I have had quite a few questions from pregnant friends and new moms who would like to know how I make our new baby’s food. When it comes to baby food I go for common sense, being health-conscious, and staying within our family’s food budget. There are great websites out there with charts and recipes, such as Wholesomebabyfood, and there are all kinds of fancy gadgets marketed to parents in this category. It’s up to you how basic or fancy, inexpensive or expensive you want this to be. I keep in mind that our great grandmothers did this and probably did not have access to a Beaba BabyCook. That helps me keep cost in perspective.
Re-purposed glass jars filled with homemade baby food.
There are lists to help you budget for your new baby that recommend budgeting $50-100 a month for baby food (solids, not formula). With our first baby I spent an average of $57 a month with a combo of making her food and buying some organic and non-organic. I used some coupons but wasn’t very good at getting deals back then. I have been making our new baby’s food for 2 months and have spent an average of $30 a month. Through our garden and coupons I have still kept us right around our $400 per month grocery budget. The only prepared food I have bought is a few boxes of oatmeal that were on sale for $1 and I had a 55 cents off 2 boxes coupon that doubled. The rest of the money went toward fruit, vegetables, and organic oats.
Above: Delicious blueberries from a friend’s farm!
Here are the gadgets I use:
Cuisinart Pots (We’ve had this set since we tied the knot over 8 years ago.)
Steamer Basket ( $3 at Walmart.)
Blender (This isn’t our exact model but it’s the same brand and was around $29.99.)
Immersion Blender ( This is the only gadget I bought with the baby in mind, clean up is faster than with the traditional blender. I did not have this for baby #1.)
I will note that I breastfeed on both sides before offering solids. I am more concerned about making it at least one year nursing and keeping up my supply than I am about the baby being on solids. Though, both of our daughters have ended up loving solids. I can’t believe how much they ate/eat at a young age.
Top: Peas from our garden.
Bottom: Peas turned into baby food.
With baby #1 I made large batches of food and froze it. It seemed everywhere I looked it was recommended to use ice cube trays and freeze little cubes. I actually really disliked that. Storing the food, cooking huge batches, and defrosting it was not that fun to me. For baby #2 I cook food for her every 2nd or 3rd night and keep it in the fridge in tightly closed glass jars. I love it. Mashing a banana or serving organic yogurt doesn’t take any cooking. So those are great fills in if you’re tired of roasting and steaming.
Just a note- It is recommended to keep prepared baby food in the fridge no more than 48-72 hours.
Final note- I drafted this post when Baby #2 was about 8 months old. She is now days away from 13 months and still breastfed 4x per day, though she’s also offered organic cow’s milk. I ended up spending less of our budget on her food as she got older and could eat homemade whole wheat muffins, soft bits of non-pureed food, or share the same type of yogurt with her sister (Trader Joe’s Whole Milk Organic 32 oz tub is a great deal!) . It took a little while to get in the groove of being thrifty, yet making healthy baby food but it was a great few months! Our garden and the gardens of a few friends and family really helped out with the healthy and inexpensive aspect. My mother in law let us pick a ton of green beans (we canned 21 quarts for us and froze 6 gallon sized-bags specifically for the baby) and a friend with a blueberry farm gave us a gallon of blueberries which worked great for smoothies, blueberry-apple sauce, and blueberry-peach sauce for baby. Fresh food is one of the best gifts you can give!