jar of baby food

As a parent, we want what is best for our baby. We read baby care books and talk to other parents. Most decisions are relatively easy. However, when it comes to baby food, it is more difficult. We know that most commercial baby foods are just fine. But we wonder if it wouldn’t be better to make our baby’s food. After all, we all know commercially prepared adult meals are high in sodium and less than perfect nutritionally. What about baby food?

To help you make a decision, we have listed the pros and cons of shop bought vs homemade baby food, with a discussion of each to help you decide which to feed your baby. We will begin by looking at homemade baby food.

Pros of Homemade Baby Food

If you make your baby’s food, you know the contents. You can make sure fruits and vegetables are fresh and at the peak of ripeness. Additionally, if you child has an intolerance or is allergic to certain foods, you can eliminate them.

Making your baby’s food allows you to introduce a great deal of variety into your child’s diet. Baby food manufacturers need to be selective in order to address the likes of the majority of babies. This means that many of your baby’s favorites may not be available in shop bought food.

Once you begin making your baby’s food, you will find that it is much less expensive. Many times foods being eaten by your family simply need to be mashed for baby – peas and other soft vegetables, for example.

Finally, you don’t have to worry about running out of shop bought foods. Your cupboards, fridge and garden contain many items suitable for baby’s food.

Cons of Homemade Baby Food

There is convenience in purchasing pre-made baby food. Making homemade food is time consuming. You may need to consider storage for extra kitchen implements, such as strainers, mashers, and grinders. Additionally, the homemade food itself requires space in the refrigerator and/or freezer.

You may find you need to spend more money up-front for supplies and food.  However, don’t buy too much food; your homemade food will not contain the preservatives that shop bought does, so it does not keep for as long.

Pros of Shop Bought Baby Food

Shop bought baby food is more convenient than homemade because it is:

  • Easy to use when traveling
  • Readily available in the varieties your baby likes in many shops and locations
  • Able to be stored for a long time

Cons of Shop Bought Baby Food

The same ingredients that keep shop bought food fresh may not be something you wish to have in your child’s diet. These are not the only contents that may be questionable. To improve taste, sugar and sodium content may be higher than your homemade food.

Shop bought food has a different texture and smell than fresh foods, so it may be harder getting you baby to move to eating table food when they are introduced. Additionally, nutrients may be lost during processing.

If you choose to use shop-bought food, read labels carefully. Most parents who choose to make their baby’s food will still use shop bought food in a pinch. Over time, the cost of store bought food will exceed that of homemade. However, remember that you know the needs of your baby and the demands of your family and work life. Consider the pros and cons of shop bought baby food and homemade baby food and make the choice that is best for you, your family, and your baby.

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