The Pros (and Cons!) of Making Your Own Baby Food

Photo: Getty / The Bump
Photo: Getty / The Bump

Imagine how much easier it would be to raise kids if you didn’t have to feed them? You could blissfully go about your day without having to purée anything or push green beans on anyone. You wouldn’t have to water down juice, cool off oatmeal, or pick the raisins out of raisin bread. And you wouldn’t have to wipe down a highchair, your kitchen floor, and possibly the walls 3-5 times a day!

Feeding your baby is hard enough without adding more work by making your own baby food, right? I mean, isn’t that what prepackaged meals are for? Well, just like every other aspect of parenting, I changed my tune on this once I had a baby of my own. And just like every other aspect of parenting, there are pros and cons to making your own baby food.

Pro

It’s simple. We’re talking about pureeing a sweet potato, not making Coq au Vin. Steaming, mashing, blending — that’s as complicated as baby food needs to be. No spices, complicated ingredients or garnishes necessary.

Con

It’s time-consuming. Yes, it does take more time to wash, peel, steam, and mash some carrots than to pop open a jar. But I know some parents who make a whole bunch of pureed carrots at once, then froze them in ice cube trays for individual servings they can thaw in a jiffy. I was never that organized.

Pro

It’s cheaper. I decided to buy only organic baby food with my second child and let me tell you, that stuff does not come cheap. Plus, it would irk me to look at the ingredients and see that half the jar was water.

Con

It’s not as convenient. Popping a few sealed, no-refrigeration-required jars or pouches of baby food into your diaper bag is way easier, not to mention neater, than packaging and toting your own.

Pro

It’s healthier. Store-bought baby food has additives and preservatives and sometimes food coloring to make it appealing and shelf-stable, unlike food you prepare yourself. When you go straight from the farmer’s market to your kitchen, you know what your baby’s eating.

Con

It’s more aggravating. The shopping, chopping, cooking and storing takes time. The mashing and pureeing makes a mess. (Especially if you forget to put on the top of the blender like me!) And then when you’re done, your child might not even like what you’ve made — like my broccoli-cheese muffin debacle. (Tip: Just because your child likes blueberry muffins does not mean he will gobble down muffins containing stinky green vegetables.)

Of course, there’s no law saying it’s got to be all or nothing. I ended up making most of my baby food and using the store-bought stuff when we were on the go. Or when I was too busy cleaning steamed carrots off the ceiling.

Do you make your own baby food? Why or why not?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 Baby-Food Recipes for Six- to Eight-Month-Olds

Top 10 Baby-Food Cookbooks

New Parent Feeding Guide