DIY Baby Food: The Pros & Cons
So many highs and lows come with this new gig called parenting. They're mostly highs, but the one low that sticks out in my mind like a sore thumb... is the balance of our checking account. Haha! No, but in all seriousness, having a baby is an expensive thing to do. We've been so blessed to have hand-me-downs, still going through diapers from our baby shower raffles and up until a few months ago, hadn't spent a dime on feeding our son thanks to breastfeeding. But bringing Noah into the world was by no means free. We're still struggling with the hospital bills from his birth and trying to recover from my 6 month maternity leave sans income. So every penny counts! Enter DIY baby food! Below, I'll detail some of the pros & cons of making our own baby food that I've found over the last two months or so that I've been making it for our son.
This is the obvious one, as described above. Now, I will say, it's not always less expensive than buying pre-made food; this totally depends on the ingredients you are purchasing for your food as well as how many servings you're able to yield. For example, sweet potatoes are way worth it, as you can purchase them for dirt cheap (I usually find organic ones for ~$1.50 or less per pound) and high yield of servings (usually about 2-3 four ounce servings per potato once thinned). On the other hand, there are foods not really worth making on your own, such as beets; I paid over $4 for 4 organic beets which I oven roasted, and yielded just one 3 ounce serving. Yeah, #lamesauce. With most pre-made food pouches with organic ingredients varying between $1.19-$1.79 for one serving, it takes doing a little math, but is certainly well worth it, so long as you consider the ingredients you're choosing.
Knowing exactly what's in baby's food
There are way too many stories going viral these days about questionable substances being found in kids' food all the time, be it worms, parasites, mold, or just general grossness. I love the comfort that comes with knowing exactly what is in the food going in my baby's belly, because I'm the one who put it there. It's also way less odd to feed my baby something that will last two months in my freezer as opposed to two years in a cupboard; that just ain't right!
Minimal time consumption
Even the most complex purees I've done so far haven't taken me longer than an hour, while cooking off multiple recipes and servings at once. There are recipes that are even fully raw, where all it takes is a little chopping and either machine or fork mashing to create a meal in less than 5 minutes. Not to mention that one hour or less usually yields enough food for a full week of baby's meals! Even the busiest moms & dads working full time and juggling multiple kids could definitely find the time to make some homemade food for their babes.
Literally the only part about DIY baby food that drives me nuts is the clean up. Usually making purees requires a blender, food processor, or one of the dozens of other small kitchen appliances that come with at least a thousand spare parts. Hard pass, usually. But all the benefits for my little guy are worth the extra effort to clean up and load the dishwasher, so I'll live, and I think you will, too.
I am truly enjoying this new stage and the process of making Noah's food. So you can have an idea, I cook a batch of baby food for about an hour, once, every 7-10 days or so, and he is having servings of about 3-4 ounces twice a day at almost 8 months (of course, with plenty of nursing and puff snacks in between). I like to do a mix of cooked and raw recipes, so that I can puree or fork mash what's ready to go while ingredients that need cooking do their thing. To help me portion, I purchased these different containers which are great for storing in the fridge & freezing, since purees are only good about 3 days in the fridge. There are tons of families out there in the Pinterest universe that go the bulk route and will spend several hours working and yield a month's worth of purees, but I enjoy the weekly process to change up the menu.
I hope that reading along has helped you in the decision-making process of whether or not making baby food is for you! If you're still not sold, my baby food making idol, BabyFoode, has a few more solid reasons for making your own foods, here. I will add that *cultural norms also played a small role in my choice to home cook. In Cuban households, it's very common to make your own baby foods because most of the store bought stuff doesn't come with arroz, frijoles, garbanzos, lentejas, calabasa, and of course the every popular malanga, among many others; all musts in any good Abuelita's kitchen, but not ingredients you'd typically find in the pouches down the baby food aisle, so a cocinar se ha dicho! And in case you're wondering what and how in the world to make your own baby food, I've added a nifty recipe tab to the site. I'm so excited to add to this little virtual cookbook as we learn and try out new recipes, and hope you all will enjoy making your own! Please tag us if you get inspired to make some over on Instagram @dumpydiapersblog and be sure to follow us if you don't already, (: