When I was pregnant with my first child, I read all of the books new moms are "supposed" to read: the ones about sleep, discipline, eating, and anything else that could possibly happen during their first year. I really wanted to be the mom who used cloth diapers, never used a pacifier, and had their child on a schedule within the first two weeks. Those things did not happen for a variety of reasons. But one thing I was serious about was making my own baby food. It's something I was successful with for both of my kids, but why did I want to go to all of that trouble? It's not really as much trouble as you might think, and there are definitely some good benefits.
1. It's cheaper than buying commercial baby food products. I bought zucchini at the store for a few dollars and it ended up making at least 10 servings of vegetables for my one-year old. That's much less expensive than buying jars of baby food.
2. You are sure the foods you're serving your child don't contain any additives or preservatives.Many commercially made baby foods contain preservatives that allow them to sit on grocery shelves for long periods of time. Homemade baby food can be frozen if you aren't going to use it right away. Some commercial products also contain thickening agents like corn starch or flour, which means your baby is getting less fruits or veggies and more filler.
3. It helps your child develop a taste for fresh fruits and vegetables from the start. As you probably know, fresh, seasonal food typically tastes better. If you taste a jar of pears, it probably tastes blander than a fresh pear that's in season.
4. It's good for the environment. Less bottles and packaging means less waste in landfills. There's also less food waste since you won't have to throw out half-eaten jars of baby food.
5. It allows you to have total control over what your child is eating. By making your own food, you know exactly what your child is eating and whether or not they are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients.
I used to spend an hour or two once a week making batches of food to puree and freeze. Doing small amounts at a time meant that I had a wide variety of foods on hand and the process wasn't terribly time-consuming. I always used ice cube trays with lids to make individual servings that were easy to defrost and serve.
There's nothing wrong with commercial baby foods if you decide that's what is best for you and your family. Most of my friends buy baby food and have children who are just as happy and healthy as mine. But it's another option to consider if you're looking to save money, help the environment and help your children develop a taste for the fresh stuff right off the bat.
What do you think? Did you, do you or would you make baby food for your children? Why or why not?
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