urban pacifier – the benefits of making your own baby food

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I love to cook. I find being in the kitchen therapeutic so it was only natural for me to make homemade baby food for my son. Many people ask me why I do it, and often comment that it seems like it would take too much time for them to do it for their children, but they are wrong. Making baby food doesn’t take much time and offers more benefits to you and your child than you may think.  If you can make dinner for yourself, you have enough time to make a batch of baby food that will last you weeks. Here are the benefits (in my opinion) of making your own baby food:

  1. Economics: When you make large batches of baby food (using the fancy baby food makers doesn’t work for this), it allows you to make multiple servings at one time and save food for later.  Here is an example of the savings from my most recent batch of butternut squash:
    • 1 large organic butternut squash: $8.34 (made 56oz of baby food)
    • 1 jar of Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food: $1.45 (4oz) – (36 cents per ounce)
    • 56 ounces of organic baby food in jar: ($20.30)
    • Savings: $11.96                                                                        
  2. Health: Making your own baby food allows you to avoid preservatives, food coloring, salt and other fillers that can be found in store-bought baby food.
  3. Freshness: You can feed your baby seasonally and shop fresh and local – allowing your baby to eat food that it more flavorful and at it’s natural peak.
  4. Variety: There has been some research that says if you expose your child to a variety of food textures and flavors that she will be more open to different foods as she transitions to table food. In addition, making your own food allows you to mix various flavors, making your meal options limitless, and allowing for variety at every meal rather than feeding the same few foods every meal until you finish a jar of food.
  5. Less waste:  When you make your own food you create less waste and you don’t pay for packaging. In addition, you save energy by bypassing the energy it takes to make commercial baby food.

Still not convinced? In my opinion making baby food isn’t for everyone, but it is also not an all-or-nothing endeavor. Maybe you can try and make a few of the easier purees and mix them with store-bought food to see if it is easier than you thought.  Or maybe you find that the price of convenience is worth it to you. Either way I hope you enjoy the journey of introducing your child to the many flavors and colors that the culinary world has to offer.

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