My husband and I had our first child while he was (and is) still in school. We chose to make our own baby food. This was no small task, given that I work full time and he goes to school full time. But it was worth it!
I bought frozen veggies at my grocer when they were on sale at 10 for 10, or on sale fresh. I steamed them, which keeps most of the nutrients. I'd put the vegetables in a food processor or blender with a little cooking liquid and puree. (When he was very young and first being introduced to solids, I would then put through a strainer as well.) I adjusted the puree texture as my baby got older and had more teeth. I would freeze portions in ice cube trays.
I never used salt (it can ruin a baby's kidneys) or sugar, but after about 8 months I began using many of the herbs and spices that we use regularly in our home. As my son got older, I was able to introduce many more types of fruits and vegetables to him using this method than what is available in traditional store-bought baby food. As a result, my son eats many more types of fruits and vegetables than many children his age!
I also saved the jars from the few times I did buy baby food and began to use them to freeze portions for travel. Doing this saved us a great deal of money, and my son is healthier for having a wide variety of foods given to him.
I encourage any thrifty parent to purchase, borrow, or check out the book "Super Baby Food" as it gives many wonderful tips on frugal and healthy feeding for babies and young children.
Source: Super Baby Food (Ruth Yaron)
By Sarah from E. Lansing, MI
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Money is really tight right now and we have a 4 month old little boy, so instead of buying his baby food I make it myself. It is really easy, I buy fresh fruit and vegetables, peel the skin and puree it in the blender, and just add water until it is the right consistence. I have made carrots, squash, peaches, apples. It is fun and saves lots of money!
Welcome to "mommyhood". I did the exact same thing when I had my first child. When my second child was born, I was better financially but I enjoyed making my own babyfood anyways. The babyfood that you make has to be more healthy than what is "organic" in a jar that can last for 2 years. LOL (07/29/2005)
Have a question? Do you have to cook the fruit and veggies first before blending? Grandson is just starting to eat baby food and I want to start doing our own because of same reason~money~+ we have our own garden and no chemicals on our veggies. Thanks (07/29/2005)
By Ruth Kennedy
If it is a hard vegetable like carrots or squash, yes it needs to be cooked. But like the fruit, I just puree and freeze it. I freeze them in ice cube trays and them pop them out and put them in baggies and take out one of two when it is time to feed my baby.
I used "The Natural Baby Food Cookbook," by Margaret Elizabeth Kenda and Phyllis S. Williams.
ISBN 0-380-60640-2. Great recipes, very healthy and do-able. I bought it all over again years later when I saw it in a store. Wanted to have it for the time in the far off future when we have grandchildren! (07/29/2005)
I made all my own baby food for 4 kids, It wasn't that I can't afford to buy babyfood, I guess I try to do everything my Grandmother did with her babies, Hey it work, my 12 year old is over 6 ft 2 in.
To save time and make bigger batches. I used to put the food in ice cube trays and after it was frozen I put it in sealed bags in the freezer. Then take out only what you need for a meal at a time. Defrost or Microwave. (07/30/2005)
When my Mother came to America from Germany, she tasted the prepared baby food and thought it was awful. She would reserve some the unseasoned or lightly seasoned food and buzz it in a blender for me to eat. Perhaps this is why I was never a "fussy" eater as a toddler and teen. I think it was because my taste buds were exposed to real foods with real flavor. (12/11/2005)
Ever pick up all those cute little jars of baby food in your grocery store? As your baby gets older you find that those specialty jars get more and more expensive. Think about what's in those little jars and that's when you start saving money. You can do this yourself. You already know about introducing your child to new foods slowly, so here's how to make those simple foods that they love.
If you just want to give your baby a simple vegetable like carrots, then put carrot pieces with some bottled water into the microwave and cook until they are tender. Then puree the carrots until they are the right consistency for your child. Bananas are even simpler. Just mash them and add a little breast milk or formula to desired consistency. As I gradually introduced my children to new foods I finally ended up just taking what we ate and putting it in the blender. They had spaghetti, beef stew, mashed potatoes, simple soups, etc. Once you have made your smoothed out dishes then put them in an ice cube tray and freeze them. You can pop out those little chunks of baby food and put them in a ziploc bag, label them and put them back in the freezer. With all the costs of a little one, having one area where you can cut down helps. Here are a few recipes for baby food but always remember, the simpler the better.
A nutritious, smooth dish with a bit of texture for older infants. (or broth or leftover ooking liquid from cooking vegetables) 1 teaspoon sweet butter (optional) Place rice and carrots in a saucepan with the water and cover. Simmer until the water is absorbed--about 30 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, puree in blender or food processor with butter until smooth refrigerate, or freeze leftovers in ice cube tray. Makes 1-1/ cups .
This recipe take from "Baby's First Helpings" by Chris Casson Madden
Formula, breast milk, or cooking water (about 8 teaspoons)
Boil or steam peas for 7 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and puree in your food processor or blender with some of the steam water or formula or breast milk until very smooth. Remove from the blender and mash with butter. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in ice cube trays. Makes 2-8 servings.
This recipe taken From "Baby's First Helpings" by Chris Casson Madden
About The Author: Teresa Higginbotham writes articles about frugal living and homeschooling. She is also responsible for the popular site "Tightwad Tess" at http://www.tightwadtess.com where she features articles on frugal living and family life. Her other site, "The Frugal Homeschooler", features articles on homeschooling with a tightwad touch and you can visit there at http://pages.ivillage.com/frugalhomeschooler. She has free newsletters you can subscribe to at both sites.
Hey! I had thought about doing this because I am a stay at home mother and the money is tight. Those little jars of baby food are so expensive and they are gone in no time. Can you really freeze homemade baby food like that I have never heard of that and that is a great idea! So all you do is put some of your dinner or something that you want your baby to have in the blender and that's it, that sounds so easy. Thank you so much!(06/20/2004)
Hi to all mothers. I have 3 children myself and I only gave them jars in emergencies. It's really very easy to do and you KNOW what you're feeding your children. I usually made everything fresh, it takes so little time and you always have the benefits of fresh vitamins. Depending on the age, just use 1 small potato, any veggie, the more you get your child used to different foods, the better and a tiny piece of meat (chicken works fine). Steam or microwave and just mash everything with a fork. Putting it in the blender causes the vitamins to oxidise because of all the air beaten into it and you lose all your benefits. Don't use seasoning, the child gets to know the REAL taste of food and it's much healthier. Fruitporridge is also very easy to make and it tastes sooo good that sometimes I still have to make it for my kids who are now 9,8 and 6.I even had to make extra's for hubby when they were small.... Just take any fruit, and a soft cookie like "betterfood".Break the cookie in smaller pieces, pour fresh orange juice over it (to soak) and then add any fruit according to season. Mash everything with a fork or rasp harder fruit ,like apple.Most babies just love it. If you think this all takes too much time, think of the benefits for your babies. I always stayed working and combine, kids, house and work and I'm still alive (lol) It's worth putting some effort in important things. I now have very healthy, sporty, slim children ! Good eating habits start from VERY early. (06/23/2004)
With a little planning, and a blender, a fork, a strainer, a food mill or a baby food grinder, you can make foods for your baby at home.