Feeding Your Tot and Your Wallet

Large brand baby food jarred butternut squash - $1.19

Large brand baby food jarred butternut squash – $1.19

Which do you choose to feed your little one?

Actual butternut squash - $1.99

Actual butternut squash – $1.99

If you’re one of the many moms that feed jarred baby food (even organic), you may want to reconsider. In addition to being simple, making homemade baby food has several other advantages.

1) It’s cheaper. Compare the two pictures above. You can pay roughly 80 cents more for a whole butternut squash as you can for one small jar of baby food, and the squash will make at least quadruple the amount of food!

2) It’s fresher! How long has the jarred food actually been in the jar? Oh, they don’t give you a date? That’s probably because they don’t want you to know exactly when it was packed. By making your own, you know just when that food was cooked and pureed. If you grow your own, you even know when it ripened and that no nasties were sprayed on it!

3) No BPA (or BPS, or whatever the industry decides to call it these days in order to label it BPA-free). Baby food jar lids, and even some of the squeeze pouches are lined with BPA. If you haven’t done your research on this awful chemical, it’s been linked to cancers and reproductive problems. Unfortunately, companies that are now advertising BPA-free packaging or toys are only replacing the BPA with a chemical known as BPS… and from early research it looks like BPS is actually worse than BPA. By making your own and freezing in silicone trays (early research seems to put silicone in the clear), you’re avoiding that nasty BPA.

4) Did I mention it’s cheaper?!

I freeze my little ones meals in a silicone tray from Green Sprouts. When he goes to the babysitter, I simply pop out a cube or two of food and put them in a container! Look at the yummy, colorful foods he has to look forward to this week!

baby food1

More on first foods:

Most mainstream pediatricians have bought into the “give rice cereal in a bottle as a first food” hype. Well, I’m not exactly telling you not to listen, but I will tell you that I did not listen. Baby cereals are lacking in nutritional value (the one redeeming quality is perhaps the iron fortification), cause a spike in blood sugar levels if eaten alone, and are difficult for little tummies to digest. Instead, start with vitamin and mineral-rich first foods, cooked (if necessary), pureed, and thinned if need be with a little breastmilk. My son’s first foods (all organic) were: sweet potatoes, sweet peas, carrots, butternut squash, bananas, apples (yep, with cinnamon), peaches, pastured egg yolk and avocado. Our one exception to the cereal rule was steel cut (slow cooking) oats. I also add a little bit of pastured butter to my boy’s veggies when I puree them because butter significantly increases mineral absorption. However, if your little one is sensitive to cow dairy at this point (and many babies are before the age of 1), you should probably omit the butter.

*Fun fact: Canada recommends meat as baby’s first food!

Did you follow the cereal rule? If so, would you do it again? If not, what yummy foods did your little one first try?

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