Naturally, as parents, we want to do the best thing for our children. Especially when it comes to the food they’re eating. Now your little one is ready to be introduced to solid foods- are you going to buy jars from the store? Or are you going to purée food at home for them? What about Baby Led Weaning? It’s not always an easy choice as there are lots of factors that sway the decision, such as time and cost.
But what are the benefits and risks in our choice of baby food?
Here, we give you a breakdown of the main pros and cons associated with both store bought and homemade baby food.
Store Bought Baby Food: The Benefits
Saves you a great deal of precious time: For many parents, the biggest benefit of choosing ready
made baby food from the store is convenience. Homemaking the meals seems so time consuming- cooking and preparing lots and lots of small, perfectly measured servings that just end up all over the floor and walls…
Whereas, prepackaged baby foods are ready to go and come in readily
measured sized pots or jars. If they end up on the floor, who cares! I’ll pop open a new one.
Less cautiousness and care needed for preparation and cleaning: When you’re preparing
homemade baby food, it’s essential that all of the resources and materials used be cleaned thoroughly.
Then there’s the relentless worry in the back of your mind of food contamination. There is more trust
there with store purchased jars.
Less freezing & storage: Store bought baby food doesn’t need to take up room in the refrigerator
unless it’s already opened. There’s no need for freezer storage for long time use or fiddly, messy Ziploc
Making a large batch of something for them not to want it whatsoever can be soul destroying and can mount up to a lot of food waste. And with batch homemaking, I always
feel pressure to have it eaten before it goes off and creates more waste.
Store Bought Baby Food: The ProblemsForever scanning labels for additives and other chemicals: It is essential to read the labels carefully
before feeding to your precious little one. Some jars of baby food can contain corn syrup and added
salts or sugars, which are things you do not want to include in your baby’s diet- especially this early on.
When introducing their sensitive little bodies to solid foods, go for the ones that only include fruits,
vegetables and water added (or any foods that DON’T include ingredients that aren’t real, natural foods).
You have no control over the quality of ingredients: When you make your own baby food, you source
all of the raw ingredients, so you can guarantee the freshness and quality of the meals. Unfortunately, with store-bought food you have no real idea of how it was made and what kind of produce it was made with. Also it is likely to contain elements of pesticides unless organic.
Loss of the good stuff: Jarred food is usually cooked at extremely high temperatures in order to kill any
bacteria, so that it can be stored for longer. And we all know that high temperatures like these will also
kill off the majority of the ingredient’s nutrients, vitamins and even the taste. Not what we signed up for.
Can be harsh on your budget, especially for Organic labels: Organic brands of ready-made baby food come highly recommended, as we can be sure that our little one’s meals are free from pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and other nasty and harmful chemicals. But this comes at a price, as the organic brands are significantly more expensive.Taste combinations can be… interesting: Have you seen the baby-food challenge phenomenon
circulating the Internet? When you open the lids and release the smells of even some of the branded
‘high quality’ products, it can be quite pungent to say the least. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out
what on Earth the flavour is supposed to be from the smell and taste of it. And it’s sure not as easy
as homemade food to know what herbs or other ingredients to mix in to make it tasty.
Homemade Baby Food: The Benefits
You have more control over what your baby is eating: You seize the control! If you are
homemaking your little one’s food, you have the self-assurance that only pure and fresh ingredients
are being used, with no nasty additives like salt or sugar as they can be quite bad for your baby’s health.
If you’re in control of the recipe, then you are in control of your baby’s nutrient intake, and you can
sleep well at night knowing that the ingredients really are fresh and that your little angel is consuming nothing nasty. You can rely on your own cooking more when you know how it is being stored. Products that are BpA and toxin free are what I always go for, ensuring that no chemicals from jars
or containers can leak into the food.
Pleasant on your purse: It might surprise you that (even with buying the highest quality produce)
homemaking your baby food is cheaper. When buying endless jars and pots, you’re paying for the brand
name and the storage, too. Homemaking is at least 5 times cheaper than store bought in the long run,
as you can batch cook for the whole week with one bag of ingredients.
Enjoy using great produce and fun recipes: Homemaking means you can really experiment with what your baby likes, and you can even whip them up what the rest of the family is having for dinner. You can choose out of a vast variety of the freshest, nutrient-packed ingredients and try some great concoctions, or even grow the ingredients yourself!Don’t lose those all-important nutrients: There are methods to prepare your baby’s meals that actually help to retain the natural nutrients, such as roasting or steaming. When we cook using these
methods, our babies can still enjoy and familiarize with some really great tastes as well as reaping the
benefits from the food’s natural vitamins and nutrients.
Homemade Baby Food: The ProblemsFinding the time: Time! What time? We are parents- we don’t have time for anything! Finding the time
is the most difficult element to homemaking all of your baby’s meals. But it can seem the most daunting at the beginning, purely because your knowledge and understanding of what your little one needs is
all brand new. The trick is to get organised and have an efficient plan, which is the main reason we
created this step by step guide for mothers and parents like us. With forward planning you can plan
your daily meals and therefore your shopping list, so you can do the same with your baby. Arm yourself with the best tools available to help you get organised, too. Things such as our Tutti Bimbi Baby Food
Freezer Tray help you batch cook meals that are ready to pop out into the perfect sized dinner. Best
of all you can use it as storage in the freezer or refrigerator, as well as using it in the microwave,
oven and dishwasher. They’re affordable and easily stackable, so planning in advance has never really been easier.
Can I do a bit of both?
Will you be awful parents if you do decide to give your baby food from store bought jars?
No, of course not! I made as much homemade baby food as I possibly could, but I would
often buy jars or sachets for the times when I was out or travelling- times where it is impossible to be
making homemade baby meals! There are some really good brands out there that we can trust to feed our little ones without worrying too much. The truth is that everyone has their own preference and
it’s extremely difficult to be organised all the time, especially when we’re out and about with children.
So, follow your instincts and go with a ratio or method that fits in with your family’s lifestyle and values.
When choosing between store bought and homemade baby food, we should be making decisions
based on both our lifestyles and our little one’s needs. It’s hard but we shouldn’t be comparing
ourselves to other parents, because every family and every baby is different. Focus on ensuring your
child a well rounded, healthy and fun diet and you really cannot go wrong!