At Cora's 4 month well visit, my doc said it was OK to start foods. I know this is a subject for debate. Some docs say 4 months, some say 6 months. I decided to slowly introduce foods starting with this 4 month visit.
At this point, feeding foods is really for practice, as food should never be a substitution for formula (or breastmilk), so I knew I did not have to dive right it.
Anyway, I really never looked into homemade baby food. To be honest (and NO offense to anyone), I thought it was something for "crunchy" folks. But, I started doing the math. Making my own was going to save tons of money. Plus, I figured that I could make a huge stash and have food for weeks.
Plus, how hard could it be? Cook some fruits and veggies and puree them. Purees are what baby food is - it is not like there is a special science behind it.
I started doing some research and found a great site: Wholesome Baby Food. Not only do they give "recipes", but they tell you how to start, what order to do things in, sample menus, how to store, etc. It has been very helpful.
Now, you might think to yourself - I do not have all the special equipment to make my own baby food. Well, there is NO special equipment that you NEED. Of course, I am sure there are all sorts of gadgets that you can get, but I am just using what I already had in my house: Rice cooker AKA steamer, a blender, ice cube trays. OK - that is a lie. I bought the ice trays - but only because we have an ice maker in the fridge, so we did not have any. I did not buy any type of fancy ice trays, just standard run of the mill ice cube trays.
Basically, you can use fresh fruits and veggies or use frozen ones. There are a bunch of websites out there that will tell you what is better - but basically it does not matter. You really can't use canned because of the preservatives.
I just followed the "recipes" on the site above. After the food is cooked, I just stick it in the blender with some water and blend away. There is no rhyme or reason behind the amount of water, just until I get the consistency that I want.
After blended, put into ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can just put all cubes in a freezer bag.
Each cube is about 1 oz, so you just defrost what you need as you need them. Most jars of baby food are between 2.5 oz and 4 oz.
I decided to make a bunch and just freeze. Not that I am going to get bored (per se), but sometimes it is just easier to get in a groove. Plus, once I am sure Cora is ok with a certain food, I can offer her some variety. We will probably only make our own for the basic fruits and veggies. I can NOT see myself pureeing meats.
This is what I have made so far, along with how much it cost. Store bought baby food is about $0.50 a jar. So, for a 2.5 oz jar, it is about $0.20 an oz. For a 4 oz jar, about $0.12 an oz. Now, this is what I personally made so far, I will add to this post as I make more. You make get more or less based on your liquid amounts and your puree consistency. I am using standard rounding.
Bought: about 2 pounds (fresh)
Cost: $0.79/lb = $1.58
Yield: 22 cubes (oz)
Cost per oz: $0.07
Bought: one bag (fresh)
Yield: 40 cubes (oz)
Cost per oz: $0.07
Bought: 1 medium bag (not sure of oz) (frozen)
Cost: $1.79 [sale]
Yield: 32 cubes (oz)
Cost per oz: $0.06
Bought: 1 bag (minus a few lol) (fresh)
Cost: $1.50 (estimate since there were a few missing. A bag cost $1.99)
Yield: 14 cubes (oz)
Cost per oz: $0.10
Bought: 4 Sweet Potatoes
Cost: $0.69 each = $2.76
Yield: 36 cubes (oz)
Cost per oz: $0.08
In my freezer, I have peas, green beans, and peas & carrots. A large bag was on sale for $1.34, so I could not resist. We don't eat frozen veggies, so I have no idea if this was a good price, but I figured it seemed like a bargain considering the size of the bag.
So, there you have it. I am making my own baby food. Never thought I would say that. But, it is working for now. Cora does not seem to care (not that she had store food lol). Like I said, it will probably just be fruits, veggies, mixes of those. I just can not see cooking up a chicken and sending it through the blender. But, you never know - I might change my mind in a few months.