Cost advantages of cooking for baby

Is making your own baby food really cheaper than buying off-the-shelf baby food? I’ve had a number of friends say that, yes indeed; making your own baby food has a number of benefits—one of them being a cost savings. So, I decided to give it a try and finally answer the question that had been festering in the back of my mind since my child started eating solids. (Oh, the things new mothers worry about!)

There are tons of online resources covering this topic including how-to videos on YouTube and recipes. Since Blogging for Change is about how to spend wisely, I’ll spare you the details on the actual preparation of the food. Although, one important detail is that after pureeing the foods, I put the puree into ice cube trays and froze it to make individual servings.

One Sunday afternoon, I spent an hour, from start to finish, preparing peas, summer squash, chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans.

My calculations are based on the following scenario:

-I was buying a total of 4-6 packages of stage 2 fruits and 4-5 stage 2 vegetables. Each two pack costs around $.93. Thus, the daily cost per serving is roughly $.46. (Of course this will vary based on where you live.)
-Two “cubes” equals one container of stage 2 off-the-shelf food. (So, 1 serving = 2 cubes)
-My kiddo eats 1-2 fruits and 2 vegetables each day. (3 total)

Squash (fresh): $1.61
Total: 8 cubes
$.20/cube = $.40 per serving

Sweet potatoes (fresh): $3.67 (3.25 lbs)
Total: 24 cubes
$.15/cube = $.30 per serving

Chicken (frozen): 5-6 breast tenders/bag is $9.88 - $.50/each - $3.00 (6 pieces)
Total – 8 cubes
$.37/cube = $.74 per serving

Green beans (frozen): $2.23
Total – 16 cubes
$.13/cube = $.27 per serving

Average cost per serving: $.43

When it comes down to it, you have to ask yourself if a $50 savings is really worth the time. From a working mother, a lot of times convenience offers a premium that I don’t mind paying. Plus, looking at an annual savings is a bit skewed because your child’s eating habits will change quite a bit in a year’s time. Ultimately, I will continue making my baby food, but will also supplement with off-the-shelf baby food.

A few things I wish I had known:

-A good blending device (blender or food processor) is a good thing. My food processor doesn’t puree all that great.

-Hidden costs that I’m not accounting for include a food processor and/or blender, knives, vegetable skinner, ice cube trays, etc. You may want to take that into consideration before jumping in.

-Peas go everywhere. Somehow, I was finding smashed peas around my kitchen for weeks.

-The kiddo doesn’t like her green beans with chunks – forcing me to re-puree before each meal using the blender equaling more prep time.

-In the last couple weeks, I’ve started blending the things we’re having for dinner, which is a savings.

Do you have the time? What tricks or other resources do you use when making food for your baby?

Courtney Velek is a former marketing manager at MMI.