Baby food seemed like one of those things that you just have to buy, because how else would your baby get solid foods? When my baby was ready to start exploring solids, which we knew because she started opening her mouth like a baby bird when ever we were eating, I started out with a couple of jars of the pureed baby food. I spent about $0.80 per 2 oz jar or $0.40 per oz of blended green beans. They didn’t taste that good. You might think that I’m weird for tasting the baby food, but I don’t want to feed my daughter anything that I’m not willing to at least try. Anyway, after the first couple jars of food I started to see all of the empty jars in our future, and all of the money that we’d be wasting on expensive blended vegetables. I started to do a little research on how to make your own baby food. I was surprised to see that it was quite simple to put a meal for baby together with the equipment that I already had.
A lot of the veggies I’m buying are around $0.99 per lb and will make about 16 oz of food or $0.06. If my baby is eating 8 to 12 oz of food per day this means that we save $2.72 to $4.08 per day or $81.60 to $122.40 per month.
What you need:
Food – We started with sweet potato, green beans, and peas when she was about 5 to 6 months old. Now that she is around 8 months old we also give her lentils, zucchini, yellow squash, barley, potatoes, beans, and yogurt.
Something to cook the food in – a pot with boiling water, a steamer basket or the microwave has been used for several of our different baby food preparation sessions.
Something to process the food – You can use a food mill, food processor, or blender. I have a Nutra-bullet because – hey I like smoothies (and other blended drinks) so this is what gets used to blend the baby food 90% of the time, mainly because it’s easier clean up than the food processor. You can smash the food with a fork if you have a truly minimalist kitchen, you might need to peal your veggies if you’re using that method.
Something to store the food in – We have little glass dishes that hold about 4 oz of food. I like using the glass dishes because they’re safer to microwave than plastic and you can easily see what is in them. I also freeze extra baby food in ice cube trays so that I only need to make baby food once every 2 or 3 weeks. I like being efficient with my time and think batch cooking is a life saver.
Things that I’m figuring out while feeding my daughter:
I’m not afraid to give my baby texture. I’m a believer that exposing a child to a variety of different colors, flavors and textures will help them keep an open mind in the future. We shall see how my theory works out since I’m mostly flying by the seat of my pants right now as a first time parent. I hear that kids don’t get picky about food till they’re about one year old – so we shall see 🙂 Right now we mix shredded chicken into vegetables, we have lentils with chopped up carrots, onion and celery (which she loves) and I’m starting to chop foods into small bits instead of blending everything.
Gagging will happen, this is different from choking. I don’t leave my baby unsupervised while she’s eating. But if she starts to gag a little bit I let her work through it and only hook a finger in her mouth if it goes on more than a few seconds. I try to stay calm when things like this happen so that I don’t startle my child.
Before we started feeding solids I wanted to try baby led weening. As we all know, things don’t always happen as planned. My baby doesn’t really put things in her mouth, which is awesome when there is dirt on the floor but not so awesome when I want her to put some beans in her mouth. So we are using a spoon and when she gets tired of the spoon, and wrestles it away from us to happily bash on the high chair tray, she eats food from our fingers. This is more of a ‘go-with-the-flow’ technique than any sort of baby feeding method. It’s working for us so we’ll continue to flow.