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Feed Baby, Save Money

It is a special day at my house, Baby Food Day.  It is the day I whip up several batches of food for my 10 month old.  In one afternoon I can get enough done to last me about a month.  Parents need not be intimidated by the idea of making their own baby food.  I am no Betty Crocker, believe me, but I have made almost all of the food my baby has consumed in his life.  Here are some great reasons for taking on this task.  You have total control over what my baby is eating, no mystery ingredients.  Pediatricians recommend trying new foods one at a time to be safe about possible allergies, but most pre-made baby foods are mixtures, making that difficult.  If you’re interested in being green, making your baby food means no packaging, no shipping, no factory pollutions.  And the best reason of all, you save money $$$!

So, I know you are asking if making your own baby food will really save you money. Absolutely! Here are some advertised prices at my local supermarket.  Check out the numbers.

Organic sweet potatoes:  5 lb bag for $3.99 vs. a 4 oz jar of regular sweet potatoes for $1.19

Red delicious apples: 99 cents a pound or 99 cents for a 4 oz jar

Broccoli: 1.29 per lb. or $1.38 for a broccoli with carrots and cheese mix.  Jars of doctor recommended plain broccoli, to help you monitor allergies, are nowhere to be found.

Now, one small caveat: making your own baby food can have a greater upfront cost if you don’t have the right equipment, but that initial cost pays for itself very quickly. Here are the basics you will need to get started and some things I found helpful once I got started myself.

What you need:

Some type of food processor.  Making baby food is essentially steaming fruits, vegetables, and meat and blending them into a puree. There are some special machines specifically intended for baby food such as the Baby Brezza, Baby Bullet, and the Beaba Babycook but you can get by with a blender and a pot with a steaming insert, or a rice cooker with a steam basket.

Good knives.  When I first started making baby food I bought a butternut squash.  I got out my wedding gift knives that I thought were “fine” and went at it.  Ummm, have you ever tried to cut steel with a spaghetti noodle?  It was awful.  So, a decent set of knives is a good investment.  And you don’t need a huge 20 knife set in a block.  One serrated, one butcher, one boning, and one paring knife is plenty.  Just remember to take care of them, no dishwasher or steel wool to clean them.  You can try to sharpen them yourself but I recommend taking them to a professional.

Storage containers.  To make enough food for several weeks at a time you need some storage options.  A lot of baby food makers have mini storage containers; some even have a changeable date feature so there is no guessing about the age of the food.  These are nice for keeping food ready to go in the refrigerator or safe for later in the freezer.  You can always find your own storage containers, mini individual serving sizes or larger ones, even ice trays work.  I use all sizes.

Bonus helpful hint:  Don’t forget about the easy ready-for-baby foods like bananas and avocados, just mash and go.  Why would you pay over a dollar for a jar of bananas when a banana goes for about 10 cents?

It has been very satisfying for me to make my baby’s food, not only financially but also satisfying just knowing I am giving him the best I can.  This undertaking seemed daunting at first, but after I got set up and organized it has been smooth sailing and smooth potatoes. 

Have you ever figured a total cost for feeding your baby?  Do you have any money saving tips for making baby food yourself?

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