Save Money (and Be Healthier!) By Making Your Own Baby Food

It’s no longer just “crunchy” moms that are making their own baby food – all types of mothers are realizing that the process of making meals for their little one is easier, healthier, and cheaper than they ever realized.

These days, moms worry about everything from the background of the daycare provider to the safety of cribs – so why worry about the ingredients in the food your baby eats?

Benefits of making your own baby food range from health to cost to variation. Jarred baby food is cooked at very high temperatures, important for killing bacteria; however, this process also removes much of the food’s nutrients. Additionally, at a price of $1 or more per jar – and little ones can eat four to six jars a day – the cost of commercial baby food can add up quickly.

Another perk of making your own baby food is being able to choose a wide variety of foods for your child to eat, further expanding the number of nutrients he consumes. While baby food aisles are rife with banana, apple, and carrot puree, you’d be hard-pressed to find avocado or papaya purees.

Of course, keep in mind that your baby shouldn’t be introduced to solid food – which is what these purees are, even though it’s not technically “solid” – for the first four to six months of life. Before then, stick to breast milk or formula to meet the child’s nutrition needs. Once she can keep her head up, can sit up with support, and seems interested in your food, you can get her started on solids.

Gathering the Supplies

Making your own baby food can be pricey or it can be cheap – it just depends on which tools you choose to invest in. If you don’t mind a hefty price tag, appliances such as the Beaba Babycook make light work of steaming and pureeing foods for your baby.

However, you don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars, as an immersion blender – which can be purchased for $30 – does a standup job of pureeing steamed foods right in the pot they were cooked in.

In some cases, you might not need anything more than a spoon or fork to mash up foods like avocados, bananas, and potatoes. Once mashed, save the puree in either an ice cube tray or a baby cubes tray, which are BPA-free and come in one- to two-ounce sizes.

Choosing the Food

Your baby can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with certain grains/cereals such as rice and small amounts of meat. When choosing which foods to prepare, opt for organic produce and scrub them thoroughly with a vegetable brush to remove any lingering dirt or pesticides.

While basic foods for babies include fruits such as peaches, pears, bananas, and apples and vegetables such as squash and green beans, avoid giving too many high-nitrate vegetables to your little one. This category includes beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, lettuce, spinach, and turnips. Limit these foods to just one to two tablespoons per feeding.

The Basics

If you’ve ever steamed vegetables, you already know the basics of making baby food. Just scrub the fruits and vegetables, peel and dice them, and add them to boiling water. Let them cook for a few minutes, and then poke them with a fork to gauge if they’re tender. When done, drain the vegetables and puree them. You might need to add a little fluid, such as the cooking water, formula, or breast milk, to make it the right consistency.

Preserving the Food

It makes sense to prepare baby food in batches, but you need a way to preserve it safely. The freezer is your best bet. Just spoon the puree into an ice cube tray and freeze. When they’re set, transfer them to a resealable bag that has been marked with the type of food and the date.

Rather than reaching for a jar of baby food, you can simply pull cubes out of the freezer in the proper portions. Reheat the food in a microwave-safe container, stirring well to avoid hot spots in the food, or thaw it in a small saucepan on the stove.


Just like you don’t like every food you try, your baby might not like every taste you offer. Before cooking in large batches, make a single serving for your baby to taste-test. This also helps ward off potential problems with allergies, as you should try out one food at a time and then wait anywhere from 24 hours to a couple days to make sure your baby doesn’t have a reaction.

Avoid the urge to add salt, sugar, or fat for a flavor enhancer – it does nothing for your baby’s health. However, you can add some mild spices or a little bit of lemon juice.

Of course, making your own baby food does have its set of drawbacks. It takes time to prepare the food, which isn’t something a new mom has in large supply. It can also be much more convenient to grab a jar off the shelf – as it doesn’t need refrigeration until opened – but as long as you have the room to freeze your homemade baby food, it can be a nutritious, practical option for new parents and their little one.

Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor with a degree in journalism from a Big 10 university. She enjoys writing about family and baby topics, including reviewing products such as crib mattresses.

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