The Real Cost of Making Baby Food

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Today it seems like everyone is a super mom – you had your Snoo ordered as soon as you found out you were pregnant, you handmake your kids’ Halloween costume and your Instagram feed looks like straight perfection 24/7. So, it seems obvious that you’d make your baby their babyfood at home from scratch of course, right?

HOLD ON A MINUTE! Have you ever really stopped to think about ALL the costs associated with making baby food? Obviously, there’s a difference in dollars spent, but have you thought about everything else it “costs” you? Probably not… so I’m going to do it for you. Below is a detailed list of all the things you should consider before making the commitment to making your own baby food.

TIME

Do you realize just how much time is involved in making baby food? Sure, when you’re introducing foods for the first time and are dealing with one ingredient, it’s not much of a time drain – smushing a banana or avocado isn’t too big of a deal. But what happens when you want to start getting creative with different ingredients like herbs, spices, super foods, fruits and veggies. Variety is critical to babies’ during the first two years to ensure they’re exposed to as many tastes and textures as possible – no picky eaters, thank you!

Hand preparing a variety of baby food flavors for your little one is a major time commitment. Preparing the equivalent of three meals per day for your baby on a weekly basis will cost you eight – yes, you read that right – EIGHT hours of time. Shopping, prepping, cooking, pureeing and blending takes a lot of time. Here’s a short list of other things you could do to fill eight hours of time each week:

-workout
-take a shower
-sleep
-play with your baby
-have a conversation with your partner
-place an Amazon order
-do a load of laundry
-set up a playdate
-go on a playdate
-catch up with friends over a glass of wine or dinner
-catch up on 8 episodes of your favorite show

FOOD WASTE

Imagine peeling, slicing, roasting and pureeing a two or three pound butternut squash only to find out your baby absolutely hates it? There goes pounds of food to the trash. Maybe you decide to introduce chia seeds and make a big ol’ batch of chia pudding only to find out your little one isn’t digging the texture… more food (and money) in the trash. Baby’s taste buds are super spectacular – they are born with 30,000 taste buds all over their mouths – not just their tongues. The funny thing is, every three months, their tastebuds change completely. This means it’s totally normal for a baby to love a particular blend or ingredient for months at a time only to hate it overnight. Guess what that means… more food waste! Food waste means dollars lost and time wasted.

EXPERTISE

How do you know what will actually work well together and taste good? How do you know when it’s safe to introduce foods like flax seeds, wheat germ oil and spirulina to a baby? This expertise and knowledge takes time to research, absorb and implement. What happens if you absolutely hate spending time in your kitchen? It’s not realistic to turn into Ina Garten overnight. Who wants to spend even more time researching? No thanks!

NUTRITION

How do you know your homemade baby food recipes are nutritionally sufficient to support your baby’s development as they grow? The first two years of life are the most critical when it comes to nourishment – the human brain undergoes rapid growth during this time. (1) Neuroscience research done at the University of Washington shows that by the age of two, the brain is about 80 percent of the size of an adult’s brain. A series of studies has found that poor growth or stunting in the first two years of life leads to irreversible damage, including shorter adult height and decreased birth weight of their own children. They are also at high risk of chronic diseases related to nutrition such as high glucose concentrations, hypertension and increased levels of harmful fats in their blood.

Chances are you are not a dietician. So, how do you know you are giving your baby the necessary vitamins and minerals to support their development? Just because your baby loves sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes are healthy, doesn’t mean you should be feeding them sweet potatoes at every meal – or even every day. It is very true that too much of a good thing can be bad in this situation. This more than anything else is borderline dangerous. All babies should have access to fresh, nutritious baby food. It might be hard to admit it because “mothers know best,” but this is likely something you cannot do for your baby no matter how good your intentions are. Is your baby’s health worth it to make baby food and save a couple of dollars?

(1) https://www.livestrong.com/article/419029-nutrition-brain-development-in-1-2-year-olds/

Michelle Muller
Michelle Muller is co-founder and Chief Mom of Little Spoon. She was raised in Texas, spending much of her childhood on the family farm or in the kitchen with her grandmother. Michelle has always loved food from seed to plate. Now that she is grown and living in NYC with three children of her own, Michelle is passionate about health and wellness for growing families. When not in the Little Spoon test kitchen or writing new articles, you can find Michelle kicking it with her rugrats, hitting every new restaurant she can or in yoga class.
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