Recent studies have shown that many commercial baby foods are lacking in nutrition and full of things your baby doesn’t need, like sugar and preservatives. But is homemade worth the hassle? We weighed the pros and cons.
Pro: It’s easy. Pureeing carrots is a far cry from making coq au vin. Steaming, mashing, stirring — that’s as complicated as baby food needs to be.
Con: It’s time consuming. Yes, it does take longer to make your own food than to buy it. But take a tip from Baltimore dad Chi Yan, who would make a big batch of pureed fruits or veggies, then freeze single servings in ice cube trays for quick meals for his son, Henry. “You just pop it out of the freezer and heat it up in the microwave,” Yan says.
Pro: It’s cheaper. Mashing a banana or sweet potato is far less costly than buying a pre-packaged puree that may be half water, anyway.
Con: It’s less convenient. Popping a few sealed, no-refrigeration-required jars of baby food into your diaper bag is way easier, not to mention neater, than preparing and toting your own.
Pro: You control the ingredients. With homemade baby food, “you know what you’re putting into it,” says Yan. “You can buy organic, limit the sodium.”
Con: You may sacrifice variety. It may not be practical to buy, cook, and store a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for your baby at home. Store-bought food allows you to try small quantities of more foods to see what your child likes.
Want to try making your own baby food? Free recipes and tutorials abound online, such as weelicious.com and wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com.