Baby Food Making: Buying pouches vs. making ones own...and is it worth the hassle (also my tried and
Time...the factor/ word that goes into all decision making in our lives. Do I have enough of it to achieve whatever the goal or task of the moment is and how do I get more of it to wind down (because if we're being totally honest I have yet to meet a person who has stated that they don't want more wind down/ relaxation and if you have please introduce me to them so that I may pick their brain on how to get where they are). So it must be mind boggling to someone to read a post in which i'm debating on whether or not you should make your littles' one food or buy it . And no my debate is in no way centered around what's healthiest for your little one, i'm not that parent I believe we all do what we can most days and choices are different and appropriate for each family. Way too many judgmental people out here already for me to want to add to the pot. This post is just on what has worked for my family, what I like in terms of food for the littles ones and why.
First up making your own baby food pouches can be simple and economical. Why did I choose this option I sometimes get asked by people. My mother who was a career working mom made both my sister and my baby food. I figured if she could do it then i'd give it to a try with my first and realized that it worked for our family so I used it with my second as well. What she would do is cook different veggies and whatnot and puree them in a blender and pour the puree in ice cube trays and freeze. And when she wanted to feed us a portion she would just heat it up in the microwave...yes I heard what I just wrote, she took all the time to make us homemade meals to then go and add radioactive waves in the end, like I said this a no judgement zone and i'm a 80's baby, my family threw everything in the microwave and yet we all have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. I also need to preface that I can become very economical at times (like I how i didn't use the word cheap) and the dollars and cents of making my own baby food for at least some of the foods my kids eat heavily on made sense for me. Pouches for baby food range in price from $.69 (store brand) to upwards of $1.89 (organic, small batches company) with most pouches averaging somewhere in the middle. For me, when I used them I used an organic brand that ran $1.39 a pouch. That can add up pretty quickly if you use 3 pouches a day in the early stages of your baby starting to eat pureed foods and in the toddler phases when they can be used for a meal and snacks. My kid are big fruit and veggie and starch eaters not a lot of meat and in the first years of life they didn't have any and so I started to do the math on how much I could save if I made batches of their fav foods for the week. For instance I love to buy the Baby Brezza Food Pouches. They come in a pack of ten for $9.99 and you can get them at target or amazon and other stores. I inserted a link to them on Amazon just in case you wanted a reference. Most of time I could get a 1-2lb of organic apples for anywhere between $2.39 and $3.00. This bag of apples easily fills 5-6 pouches meaning most of the time i've saving about $5.00 each time I make my own. Now some people will say that the peace of mind from not having to make your own is worth the $5. For me that's not the case because all I do to make the apple sauce pouches is pick an apple that's relatively sweet like a gala or fuji and peel, slice into large pieces separating it from the core and throw it into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I do this while making dinner for the night or meal prepping on the weekends (point being i'm already in the kitchen). Once done I put 1/4 cup of that water that the apples have been cooked in to the side and drain the rest. I then put all my cooked apples in a blender and add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg (for my first child I used my baby bullet machine ) and puree to the consistency that I like. I then just transfer them into the pouches and store everything in the fridge for the week and for when we go on road trips. I do this with sweet potatoes, squash, pears, peas and carrots and I like to use the pouches for yogurt as well. I realized early on that for the baby based yogurts on the market you pay around $4.19 a pack for a 6 pack but for organic vanilla or plain yogurt you can pay around $3.00 for a quart, make a puree to add to it and put it into pouches. A quart last longer in that it gets you more servings for your money and you still know what you're giving your little one in terms of ingredients.
As my children get older I get more "fancy" in my purees and one of my favorite books I used for my oldest, when I didn't come up with my recipes myself was a recipe book titled "Les Petits Plats Francais: Baby Gourmet" by Jenny Carenco in which the author lays out ages and food recipes to try with your littles ones by age to help them with their ever increasing palate. I also have a great spaghetti recipe I used for my oldest that you can interchange to make it gluten free that I comprised when he was little to make my own rendition of spaghettios. I'll be posting that in another post.
So, do you agree with making your own or buying? What works best for your family? I'd love to hear your thoughts!