful to me. - 4/27/2010   2:14:32 PM
  • 37
    I made some of my sons, bought some. It was just finding the balance for me... but, yeah... I preferred to make it. - 4/27/2010   2:11:18 PM
  • 36
    Just finished making a batch of lentils for my 13 mo old. :-D

    Another benefit not listed is that when your baby moves on to toddler food and adult food, you'll already have the confidence to cook for them and hopefully can avoid some of the processed junk food that is passed off as kid appropriate. - 4/27/2010   1:51:43 PM
  • MGIARDINA1
    35
    I am doing it for my child right now and I absolutely love it! It makes me feel better that she is 8 months old and still getting breast milk and wholesome food!! Not to mention I gained brownie points with my husband's grandmother! - 4/27/2010   1:28:40 PM
  • 34
    My first son had store bought baby food. With my second son I became a stay at home mom and felt I had more time to do things differently. I made my his baby food using the blender and the ice cube trays. My first son is a very picky eater, my second will eat pretty much anythings. It probably has nothing to do with it, but I like to think it's because I made second's baby food. :) - 4/27/2010   1:15:06 PM
  • 33
    I don't have a child yet but I truly believe in this entry. My grandma did this to my mom and siblings, my mom did the same for her children. Unfortunately some countries like Nicaragua you have to make do with what you have and it ends being healthier for the family especially children when we use fresh vegetables and fruits surrounding the area. I definitely plan on practicing this when I have my own kids. - 4/27/2010   1:05:15 PM
  • 32
    this is great! I made all of mine as well & put the extra effort to do it as i know my kids will reap the rewards of it! - 4/27/2010   12:48:44 PM
  • 31
    In addition to all of the great reasons to make your own baby food listed in previous posts, you're also avoiding exposing your baby to the chemical BPA that lines metal lids on glass jars of most baby food. BPA is a proven carcinogen and it significantly reduces sperm count. - 4/27/2010   12:39:11 PM
  • 30
    My daughter received a baby cooker for Christmas and absolutely loves it! I wish I had made my own baby food when my three were little, but I lacked the confidence and organization to do so. - 4/27/2010   12:37:58 PM
  • 29
    I love to cook so cooking my daughter's babyfood wasn't a big deal to me. Icecube trays made things sooo easy. My mom was a member of La Leche League when my sister was born (she's 16yrs younger than me and we're the only 2) Thru LLL my mom and I learned a lot about nutrition and she made babyfood for my sister. I've used that info for my own family. My daughter is 5yo now and even tho she ate EVERYTHING when she was little, she's kinda picky now. So I make creamed veggie soups and top them w/ cheese and whole grain croutons. She loves it and I know she's getting all of her veggies in. I guess I'm still "making baby food" for her. LOL She's healthy and happy and now loves to get in the kitchen w/ me to cook dinner. :) Thanks for this info. I think it's important for some mom's to know that they CAN make their own baby food and really know what they're feeding their children. LLL has some great cookbooks out that is great for the whole family and one that has recipes for making babyfood and baby cereals. It's a great way to go. - 4/27/2010   12:33:54 PM
  • 28
    I did, but much more casually-- they ate mostly what we ate, pureed and edited as I prepared our meals (back then-- my youngest is 26-- there werent so many rules about what babies can and cant eat). but my grandmother gave me so much grief! She insisted I was shortchanging my kids by not buying them "real" baby food. I still think it was worth it, and my daughter did the same with her babies. And as far as time goes-- it just didnt take that much more. I thought it was eaiser than going to the store, reading all the labels, washing all the jars and finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. - 4/27/2010   12:17:51 PM
  • 27
    Thank you for this!! I'm glad to see another mom who went the all natural way. My daughter started on solid foods earlier than I anticipated and I also went the all natural route. I'm so glad that I did! She is now 14 mos and very healthy. Her weight is perfect for her size and she has lots of energy and sleeps well. She also has a very varied palate. She likes foods from all ethnicities... everything from asian, to ethiopian, african, morrocan, and everything in between. The few things she spit out we kept introducing over and over and we ALWAYS say "mmmm..." "good" "yum" with everything she eats. Now she copies us and tries everything on her plate!
    I've heard that babies who eat jar food have a harder time later on with eating "real" table food and tend to put up quite a fuss with family meals. Why go through all that trouble? And true... it really doesn't take that much time to prepare pureed baby food! I always batched cooked our lunches, so while I was working on that, I'd cook a few veggies for the baby, puree and freeze them in ice cube trays.
    Oh... there's a fantastic website with great ideas on this subject. wholesomebabyfood.com - 4/27/2010   12:15:51 PM
  • 26
    I didn't, but now wish I would have. Maybe I will with my grandkids (some day!) - 4/27/2010   12:10:51 PM
  • 25
    I used to make my own baby food for my son who is now 14 yrs old. I also made sure to always give him water and juice instead of sodas, and he to this day does not drink sodas. I had my own pear & apple trees and had a vegetable garden, so I would make fresh baby food when things were in season. For all of you out there that say they have to work, I was working, but made time on weekends. It's all about prioritizing what's important to you. When making the larger portions for freezing, I would use ice-cube trays too, and once they were frozen, put them in a freezer ziplocks and label and date them. I don't know if it really makes a difference in health or not, but it made me feel good to know that my son was eating homemade foods instead of the foods I wouldn't even eat out of a baby food jar. - 4/27/2010   12:00:45 PM
  • 24
    My wife and I make food for our youngest. The main reason was to know what we were putting into him. It is all natural. We make batches of food and then freeze it in ice trays. At meal time we pop out 3-4 cubes of various foods and his meal is ready. We do a meat, grain and veggie mix for one item and then veggies and fruits for other ice trays. - 4/27/2010   12:00:13 PM
  • 23
    While in the grocery store the other day, my boyfriend and I decided to look at a few baby foods and their nutritional info. Everything checked out just fine except for the sodium - holy cow! We were amazed at how baby food companies are setting children up early for high blood pressure later in life. That alone has made me decide that when we have children, I will be making most, if not all, of my baby food. - 4/27/2010   11:57:31 AM
  • 22
    I made my youngest daughter's baby food (she's now 18 months) I loved doing it. I bought a magic bullet and it worked perfect. It was great and she loved just about everything I did for her. Great advice! - 4/27/2010   11:43:04 AM
  • 21
    That's so great!! I'm not planning on having children any time soon but this definitely gave me something to think about for the future. Do you add anything to the pureed veggies or mix the veggies? - 4/27/2010   11:40:57 AM
  • 20
    I didn't but in hind sight I wish I had. I think it is an awesome choice you made for your little ones. - 4/27/2010   11:40:17 AM
  • 19
    I have a 9-month-old and we've been feeding her the commercial baby food--my excuse has been that I work full time and don't have time to make it. I would prefer to make my own, though, for health and financial reasons. I've tried a few times, and every time we give her something "fresh" she makes a face like I gave her a Sour Patch Kid! We've tried baked squash that I've put through the grinder and mashed bananas--things she normally loves out of the jar. Any suggestions for making it more palatable? I plan to keep trying! - 4/27/2010   11:37:53 AM
  • 18
    Ice cube trays are an awesome idea! - 4/27/2010   11:35:16 AM
  • 17
    I incorporated more soft healthy foods in my diet, and fed my baby some of the same foods I ate. It was a great way to make baby a part of mealtime, as opposed to strapping her into a separate chair to eat separate foods on a separate schedule.

    There are a ton of websites about which foods are and are not safe for which age groups, and what consistency food needs to be for what age.

    It took a bit of planning, but much less prep time, since I never had to puree and freeze anything days ahead of time.

    She loved hummus, beans, very ripe pears, applesauce, guacamole, mashed squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, etc. I'd make fresh fruit smoothies and sorbets (with no added sugar) and share those with her as well. - 4/27/2010   11:34:17 AM
  • 16
    I have an unusual reason for making all my oldest son's baby food - he refused to eat anything mashed within a couple weeks of starting food. He was an eager eater, just wanted to do it all himself! I had to give him veggies in pieces big enough to pick up and yet soft enough for him to chew. - 4/27/2010   11:31:46 AM
  • JAY75REY
    15
    Great advice for new moms. Also great way to save $$. Bravo! - 4/27/2010   11:30:10 AM
  • 14
    I am planning on making my own in the future for all the listed reasons! I will have support from my family, which I am thankful for! I also would like to use cloth diapers for the finances...we can actually get money from the city to buy some! But on that area I do not have the same amount of support... - 4/27/2010   11:20:19 AM
  • RINNAD
    13
    My husband and I would spend our Sundays making food for the week for our infant son. Best thing we ever did. It definitely saves money, and our son (now 2 1/2) loves fruits and veggies! We would use jarred baby food for trips and vacations due to the ease of traveling with them, but would save the jars to store our homemade food in. We kept the jars to do the same if we have more children. Best thing we ever did!
    - 4/27/2010   11:19:38 AM
  • 12
    Back in the 1970s I always made baby food at home for my 5 kids, who are now in their 20s and 30s. My daughter now makes baby food, including yogurt, for her two kids. It's the best way. It takes time and effort but is worth it. Same as cooking at home for yourself and family -- it's just healthier and less expensive, in the long run. - 4/27/2010   11:19:38 AM
  • DSUBIOPROF
    11
    I did both. One of the best baby presents I received was a food grinder, given to me by a sister-in-law who runs a health food store. - 4/27/2010   11:17:08 AM
  • 10
    i definitely admire folks for using cloth diapers and making baby food. with my husband and i working full time jobs - and his often keeps him late - my superpowers don't allow me to get it all done and I am also not very good at planning to make homeade baby food :) Anyway my biggest success as a parent is that my 5 year has never had soda. Biggest success in the food and drink category anyway. We still let the nuggets and fries fly though! - 4/27/2010   11:16:49 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by December 1! Get a FREE Personalized Plan