If you’re a mom of little ones, you know that when baby starts on solids it can eat up or increase your food budget rather dramatically. The good news? It doesn’t have to! Making baby food is super easy and so much cheaper than buying those little jars of mush.
My second baby started on solids a couple months ago, and I was starting to get lazy and think “Maybe I should just buy some baby food.” But then I decided to take it as a challenge and figure out if it really was financially worth it to keep making all his baby food like I had done with our first baby.
The answer was a resounding YES.
So that’s a fairly significant savings. Make it yourself and spend about $0.12 per serving, or buy it at the store and pay $0.66 per serving. That’s more than 5 times the cost!
Note: this is based on the price I typically pay for carrots at my local grocery stores, and the price I found on Amazon for Gerber 1st foods (which came out to $1.32 per 2-pack). If you want to buy organic or all natural baby food, it’s even more expensive.
And just so you don’t think carrots are the only baby food worth making yourself, let’s look at a few others that I’ve run the numbers for.
I can buy a big bunch of bananas at Costco for $1.59 (or for about $0.60/lb at the grocery store). The bunches from Costco usually have about 8 bananas, and I use 1/2 banana to make about the equivalent of one serving of store-bought baby food, about 16 servings per bunch. That means that each serving costs about $0.10, as opposed to the store-bought servings costing $0.66 each – more than 6 times as much! And all you need to do to make baby bananas is mash them up with a fork!
Sweet potatoes regularly go on sale at one of our local grocery stores for $0.88/lb. (0r I can pay full price at about $1.25/lb.). I get about 12 oz. of baby food per pound, so about 5 servings of store-bought baby food. So if I got them at the sale price, that would be about $0.18 per serving, or at full price $0.25 per serving, compared to $0.66 for the store-bought stuff. Not quite as significant as the bananas (store-bought is about 3 times as expensive here), but still a huge savings!
And don’t get fooled by all the baby food maker contraptions out there. Sure, some of them might be convenient, but really all you need is a blender or food processor (or even just a fork for some foods!).
For carrots (and just about any vegetables or fruits – sweet potatoes, apples, squash, etc) I just peel, trim, and roughly chop them, throw them in a pot with enough water to cover them, and boil on the stove until they’re super soft. Then I just dump them in the blender with some of the cooking water (which has some of the nutrients that leech out when cooking), blend until smooth, and it’s done!
Make a big batch, and freeze it! You can freeze most baby food you would make (though things like bananas and avocados don’t freeze well). The easiest way to freeze it is in ice trays. Each ice cube should be 1 oz, so then it’s already measured out for you! Once the food is frozen solid, dump the cubes out of the trays and into a freezer bag, and thaw as needed.
And just for some added helpful info: I bought this book when I was getting ready to start my first baby on solids, and I love it.
It breaks down what foods to introduce at what age, has lots of nutrition information, tips for dealing with different phases, and lots of great recipes (some that even I find delicious! But those are more of the toddler recipes, like for muffins and pancakes…). Some of the recipes are so simplistic that I find them almost funny (really, I think I could figure out to mix their mushed up bananas with their cereal…) but overall, it’s a great resource.