Homemade Baby Food 101: The Advantages of Homemade Baby Food

When your baby is ready to start solids at around six months of age you’ll have a choice to make:  homemade baby food or store bought baby food.  Up until this point you may have exclusively breastfed your baby, which is the most natural form of baby food in the world.  But once your baby eats a wider variety of foods, you may be at a crossroads.

Today we are beginning our three-part series on homemade baby food and we’re starting off by talking about the advantages of making baby food yourself:

There are many benefits of homemade baby food, the first of which is pride in preparing your baby’s food.  It is the same pride you feel when you make a delicious meal for family that everyone praises and enjoys.  While your baby may not oohh and aahh at your homemade baby food puree, his way of showing you he likes it may be by gobbling it up and crying for more.  That’s a great sign of accomplishment for moms who should feel proud their baby enjoys their first taste of homemade cooking.

Homemade Baby Food 101:  The Advantages of Homemade Baby FoodBy making your own baby food, you can control exactly what goes into it and how it is prepared.  You and your baby can walk the produce aisle at the grocery store and pick out the ripest, finest looking fruits and vegetables.  If you prefer organic foods, you have that option as well.  Then you can ensure you wash the produce thoroughly and prepare it within a few days of purchase.  As you make baby food, you also have the opportunity to mix it with purified water to avoid nitrates and other water contamination, or you may want to enhance the nutrient content and flavor by preparing your homemade baby food with breast milk.  Many babies are comforted by the familiar taste of breast milk as they begin to enjoy new foods.

Additionally, you can preserve the nutrients in your baby’s fresh foods through your method of preparation.  Pre-made baby food is cooked at high temperatures to kill off bacteria and other microbes and to ensure a longer shelf life.  But this high-heat process also drains foods of nutrients.  You can choose to sauté or steam vegetables that need to be cooked, which safeguards the nutrients, or you may even puree raw vegetables that are naturally soft enough to mash or run through a food processor.

A commitment to homemade baby food also expands your baby’s food horizons because there are limitless possibilities of what foods you can prepare.  Store bought baby foods only offer certain foods and you are limited by what others think your baby may like.  When you make the baby food, you can expose your baby to countless flavors of grains, fruits and vegetables and broaden his palate.  Furthermore, your baby can enjoy what the entire family is eating, although in puree form.  The concept of a family meal is that everyone eats the same foods.  By preparing your own baby food, your baby can partake in the family meal.

And last but not least, homemade baby food is hands down less expensive than store bought baby food.  While you are offering your baby more nutritious and diverse baby food options and can take pride in doing so, you can also save some money.  Homemade baby food can be frozen so once you make a delicious batch, you can save some for the weeks to come.  Some parents choose not to make their own baby food because it is time-consuming, tedious and requires storage.  But the cost benefit as well as the benefit to your baby may be worth the extra effort.

Over the next week we’ll be diving into how to make homemade baby food for beginners and how to introduce new, unique flavors into your homemade baby food to expand your baby’s palate and avoid becoming a picky eater.  Stay tuned!