When I got pregnant with Aidan, I was slow to realize all the decisions I’d need to make. I knew the big ones: Are you going to breastfeed? How do you feel about co-sleeping? Are we going to vaccinate? And honestly, for the big, hot button topics I had very clear feelings. It’s when you get into the nitty gritty of parenting, and realize all the choices you need to make, that you come to terms with how overwhelming it all is.
It brings me back to wedding planning. I knew the venue, flowers, food & color scheme almost immediately. But when I had to choose how to fold the napkins? Give me a break! Or when I needed to choose favor boxes – it’s just going to get thrown away anyway.
Parenting has felt the same way. Who cares what brand of drool bibs I buy – I just want bibs that work! Do we really need Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers, or will the “not sensitive” kind work just as well? How about choosing a baby bottle brand – the choices seem endless and they all have unique features – vents, shaped like a breast, easy to hold…
But, the most recent decision I’ve had to make is introducing solids to Aidan.
Where do you start? Will you make them yourself? Is there a specific order to get him a wide variety & expanded palette, but won’t freak him out? How do I keep him from being a picky eater?
After looking into the details, we decided to make SOME, but not all, of his baby food for 2 reasons: cost savings & it’s so easy, why wouldn’t you??
Let’s start with the cost savings:
1 – 3.5oz pouch of organic baby food (like Plum Organics, Just Peaches) = $1.49
1 – 2 pack jar of Gerber (5oz total), basic stage 1 food = about $1.02
Homemade baby food can be so cheap! If you just did basic, non organic veggies…you can buy the Green Giant Steamer bags 5/$5. Each bag takes about 5 minutes in the microwave, give it a quick puree in the food processor, and you can make a solid 20 ounces (using ice cube trays to portion out 1oz servings) for that same $1.
If you want to go the organic route, it can be more time consuming & slightly more expensive, but instead of $1 for 20oz output, you’re looking at around $2-$3 for 20oz…still a huge savings!
More importantly…it’s so easy it’s worth it! Kind of…
A lot of people scoff at the idea of making your own baby food. It’s so time consuming! I can’t imagine making & preparing THAT much food! It’s so much easier to just buy the pouches!
First lesson I learned: use a good food processor. Don’t use your blender. Don’t use a special baby food making processor. A solid food processor makes food prep so easy & fast. It literally blends in seconds. The most time consuming part is preparing the food, but as I mentioned earlier one quick solution is buying frozen fruits & veggies that you just microwave (veggies) or puree from there (fruits).
Second lesson: make the easy stuff, buy the hard stuff. Making sweet potatoes, butternut squash, bananas, carrots, peas, green beans, avocado…to name a few…is SUPER easy! They require little prep & easy to steam/boil/cook. The “hard stuff” (which really just means either expensive, more work for less food – dang pits...or food you’re not “comfortable” preparing) like mangoes, peaches, prunes, & cherries, are worth buying the pouch for.
Third lesson: make a ton up front! Seems like common sense, but spending 2 hours one weekend morning making 6-8 different fruit & veggie options is literally MONTHS of food. Aidan barely eats a couple spoonfuls right now, so it’s more about learning to eat & trying new tastes. Popping a carrot ice cube in the microwave takes 10 seconds and we have hundreds in the freezer. As he gets older we can mix & match the ice cubes to get a “full meal”.
Overall: I HIGHLY recommend trying to make baby food. But keep in mind the varieties at the store you wouldn’t make at home. Maybe quinoa is outside your comfort zone. Maybe you don’t want to fight pitting one thousand cherries or finding the perfectly ripe mango. But for those easy to prepare foods, give it a try!!!!