An important decision mothers make is whether or not to make their baby’s food or buy it already made from the store. Before I even had Beckham, I knew I wanted to make his food. I knew it was nutritionally better and financially cheaper. That’s what I was told and what I had read. I knew I would be a full-time mom by the time he started solids, so I would have the time to do this and felt since that was my job, I didn’t really have another choice.
Well, after 2 months of doing this, I decided to do some research and see if I was really saving money. Nutrition isn’t as big of a deal since I have been reading that now days jarred baby food does not have to contain preservatives due to the canning process of taking the air out which preserves it (some still add preservatives). So I knew I could find some foods that contained the fruit or vegetable and water only. A lot of the foods contained “ascorbic acid” which from my research, seems okay. It’s a naturally organic compound that contains antioxidant properties (I would assume a lemon would be an example of this). Although I don’t believe it to be bad, it’s still an additive.
We primarily shop at Walmart, so I decided to do my research there. They carry Gerber, Earth’s Best, and Beech Nut. Three very good brands. I know EB and BN are known for being organic and not using preservatives. Gerber even has some organic foods.
These pre-made foods range from $0.50-$0.63 for a 4 oz. jar. *EB was .50, Gerber/BN were .63 for a jar.
I bought frozen peaches, green beans, peas, and carrots. I bought fresh butternut squash (first time I’ve ever bought one), sweet potatoes, and apples.
Here are the prices for each:
Peaches (1 bag) – $2.48 (made 9 oz pureed)
Green Beans (half bag) – $0.49 (made 8 oz. pureed)
Peas (1 bag) – $0.98 (made 19.5 oz pureed)
Carrots (decided not to make this round since I already had 2 orange veggies, but this cost $0.98)
Squash (1 butternut) – $2.79 (made 19.5 oz pureed)
Sweet Potato (3) – $1.72 (made 22.5 oz pureed)
Apples Gala (3) – $2.45 (made 8 oz pureed)
Here are my findings:
*the range is based on $0.50-0.63/jar
Peaches – lost $1.22-1.48
Green Beans – saved $0.51-0.77
Peas – saved $1.52-2.17
Squash – lost $0.29-.36
Sweet Potato – saved $1.28-2.06
Apples – lost $1.19-1.45
Overall, I saved about $3.50 if I used the better foods. Not a huge savings. I was actually kind of bummed as I spent time and energy making all his food. So I weighed all the pros and cons, and I have decided to continue making MOST of his foods (read why below). Although, I will probably be buying organic apples in the jar, especially if I can find them for $0.50/jar and use coupons for jarred food, unless fresh apples are on sale.
|All the food in baggies. I haven’t put the pureed squash in ice cube trays yet, but that will make about 24 ice cubes (19.5 oz)|
Here’s what I like about MAKING his foods:
- I know exactly what goes into his foods. No preservatives. I looked at random jars in all brands at the store, and not all of them had just veg/fruit and water, therefore I’d have to pick through the jars I wanted.
- I can freeze it in small amounts which makes mixing and eating a variety much easier. I freeze 3/4 oz. ice cubes. Once they freeze, I put them in a baggie and label them with name and date. He usually eats 2-4 ice cubes at each meal (veggie and fruits). I can make endless combinations or simply two cubes of one veggie/fruit. This is probably the biggest pro for me. Once you open up a jar, you have to use in 2 days, which takes up more room in your fridge and having to remember when we used it, etc… This probably wouldn’t be a problem, but one less hassle.
- Makes me feel like a good mama (I know silly), but putting time and effort into anything you do for your child, makes you feel good.
- Saves money (a little, but I can save more now that I’ve researched). This last shopping trip, I just grabbed the fruit/veggies without looking, but will look for sales/coupons for my own fruit/veggies prior to shopping next time.
Things I like about NOT making his foods (buying jarred foods):
- Time – obviously you save time if you just pick the food up at the store.
- Transport would be easier. For example, when I go to my parents or a friends house for an extended time, I have to pack the homemade food in containers to go, with the thought of keeping it cool. If I had jars, I could just throw them in the diaper bag.
So, you see my pros outweigh my cons, but I’m glad I did the research to see what foods I need to find on sale, what foods are worth making, and that it’s okay to grab a jar every now and then and not feel bad. I hope this helped other mamas as well!
Great post! I like the cost analysis (which I never did). I always made 95% of our kids' "baby food" at home. A cheaper way to do apples is buy a big jar of plain unsweetened applesauce. It is just cooked and blended apples like baby food, but it has more texture, which older babies start to love. I know that for my second kid we made very little food and mostly gave her fresh produce cut up as finger food, starting around 8 months, so the labor intensive stage won't last long. Good luck and have fun!
That is great advice. Thank you! I will definitely do the apples and will be able to start the finger foods soon.
I made pretty much all of Trey's baby food and most of Crisana's, though she wanted to go right to table food and we ended up doing that when she was 9 months old (just feeding her off my plate). I did use jar baby food when we traveled or when taking the homemade stuff was impractical. I also used muffin tins to freeze food once we got to larger portions, and that worked great, too.
Amanda Thompson says
I made most of Kinley's food too! The nice part is you make a big batch and it lasts for 3-4 months, so once I figured out what she'd eat, I would make the biggest batches possible. This saved money and time in the long run. Also, I did the same thing as you with butternut squash…it costs an arm and a leg during the summer but is much cheaper in the winter. Although I think this is one of the most time-consuming foods to make! http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com has great tips and recipes as well as food by age-stage too. This chart is super helpful: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/solidfoodchartbyfood.htm
Thank you ladies! Muffin tins…good idea! Wholesomebabyfood.com is my at home pediatrician when it comes to food 🙂