Growing up I always knew that I wanted to have kids one day. I wanted to be a mother and have a big family of my own. With that being said, before having a baby of my own I didn’t really know much about babies. There weren’t many babies in my family for me to be around enough to know what it took to care for a tiny human being. When I got married and my husband and I decided we were ready to grow our family, I started to read everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy, parenting, and babies. Hey! I wanted to be prepared for something I had no knowledge about. I mean if I did become pregnant, I was going to be responsible for another human being’s life. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of questions that I needed answered.
One of the first things I came across was feeding your baby. Breastfeeding vs formula, homemade vs store bought, organic, non gmo, etc. I always new that I wanted to breastfeed my kids. But I had never really thought about what to feed them when the time for solids came. To be honest, I always thought that jarred food was sort of a special food made for babies with extra vitamins and minerals made easy for them to digest and with different flavors. I never really thought that it was supposed to be actual food (if that makes sense). It hadn’t dawned on me that you could make baby food at home with real fruits and vegetables. As soon as I understood this, I knew this was the route I would want to go. By the time I actually became pregnant I had a list of reasons as of why homemade would be the best option for me and my baby.
- 1. Jarred Baby Food taste and texture:
- 2. Nutritional Value:
- 3. Getting baby exposed to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables:
- 4. Saving Money:
Have you ever tried baby food from a jar? It tastes and feels nothing like real food. I mean, when I thought it was a “special food for babies” I figured it was ok because that’s what they needed to eat. But realizing that it’s actually supposed to be real food it really didn’t appeal to me to feed this to my baby as their first foods. I mean the fact that these jarred foods don’t even taste like what they are supposed to be, is probably what makes kids dislike them so much.
They are exposed to a version of these foods that don’t have an appealing taste so they immediately associate the real thing with the first time they had it from a jar. There is nothing like the taste of fresh food. I love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. So it was no brainer that I would provide my baby with the same foods I eat.
It has been proven that overcooking fruits and vegetables diminishes their nutritional value. Providing them with food from a jar that has been packed and sitting in a store aisle for who knows how long means that most likely a lot essential vitamins and minerals are gone. This is certainly something you don’t want for your precious baby. At such a young age, it is essential that they get as many nutrients from food as possible. Yes, before they turn one, babies do get the majority of their needed nutrition from breast milk or formula. But isn’t better that their secondary source of food is providing them with as many health benefits as possible as well?
New babies need as much iron as possible. Vitamin C, B, K, D, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, are all essential vitamins and minerals that will benefit your little one in their development. No jarred food is going to provide them with as many of these nutrients as the real thing. Most fruits can be given to babies raw and vegetables should be steamed for as little time as possible. All of this reduces the amount of vitamins and minerals getting cooked away from the heat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to go in my book!
In addition to the points I have made so far, getting your baby exposed to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is another great benefit of homemade. I don’t know if is just me, but when I see pre-packed baby foods at the stores I always see the same foods and the same combinations. They have the bananas, the apples, the pears, the sweet potatoes, the peas and green beans. But there are so many endless fruits and vegetables you can introduce to your baby from a young age. As they get older and get better at “chewing” you can even add some proteins like chicken and fish to make their meals even more nutritional.
You can’t really find these purees at the store. Again, not with the nutritional value nor taste or texture it should have. See how it all goes back to the same thing? All these reasons are pretty much connected and they all reflect on how your baby will get the best out of fresh homemade baby foods. You can make them some beets, broccoli, mango, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, and so many more.
Lastly, you should also think about the cost of these store bought baby foods. If you add up the prices and how much baby food you need to buy on a weekly basis, it can get very pricey. Buying fresh produce and mixing your own combinations at home is so much cheaper. You can make big batches and freeze them and have plenty of food for months for your little one for a fraction of the cost of jarred food. Specially when the amount of time that it takes to make homemade purees is very little.
As I started introducing Emma to BLW (baby led weaning) and drifting away from purees I would occasionally buy her pouches from the store. I would use them to have at home in case we went out and didn’t have time to make lunch or to use as a side if I didn’t have any vegetables cooked. I quickly realized how expensive it was getting and I was only buying a box of about five pouches a week. I discovered reusable pouches online and stopped buying store bought ones and made my own for Emma.
When you look at it objectively, you can see that homemade baby food is probably the best way to go. At the end of the day, you want your baby to get the most nutrition they can at such an early age. No jarred food is going to compare to the quality of homemade fresh food. Now, if buying jarred food for your baby is what works for your family that’s ok. Please don’t think that you will be judged or looked down at because you decided to go this route. At the end of the day you fed your baby and that’s what matters. You know what’s best for your baby and what works best and is more practical for your family.
My mission is to inform mom’s who may have no idea what decision to make and which way to go. I don’t want moms out there thinking the same way I used to and that store bought baby food is the only option. This is what I found that works for my family. My daughter loves food and there are very little foods that she doesn’t like. I strongly believe that this is because I exposed her to a wide variety of fresh foods since she was four months old. My mom and grandmother did the same with me and I eat everything and I’m a very healthy person. Emma has never been sick with more than a cold (once) and has never had a hospital stay or allergic reaction. And there’s no doubt on my mind the reasons for this are me breastfeeding her for a long time and the eating habits I have instilled in her from a very early age.