Why do I make it?
Before getting pregnant & having Avery, I was never focused on eating “clean”. To be honest, I’m still not. I made better food choices when I was pregnant (when I could actually eat). I still try to make good choices because I’m nursing. I’ve never been a healthy eater & I’m super picky. I’ve known for a long time that I want to set my children up with better food choices & desires.
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely don’t judge ANYONE for what they feed their babies. It’s a very personal decision and each option has its own set of pros and cons. For me, making baby food for Avery is what I’ve chosen to do. It’s what my husband and I are comfortable with.
The first reason is ingredients & potential recalls. Have you ever smelled pre-packaged baby food? I have. It all smells the same. It smells like baby food. Sweet potatoes smell like pears. Maybe that exact comparison is exaggerated, but you know what I mean. Besides that, I didn’t see the sweet potatoes before they were prepared. Were they covered in dirt? Were they washed before they were cooked? Also, I would prefer that Avery gets fresh food, rather than food that has additives to make it less perishable.
Because I’m such a pessimist, I was immediately concerned by the recalls on baby food. I don’t remember what brand or what the food was, but I heard about a recall while I was pregnant & became terrified at the thought of my unborn baby eventually getting sick from pre-packaged baby food.
Now, I know that there are recalls on fresh produce also. Recently there was a recall on apples sold at Fresh Thyme, where I bought all the apples I prepared for Avery. Guess what, I threw my stash away. My point is – I still have to worry about a recall on specific produce; however, I don’t have to worry about the sanitation protocols at the baby food factory being good! I just have to make sure my counter and food processor are clean.
The second reason I chose to make my own baby food is cost. It’s soooooooo much cheaper. Before diving into the idea completely, I researched the food I would give Avery if I was buying it at a store. I settled on the Happy Baby, Plum Organics, and Earth’s Best lines from Target. The prices I’ve seen range from $1.19 to $2.19 per 4 ounces. Let’s break that into an average of $1.50 per 4 ounces for the sake of making my math easier. Avery only eats 2 ounces of food at a time right now. So that would mean that pre-packaged food costs about $0.75 for a single serving for her.
A few weeks ago, I prepped a ton of baby food in only 2 hours! I went to Fresh Thyme and bought all of my fresh produce. Here’s what I made & what it cost:
- 2 bunches of bananas or 15 bananas made 40 servings (at 13 cents per serving).
- 6 mangoes made 13 servings (at 57 cents per serving).
- 1 honeydew made 19 servings (at 10 cents per serving).
- 1 cantaloupe made 20 servings (at 9 cents per serving).
- 8 pears made 14 servings (at 21 cents per serving).
- 2 bags of apples or 17 apples made 44 servings (at 35 cents per serving).
I made 150 servings of food for her for a total cost of $35.24 (or an average of 23 cents per serving). If I would have spent $1.50 per pouch at Target to get the same number of servings, I would have spent $112.50 (or an average of 75 cents per serving). I saved 69% of the cost by making it myself! The money I saved that day specifically paid for my new food processor. Plus, everything is safe in my freezer for 6 months.
The third reason I chose to make my own baby food is taste. Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe that Avery will transition to solid food better by eating purees that I prepare. Veggies that I prepare will taste different than pre-packaged, preserved veggies. I’m not saying that they’ll taste better, but maybe! I do believe that she will have less trouble transitioning to chunks of veggies if they’re prepared exactly the same as the purees she eats.
If you’re curious about making the leap into homemade baby food, I highly suggest this book! I bought it and it made me 100% certain this is what I wanted to do. It’s got lots of information for you, but also tells you exactly what babies can have at different stages & how it make it.
How do I make it?
It’s suprisingly easy! I’ve only made fruit so far, but the prep isn’t any different than how I’ll make veggies.
For the bananas, mangoes, cantaloupe, and honeydew you just remove the peels/skins, cut them in big chunks and puree them in the food processor.
Apples and pears have been the most “needy” for me, so far. You have to peel them and core them before slicing them. I peeled them, and then used an apple corer on both. I got 8 slices from each piece of fruit. Then, I put them on the steam rack in my instant pot for 10 minutes-ish. I pulled them out and dumped them straight into my food processor to puree them.
After any of it is pureed, I place them in either these freezer trays (which are expensive so I only have 4 trays) or 2 ounce ramekins you would get at a restaurant (I found them at my local grocery store but will probably buy them on the following link from Amazon in the future – way cheaper!). I lay the trays flat or stack the ramekins neatly on a cookie sheet or metal pan. I leave everything overnight in the freezer and then place every cube or ramekin into a giant Ziploc that I keep in the freezer.
When it’s time to eat, I pull a cube or cup out of my freezer (or fridge if I planned ahead well). If I need to warm it up, I’ll microwave it for about 20 seconds and voilà! When we’re going to be out, I just take a frozen cube or cup of food with me. I put it in the diaper bag, and within a couple of hours it’s thawed and ready for her to eat.
I just hope this helps you not be overwhelmed by the idea of making your own baby food.