Lah-Lah, our daughter was about 5 months old when her pediatrician gave us the okay to try baby food. As a mom, that is a HUGE milestone to get really excited about!
Make or buy baby food?
After receiving the doctor’s approval, we went to our local grocery store got a cool convertible high chair, baby bibs, cloth napkins, sippy cups, a package of spoons and forks, and baby food! At first, when we purchased baby food in the first week, it did not appear to be expensive at all! However, over a period of 30 days, we definitely needed to do something quick as this repetitive purchase became a noticeable weekly expense! After talking to my mom about how to make baby food, she said all I needed was vegetables and water! She insisted sweet potato because it’s high in fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C!
Advantages of making baby food at home
- It is really easy make
- Super wallet friendly
- Baby approved
- Mommy made
Basic ingredients and tools you need
- Slow cooker
- Your choice of vegetable, fruit and water…
- A wooden spoon
- 4oz. food storage containers (at least 12 plastic storage containers for freezing)
- If needed, a food processor (or blender) to break down peas
- Hand blender
Store brand versus homemade
I worked out baby food math in chart form to show how much it would cost if we were to continue to purchase brand name baby food versus making it ourselves. ** I am using sweet potato for this chart explanation:
Brand name baby food:
Brand name baby food 4oz. jars were sold in a 2-pack which cost $1.32 at my local grocery store. Prior to making homemade baby food, every week, I purchased the same amount of baby jars, 4, 2-packs at a time, costing $5.28. Now multiplying 12 months by $21.12 that equals to A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY just on baby food alone, or $253.44!
|1||4:2 packs or 8 jars for one 1 wk||5.28|
|2||4:2 packs or 8 jars for one 1 wk||10.56|
|3||4:2 packs or 8 jars for one 1 wk||15.84|
|4||4:2 packs or 8 jars for one 1 wk||21.12|
Making baby food at home:
Quantity of (Large) sweet potato being cooked in slow cooker
0.76 each per (1 large) sweet potato
≈ Food servings (filling up 4 oz. baby food containers)
|1||= 0.76||≈ 3-5|
|2||= 1.52||≈ 6 – 8|
|3||= 2.28||≈ 8 – 10|
|4||= 3.04||≈ 10 – 14|
So based on this chart, making baby food at home, is the winner! It is wwwaaayyyy cheaper and you are more likely to yield more food servings from one LARGE sweet potato than in one store-bought 4 oz. jar ! The best part about making baby food is knowing exactly what is going into baby’s belly!
Skip the Coupons
I acquired a reasonable amount of headaches searching for baby food coupons to help bring down the cost of baby food but to no avail, my efforts were useless because I could not find any! After making my own baby food at home, the thought of coupons did not cross my mind.
Baby food recipe
Like the ingredient listed above, to make baby food, all you need, is a few basic things like a slow cooker, your choice of vegetable, fruit and water…a wooden spoon, and 4oz. food storage containers, also if needed, a food processor (or a blender) to break down food like peas. Most often, I will make food that will last anywhere between 6 to 8 days at a time – no more than that. When I first started making baby food, I only purchased sweet potatoes because it was a safe choice for Lah-Lah and then over time, I combined it with another vegetable or two. These are the combinations that I have had much success with it:
- Sweet potato + peas
- Sweet potato + carrots
- Sweet potato + peas +carrots
- Sweet potato + apple
Introducing table food to Lah-Lah was a stomach-turning breakfast, lunch and dinner adventure because I was so worried about the potential of food allergies!
Here are the steps to making baby food
For this recipe, I chose to make a combination of sweet potato, peas and carrots:
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 carrots
- 2 cups of green peas, (frozen peas are okay too!)
- 3+ cups of water
Pour two cups of peas and one cup of water into processor, then fire it up!! It should look like a bright green paste. Continue to process peas until it has a creamy consistency!
Scrape it out of food processor with a rubber flat spoon! Set the peas aside for now.
Peel both carrots and sweet potatoes and cut into into cubes
Gather all ingredients into slow cooker, pour 3 cups of water, then stir, set temperature on HIGH and time for 6 hours and top it off with cover…then walk away…for about 1 hour.
If baby food looks too dry or loosing too much water, slowly add ½ cup of water, just enough so it doesn’t dry out and stir, then cover top.
As it cooks, the vegetables will become soft enough to mash with a wooden spoon. To break down large pieces. I usually smash large pieces of vegetables against the wall of the pot and put some elbow grease into it then mash, mash, mash (see pic below), this should take a couple of minutes…do this until most of the large pieces are noticeably broken down…then in the words sung by the most talented and unforgettable Bob Marley “Stir it up”! Cover top, let it cook! It’s almost baby food!!!
After slow cooker is cooled down, return with a blender (see below) to create a smoother texture. If consistency is still too thick, slowly add water until you get it to your ideal preference – then stir. At the time of this post, Lah-Lah was 5 months at the time, she began teething with her first tooth poking through her gums. For her, food was made very smooth and creamy (see below). She was learning how to chew, and push food to the back of her throat! As more teeth started to come through, and having more practice with chewing and swallowing, when she was 9-½ months when I gave her “pea-sized” pieces of food so she could practice using her fingers (thumb and pointer) to pick up food and feed herself.
After the you get your desired consistency, and pot cooled down, the only thing left to do is fill plastic containers of baby food. Place all containers in the freezer, you will more than likely have food for 6 to 7 days. As a rule of thumb, try to finish baby food within 7 days.
To defrost frozen baby food, while you’re in the kitchen making dinner or prior to heading to bed, take out as many frozen containers as you need for the next day, place them into the fridge. If by morning, it is still frozen, set it out on the counter for about an hour or two before baby’s feeding time and if needed microwave it for 1 to 2 minutes.
I hope this post was informative and helpful.