9 Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food

17 Jul

There are many arguments that can be made in favor of homemaking baby food. I ranked them below according to my own decision to take the plunge.

#1 WARM FUZZIES
I’m not talking about the top of my baby’s sweet little head. I was a new mom and wanted to do something special for my baby, so I made her food. I’ll be making her meals for much of her young life, so why not start early? It was a way to feel super motherly. Simple as that.

#2 CREATIVE OUTLET
I’m selfish, I suppose. I like to cook and love projects. I enjoyed reading about and researching baby food making, too. Plus, it was a chance to be creative and enjoy the pretty colors involved.

#3 COST FACTOR
I knew making baby food would save me money, but I didn’t actually realize how much until I got into it. Since I already had the necessary tools on hand and kept my fruit and veggie purchases inexpensive, I saved hundreds of dollars over time. If anyone tells you that you won’t save money making your own baby food, just smile and nod. (They don’t know what they’re talking about!)

#4 FRESH AND NUTRITIOUS
Making your own baby food is an opportunity to provide fruits and veggies at their seasonal peak, and this is perhaps the best argument for making baby food. In some cases I was able to do this, such as giving Jane Darby Alabama-grown squash from our local farmers’ market earlier this summer. Think using grocery store produce is just as good? I learned not necessarily. Research told me “fresh” produce at the grocery store probably isn’t as nutritious as you’d assume, as it was likely picked well before ripening in order to make it to supermarket shelves in perfect condition. Plus, there’s risk for further depleting those good nutrients when cooking (more on that to come.) Fresh is great, but because it isn’t always better, I often just settled with frozen fruits and veggies, as I’d read flash freezing at seasonal peak preserves nutrients in many cases. Plus, the bang I got for my buck didn’t even compare. At one point I paid less for a bag of frozen green beans at Publix, which turned into about five meals, than I would have paid for one jar of organic pre-made green beans. To conclude: If you can master providing your child fruits and veggies at their seasonal peak, you are doing baby food making true justice. But unless you live on a farm, doing this well is really difficult.

#5 VARIETY OF TASTE AND FLAVOR
Many moms make baby food in order to introduce new and unique flavors to their babies. My fellow baby-food-making friend Lisa is great at this and describes it as “developing the baby’s palate.” She fed her son roasted red peppers just the other day! I branched out a little, like giving Jane Darby parsnips (much to my own mother’s horror), but I wasn’t the best at trying new things. I was surprised that many baby food recipes call for items like onions and butter, but I found myself going the simpler route by hitting puree and being done with it.

#6 ORGANIC
I’ve already discovered being 100% organic isn’t going to be a priority for me. When the price is right, I’m game—and I plan to try to give her organic milk, eggs, and meat whenever I can. But insisting that everything she consumes is organic would be impossible at this point, especially with her dabbling in ravioli and butterscotch pudding at daycare. And making your own baby food doesn’t make it organic by any means. You would need to always use organic produce or organic frozen fruits and veggies to pass the test. I did this sometimes by default. For example, I found stores like Whole Foods offered a better variety of frozen vegetables, like frozen sweet potatoes minus the sugary sauce. Therefore, when she got sweet potatoes, she got organic. Of course organic is expensive. Still, if your alternative is buying organic pre-made food, you’d save tons of money making your own organic baby food.

#7 IT’S NOT STORE-BOUGHT
Quality control isn’t a bad thing. I can relate to feeling funny about putting something unnatural in your baby’s system—and this was likely charged by the fact she received only mother’s milk for 10 months. But eventually there’s no avoiding store-bought goods, organic or not (rice cereal, formula, puffs, yogurt..the list goes on and on.) While I can imagine that things like preservatives and other additives might be a concern, for me personally that assumption would be unfounded. I’m uneducated in this area and am therefore not anti-store-bought baby food.

#8 ECO-FRIENDLY (IN SOME CASES)
Much like with #6, going all green is just about impossible for me, and I’m not willing to put in the time and effort in most cases. (Shout out to my brave cloth-diapering friends, though!) However, making your own baby food does mean you aren’t buying and using food packaging—and we’re talking hundreds of tiny jars and plastic containers. With as much food as we feed our babies, not consuming that amount of store-bought food probably makes a difference. Right?

#9 CONVENIENCE
I didn’t really consider this, but I can see convenience playing a role in a decision to make your own baby food. If you’re a great cook and already regularly keep many fruits and vegetables on hand, whipping up some baby food sounds like a good idea. For me, this only happens when I have bananas at the house—which I do often. Good thing bananas are her absolute favorite!

Why are you considering making your own baby food? Are there reasons I haven’t listed above? Are you surprised that making your own food doesn’t equal being organic?

*Disclaimers*

1. I’m no expert. I could have this all completely wrong. Don’t just do what I did, or trust what I say. It’s up to you to do your own research, make your own conclusions, and make your own informed decisions.

2. I’m actually no longer feeding my baby primarily homemade food. More on that decision later.

In tomorrow’s post, Part 2, I’ll cover things to consider before making your own baby food—like time commitment, people’s perceptions, and even what you may be missing by not going with store-bought food.

Part 3: How to Make Your Own Baby Food + My Favorite Resources

Part 4: A Case for Store-Bought Food: What It’s Like on the Other Side

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