Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Food ... Buy it or Make it?

So you don't have to be a mom to answer this question. If you plan on having kids you've probably thought about your food choices for them. I knew that I would be a formula feeder (and it turned out it had to be that way anyway) and that I would start him off with rice and then move into the stage one foods at about 4 months.

But I've been doing some thinking about this:

Williams Sonoma sells this baby food maker called Beaba Babycook. It's a steamer, blender, warmer and defroster all in one. It cooks and purees everything in 15 min's or less.

It's got a lot of pluses in my book, the biggest being that I would control the quality of the food my baby gets. It's pretty expensive though.

So will you/do you make your own baby food? Do you have something like this system? I'm thinking of switching to steaming fruits and veggies and blending them in my blender or food processor for B. Right now he gets Gerber Stage One foods.

And yes, this is my SECOND post of the day...Wow. If you missed the giveaway post, it is just below this one!

48 comments:

Amanda said...

That is really neat! I plan on using just a regular food processer for my daughter. She is only 2 mths old, but i used mine to make applesauce already and it tastes amazing. I'm really hoping that I stick w/ the plan to make all of her baby food because it saves money and you know exactly what they are eating...no extra junk!

Lianna Knight said...

I never even considered it...but it sounds SO easy!!! I am going to check into this :) Thanks for sharing!

Catherine said...

Hi! I totally made ALL my kids food-and I didn't have some fancy baby food maker like the one you are looking at. I used a regular food processer, ice cube trays, and freezer bags. I will give many details if you want them...totally think that is why my kids ages 7 and 4 love to try any type of food, love salads, fruits and all veggies...totally would go with making the food and it is so NOT hard or that time commusing...I did while working a full-time teaching job--well if summers off count as full time ;-) ha ha

harlow727 said...

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Food-Mill-1-unit/dp/B00016X0GY

I bought this 9 years ago for my first baby. My mom used the same thing for my brothers and I. (And that was a long time ago!)3 kids later, (and another on the way) this is really the only way to go.

I chop the fruit or veggie onto small chunks and boil or steam them, drain (save the water!) and mill, adding water if needed for consistency. I freeze in Gladware's 2oz containers. Drop in warm water to defrost, and it's done. (Sweet potatoes are easier baked in the skin and then mashed or milled, btw)

I rarely bought a jar of food. This is soooo much healthier and CHEAPER than jarred stuff. Have fun!!
Oh, a good book to get your hands on....http://www.amazon.com/Feed-Me-Im-Yours-Expanded/dp/0671884433
I still have my mother's 32 year old copy. Best baby/toddler food book ever!

Kelly said...

I'm planning to make Harper's food. We will see how it goes but all my friends do it and seem to like it. We aren't starting foods for a few more months so you'll have to let me know how it goes!!!!

LuLu said...

I'm a little ways from being a parent, but as scatter-brained as I am...I'm thinking I'll be buying baby food:) I can definitely see the pros to this though...let us know how it goes!

AJU5's Mom said...

I made 99% of my daughter's food and plan on doing so with the next one(s). The only things I bought we the non-jarred items. I just steamed, pureed in the blender (or later on sent through the grinder on our mixer), and then froze in ice cube trays. It was very easy. My daughter went to finger foods at 9 months, so I didn't even have to worry about meat. It is actually very easy to do!

Megan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Don't waste your money! It's just as easy doing the food processor/ice cube tray thing!

Sara said...

I use my Bimby by Vorwerk and my baby loves this food very much. This baby processer is good too.
Sara.

Amanda said...

I loved making baby food. Its really easy and I swear that's why my second son is such a good eater. I usually used this book and then you can also find recipes on the internet. Though it isn't too hard to make it up, peas+potatos, or sweet potatos+chicken. LOL

Feris said...

I plan on making all the food for my babies... of course I say this now I don´t have any, but that´s the plan :)

Kristi said...

I boil my own fresh and frozen fruits and vegies and then puree them in a babyfood pureer that I got at Babies R Us for $20. But my pureer broke a month ago and since then I have used my blender. It seems to work just the same and it is just a cheap blender from Wal-mart. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a special babyfood maker because the cheap ones do the same thing. But I totally agree on making my own babyfood. It's lots better for them plus lots cheaper. I have twin girls so it saves me money to make my own.

Jenifer said...

I would love to have that but have looked online after seeing it in a baby magazine and it IS expensive...WOW!

Here's what I did...both of my babies nursed and we started on solids at 6 months with each. Ellie was not interested so she started more like 7 months. Ethan on the other hand was all about some food! =)

I bought fresh vegetables (organic if available) and steamed them in my steamer that fits down in one of my large pots. I let each one cool and then pureed them in my blender. Now, I HATE washing the blender but it is much better than the cost of above mentioned gadget and worked beauitfully.

I then bought plain old ice cube trays and spooned each different vegetable into the trays, covered in saran wrap and put in the freezer. When they were completely frozen, I popped them out of the trays, put them in labeled ziplock freezer bags and put back in the freezer. EASY!

I did a good bit of vegetables that one day and it lasted me forever. I wasn't doing it constantly like I thought I would be.

When my little ones were ready to eat, I took out how many ever cubes they needed, put them in a bowl, microwaved them a few seconds, stirred and let cool to the right temperature! Again, EASY!!!

Good luck, can't wait to hear all about it.

Oh, I did buy those neat little containers that come in an ice cube looking tray with little pop tops that they sell in baby catalogs...not worth the expense or trouble. Plain old ice cube trays work just fine. Ended up giving them to Goodwill I think.

Love,
Jenifer

Cathy said...

Ok here comes the old school opinion. I guess I can see the benefits of making your own...freshness, no additives, etc. But I really don't think unless you make it your main mission in life, that you'll have time to do that, especially if you're blessed with more little ones. I used baby food for all 3 of my kids until they were able to chew or digest 'adult' food.

Of course, back then I started them on cereal at about 9 days, fruits at 2 months, veggies at 3 and meat at 4. So they were pretty well rounded early on. And I must say they all turned out to be not only healthy eaters but very healthy physically as well..

Stuart and Sarah Creamer said...

I have also never really thought about that but it looks super and sounds super easy! I think I need to check into that.

Kelli said...

yup i make most of Landyn's food! it's sooo easy. You don't need to spend the money on that machine. It is too small to really work well. I suggest a magic Bullet. I have an off brand of it and it works wonderful! I just either bake or steam his foods, puree them with a bit of water or the cooking liquid, pour into ice cube trays, cover with press and seal wrap, pop them out after frozen and put in ziploc bags! soo easy!! 1 ice cube is about an ounce of food, so 2.5 cubes would be 1 small Gerber container. i'd check out wholesomebabyfood.com. they have some great info on there! Good Luck!

Valerie said...

I have 3 kids and I have both made and bought baby food. Honestly, making it is so easy. I am due in Sept and plan on making my own baby food for this little one. I took one day and made a bunch of different things and then put them in either ice cube trays or little containers (that I got from the dollar store). One day of cooking made a few months worth of baby food. It sounds like more daunting of a task than what it really is. My 3rd child never cared for the jarred variety of food. She liked flavor from the get-go. So for her I simply pureed what we were eating. She is my best eater - my other two will wrinkle their noses at dinner and she says "oh yummy!" :)

And if you get into the habit of making some purees then it's simple to add that into your regular cooking when your little man moves up to table food. (Mac n' cheese w/ carrot puree is very tasty!)

Mary Avery said...

I made our food and it was so easy but at times, not the most convenient. I just baked or boiled whatever and popped it in the food processor then put it in ice cube trays and froze it. I enjoyed making it but it's not for everyone! I looked into the Williams & Sonoma maker but for the price it was just easier to use the food processor!

Leah said...

I make my baby food and it is super easy! No need for a special baby food maker. I just steam it and throw it in the blender and then to the ice cube trays, pop those out when theyre frozen and into a gallon size ziploc bag for each type of food. Some things, such as pumpkin, you can buy canned, just make sure it's the 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. And even canned peaches and pears are okay if its in their own juice. Those you just put directly into into the blender. This web site has all kinds of information and different recipes and what ages for foods, etc: www.wholesomebabyfood.com
I've read what's in some of the jarred baby foods and there's no way I'd give my little girl that stuff! It's simple, healthy and saves loads of money!! Also they can get such a better variety of foods when you make your own!

Tracy said...

I planned on making my food. I checked out a bunch of "recipe" books from the library. Then www.babycheapskates.blogspot.com posted a Target coupon. Basically, you got each jar for like 10 cents or less. So it was much cheaper for me to buy it. I bought so much I ended up giving away half of it. So I bought most of the food, but then I also did my own like my grandma's homemade applesauce or mashed avocados. So I did all of the above. lol

Denise said...

I only make the fruits and veggies really, it's cheaper and easier on me. I just use a blender, I boil the food and let it cool then pour it in the blender and puree and then freeze it and pull it out as needed.

The Allens said...

I got the Babycook for Christmas! It was the only thing I wanted!

Kendra said...

my sister makes her baby food. she steams whatever veg she wants, blends it in her blender while its still hot and then pours it into a ice cube tray and freezes it. Then she puts it into containers or baggies and for each meal she pulls out a cube or two and warms it up...sometimes she'll add rice cereal to make it thicker/more filling. It's a great/cheap way of doing things and def plan on doing this myself one day!

Sarah said...

I totally recommend making your own baby food. It is sooo easy, will save you a lot of money, and you know what goes into it. Not to mention, the jarred stuff doesn't smell/taste very good.

I think if you start them off on "real" food, then they're more likely to be good eaters later on. That's just my opinion, but I did that with my son (sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, green beans, peas, etc), and he will eat just about everything we give him without any complaints.

I used the Magic Bullet, and it is wonderful! It is only about $50, and you can steam the veggies in the Bullet cup in the microwave, and then screw the blade on top and puree - easy clean-up. It gets so smooth you don't have to strain it. While he is still young, you'll want to add water or formula to get it to a thinner consistency.

Avocados and bananas are also a really great, healthy baby food. Just mash them up. I never bought bananas in a jar. They're so cheap (and the jarred bananas aren't any cheaper than the other jarred fruits, which doesn't make sense)and taste much better fresh.

You can check out www.wholesomebabyfoods.com for more ideas.

Good luck.

Sarah

Rachel said...

I mad all of my son's baby food - it was very easy. I just steamed or baked everything, pureed it in a blender and then froze it into individual portions in ice cube trays. I would make a large batch of one or two types of food each week, so it was really easy to do. www.wholesomebabyfood.com has some really great tips.

Elisabeth said...

We've been struggling to have our first for over three years now. So we've had alot of time to plan and prepare for what we would do for our baby. I plan on making our baby's baby food although I'll probably use a food processor or I have thought about buying this since we have so much baby things already So adding this to a wish list wouldn't be so bad even though its $150.

Since you saved so much money on your travel system (awesome we have the same one in the same print) I'd go for this product. Once he's done with baby food you could probably continue to use it to make applesauce. Baby mills are nice but this product does so much more than the mills do. And I know WS offers the baby food containers but babies r us also has them for 1/2 the price (by a different brand) the one container set I like is $10. Yes you can use ice cube trays but these baby food containers have covers on them to keep the frost off.

Rebecca said...

I made my daughters. I just steamed the veggies or fruit in a steamer on the stove them used a mini food processor. Use the water from the steamer to thin your food, it has vitamins and nutrients that have steamed out. I would freeze them in ice cube trays, pop them out when frozen, then store them in freezer bags. So, so easy!

mrosev14 said...

Jenna, I used to make baby food for the triplets I was a nanny for. It was less expensive and I felt like it was so much healthier. You know what is going into the food and that is so important. Have fun with it!

The Van Ordens said...

I made my kids food but just used a blender. This WS one looks really cool! Making food was a little time consuming once a week but I liked knowing they were getting fresh food.

Todd and Courtney said...

Hey Girl! I use that baby food maker from Williams Sonoma and LOVE it. It is pricey BUT we use it for other things as well, like steaming our veggies for dinner too. It's so easy to use, very portable, and small which I love. There are some listed on ebay and you can get it off of www.diapers.com and not pay sales tax. I love it!

Todd and Courtney said...

Sorry to post twice but I've read that people say it's as just as easy to use a blender & food processor. I dont think it is. I did that the 1st time I made Lauren's food and it just takes longer. It's doable, of course, but it does take longer. You have to clean the blender, clean the food processor, etc. If you bought this all in 1 from Williams Sonoma, it's all right there. Just 1 machine, it does everything. I always make 4-5 different foods at once and its incredibly easy to wash it and start over again. And I dont think it's a waste of money as you can use it for adult veggies too...just my opinion though!

Jenn said...

I am a full-time working Mommy and thought I would NOT make baby food. I am doing it with ease! Food processor, magic bullet for the small stuff, ice cube trays, freezer bags and saved containers from Gerber Stages I use when camping, as well as a potato masher now cause we are upgrading textures. So much cheaper for many things and taste better! I love the way my pears taste versus the organic ones I buy in the container. I live off this website...wholesomebabyfood.com. Comment on my blog if you have any questions!

Giggles said...

No kids yet but I am pretty sure we will be buying because we will both be working so we won't have time to make our own.

Shari said...

Don't waste your money. I used a food processor and it worked beautifully. I didn't use ice-cube trays though. I used freezer bags and that worked best for us. I rarely bought food.

Amber said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, not too sure if I've ever commented (shame on me!). Your little guy is adorable and it is so awesome that he is doing so well...praise the Lord!

I use this:

http://www.munchkin.com/products/detail.html?pID=24

It is a handy little food grinder (ya, you gotta turn the crank manually, but it really is so easy!) that you just stick cooked foods into. I made big batches of baby food with it and froze them into ice cube trays. SO easy - and fun!!

I found that my girls (I have 3, my baby is just starting solids) moved so quickly from 'baby' food to chunks of food that they could pick up. Some babies of course like their smooth baby food for longer than others, but this stage goes by so fast that I found spending $20 on my grinder thing was a better choice (for me) than spending a lot of $$ on a fancy blender.

All the best with making your own baby food :)

Gotz Family said...

I made all the food for all 3 of my kids. Not only was it less expensive it was much better for them. I knew exactly what I put in the food and didn't add "additives" like many of the baby foods say. I didn't have any fancy machines, I just steamed the food and used my food processor to mash it up. My kids all loved avocado and would just mash that up and feed it to them like that. You need to research about carrots because I know they don't recommend giving homemade carrots to babies. I stayed away from those until they kids were older. As my youngest got a little older I would puree our dinner and put it in a bottle for him (he couldn't eat with a spoon well becasue of a cleft lip & palate).

Jen said...

I saw these at WS. I think it would be fun to have one and try out for a little bit. Fresh is always better then anything you can buy. They even had made some kind of apple spice bread from it to sample at the store. If you didn't like it/ use it, you could always give it away to a deserving blogger!! :) I just recently started my own blog, but have been following you for a while now. I love your honesty! You have a beautiful family!!

Peter said...

Make your own! It is less expensive and less waste for the environment! You can buy organic fruits/veggies when they are on sale/in season and be doing so much good for your baby. Make sure to check out the organic "Dirty Dozen" list...you don't want to be feeding Brayden pesticides!

Venus said...

We got the BabyCook and absolutely love it! I make the baby food and then freeze it in ice cube trays, dump the frozen cubes in ziplock bags and have homemade babyfood for the next month! It is truly a easy as it sounds and I would definitely reccommend it :)

The Parker's said...

I did a little of both. When I first started her on solids, I made my own.

Once she moved to meats, I just could not get the consistency to something she would eat. Hailey used to be VERY picky about consistency, and if it was even remotely wierd, she gagged until she threw up. So, I bought meats and pureed her fruits and veggies -- steamed, food processor, ice cubes, and strained them! I bought things like prunes, breakfast foods in the jars (b/c she loved those).

Now she's on table foods and just eats what we eat.

My only word of caution is to make sure when and if you make carrots or spinach that you do not use the water you cooked them in to help puree. Most of the other veggies, I just used the water I cooked them in to help puree. With carrots, I used fresh water. Same with spinach. It has something to do with nitrates? wholesomebabyfoods.com has the story there.
Do whatever you think is right! I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here!

xsmom said...

My husband and I made all our own babyfood, organic to boot, it was fun but a lot of work too. I will definetly do it again and recommend it to any other parent. All you have to do is taste jarred veggies or jarred meats and you will definetily want to make your own since you would never want that awful taste in your tiny precious boys mouth! haha the jarred fruits aren't bad, almost tasty but if your making everything else you might as well make the fruits too! BUT my main reason for posting this comment is it was a pain to make because we didnt have a good system. We had a tiny $10 food chopper and those ziploc steam fresh bags and the oven. Those were our methods. If I had known about the the Williams Sonoma appliance, it would have been mine in a hot second, so do it! But the appliance and go for it! And tell us how it goes, maybe even post some pictures!

Jennifer said...

I make my own baby food and it's super easy. I almost bought that for W&S but the food processor is easy, makes bigger batches, and I already owned it.

I use wholesomebabyfood.com for recipes! It's a great website. I also make large batches so that I have enough food for 3 or 4 weeks. It's so nice! I also use organic veggies and fruits. You are so right about knowing what goes in the food. It's such a great feeling!

I freeze the food in ice cube trays and then store them in zip lock bags. I have one bag for each food, then I label and date the bag. Super super easy!!

Oh and I had a little cinnamon to the apples and sweet potatos and Brody loves it! That extra flavor really adds to it!

harlow727 said...

eed to edit my original response (fuzzy pregnancy brain...strange when things come to you at 2AM!) The containers I used were Rubbermaid Take-alongs, and they were 4 oz in size. Sorry!

Lindsay Day said...

I DID make my own baby food (I had trouble breast feeding...so this was my way of making sure she got the very best). My daughter is now 5 and I think she eats much better than her friends. She is used to fresh fruits and veggies, and that is what she loves. I did it the old fashioned way...I steamed the food (microwave or stove top), pureed in the food processor (add the water from steaming), and then froze in ice cube trays. They were 1 oz each. It was wonderful! This new gadget would have made my life so much easier! Go for it! Plan one day every week or two and make a lot. Freeze and label in ziploc bags...you will love it.

ginger said...

I did some of both. When I did "make" baby food I just baked things like sweet potatoes & squash & then froze portions in clean baby food jars. Cheap & easy!
Also, I remember my mom had a food mill for my baby sister & she would take some of whatever we were eating out before she seasoned it & then puree it for her.

Mike, Kacy & Wells said...

I made Wells' baby food using a $20 steamer, a Magic Bullet (because I HATE cleaning the blender & it has a lot of cups so you didn't have to wash all the time) and ice cube trays. I baked the sweet potatoes/squash and didn't do anything to the avocado/banana. Buying applesauce is worth it though - I hate peeling apples. We would go to Ozark Natural Foods or Cook's & I'd stock up, freezing enough food for 2-3 weeks. It was really easy to defrost. Another idea is canned organic veggies that are soaked to remove the sea salt. No steaming required. Or frozen.

Creekmore's said...

Go for making it! I have made all of my baby food for both of my boys (never bought a single jar) and it's really easy. I'm not sure about the system you showed there, I'd have to research it more, but my best friend in baby food making is the Magic Bullet. With my first son, I would spend a day making a large quantaty and freeze it, which really helps in a hurry or when you're going out. In one day I could make enough for about 2 months. I used a blender and food processor and steemed most of my stuff on the stove.

With my 2nd, I only used the Magic Bullet. I would batch cook some things, but mostly I just pureed him what we were eating. If we were having green beans, I would cook double and puree half and put them in the freezer. It took very little time. Bananas and avacados are GREAT first foods because you just mash them with a fork and feed them. Sweet potatoes are good too because you can microwave them, skin on like a baked potato, and mash with a fork, adding water until he can eat thicker foods.

I recommend the book "Super Baby Foods" by Ruth Yaron. Whether you make your own or not, it's a great resource guide. It tells you when to start which foods and how to make them. There are some considerations when making your own. For example, you shouldn't start carrots until 7-9 months because they can contain nitraits. Baby food makers can test for them, you can't in your own kitchen. Again, another reason to use organic when necessary.

She also teaches you how to make your own cereal using different whole grains. Really easy! I didn't do this at first with my first son, but another friend did and told me how easy it was. She was right and it saved a ton of money.

Speaking of, I was curious with my first how much money I really was saving making my own. I took the total of everything I made for 2 months. Then I figured out how much he was eating and went to Wal-Mart and figured up how much it would have cost me if I had bought the same amount in jarred foods. I based in on the middle priced brand of food, not the cheepest, not the most expensive. I saved half. It would have cost me double with jarred food and that even included special things I added to his food like Flax seed and all of the grains I bought to make his cereals (I didn't even figure in the cost of buying boxed cereal). I look forward to seeing how it goes for you.

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