When I first learned that I would be having a baby there were a lot of questions running through my mind. Okay, that's an understatement. I immediately began compiling lists of things to research, gather and prepare. That's me, Miss Over-Analyze Everything. It's an issue, I'm working on it (sooorta.) But, there was one thing that I didn't fret over, and not because it was unimportant, but because I made up my mind years ago. I already knew that I wanted to make my baby's food at home with my own two hands.
My mother made my food, her mother made her food and my great grandmother made my grandmother's food. I couldn't possibly go the store bought route with those standards to live up to. But aside from wanting to make my predecessors proud, there were quite a few other reasons why making my own baby food just made sense.
Most baby food manufacturers use water and starch to add 'bulk' to their products. This starch is typically some sort of refined corn, wheat or rice. Refined more often than not means two things: preservatives and bleach. You see a photograph of carrots on the jar, but what you're really getting is carrots, lots of water and lots of filler. Now, there are organic options out there that avoid using fillers and preservatives and they can be found on just about any supermarket shelf these days. However, premade foods, organic or not, just don't have the same amount of nutrients as the homemade stuff. Organic store bought baby food is cooked at incredibly high temperatures in an attempt to kill off bacteria to extend it's shelf life. But, in doing so, a lot of the food's vitamins and nutrients are removed.
When you buy something premade, you're paying for a lot more than just food. You're also paying for processing, packaging, transportation and advertising. And you better believe that the manufacturers are making a significant profit too. Making your own food is just so much more affordable. There's the initial investment of a food processor (I got mine for under $40) and some freezing trays, but the money you'll save avoiding those jars of food will quickly make up for it. I think I maybe spent $50 ($60 at most) a month feeding Lily up until she weaned at a year and a half. To see a great breakdown of the savings per ounce you can check out this chart from wholesomebabyfood.
Buying store bought food restricts you to selecting from the ingredients that the manufacturers choose to use and how they choose to combine them. There are no such limitations when you're making the food at home. When you are the one controlling what and how your baby eats, it allows you to be more deeply involved in their nutritional needs and actually makes feeding more fun. And the best part is that you can feed your baby the same thing that everyone else in the family is eating, just in pureed form. I truly believe that doing this makes a huge difference during those picky-eater toddler years.
Over the next few weeks I'll share a few really easy how-to-make-your-own-baby-food posts! If you have any specific questions you'd like answered, please feel free to leave them in a comment below. Making your own food may not be for everyone and I'm certainly not suggesting that you should never buy store bought. I definitely grabbed some organic
pouches and snacks on the go on more than one occasion. But, I hope you'll give it a try!
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I don't think I ever bought even a jar of babyfood--- like Em said, it's pretty easy to just take food you eat and modify it. I did however buy "squishy packs" from time to time as a special treat. I feel like this will come up later, but you can fill your own reusable squishy packs at home too. Oh! And making your own at home saves waste! Less packaging, less garbage, better for the earth! And as a total side note: speaking of baby food and feeding: THESE feeding tethers were AMAZING for us. PS. No, neither one of us is pregnant or having a baby ;)