The benefits of home made baby food are, in my mind, almost innumerable. Just to state a few, we've got:
Enhanced flavor - have you ever tasted jarred baby food? The stuff is intentionally made blander than adult food because supposedly that's easier on baby's growing taste buds. Homemade baby food or blenderized adult foods, in contrast, have the same nutritional input as we get as adults and have quite strong tastes in a lot of cases. Sure, there may be flavors your little one doesn't like... but you're teaching them about real food taste from day 1 of eating solids-- as a feeding therapist, I think that's great.
Caloric/Nutrient density - How about looking at the nutrition information on the back side? It is quite low in caloric density, meaning that your baby can eat and eat it, but it doesn't actually add much nutritional value for them. Yes, when they're little, they should be getting "most" of their calories from their liquid intake (breast milk or formula) because it's complete nutrition. But why does that mean we have to minimize what they're getting in their fruits and veggies
Cost - that's right, ladies and gents... it's frugal. When you buy real foods and puree them (or dice, chop, steam, etc based on whether your kiddo is old enough to do a little mashing/chewing), you're paying real food prices. You're not paying for extra packaging, shipping, etc. You're also not paying for ingredients or procedures intended to extend their shelf life in little jars. Which brings me to...
Quite simply, You know what's in it - I'm trying (though not always succeeding, I'll be honest) to eat foods that my grandmother would recognize as foods. That means that foods shouldn't have a million ingredients. And I should be able to pronounce and identify all of the ingredients. I think this is going to be especially important in those early months when I'm learning what my little girl is or isn't allergic to and does or doesn't like to eat.
Thus, this week, I began my foray into home made baby foods. Yes, I realize that I'm 8 months pregnant. And yes, I realize that my child won't eat pureed baby foods until she's AT LEAST 4 months old and possibly older. But I've got some veggies in my organic delivery box that I need to store before they go bad-- it's hard to eat all of these things when I'm not feeling like cooking and I've been cooking for 1 this month while Ben's been out of town.
Tonight's experiment was to roast, puree, and store some rutabega. I use my oven, my blender, and my new So Easy Baby Fresh kit that my friend, K, got me for my baby shower and put myself to work! The little ice cube trays for storing the food are excellent, in my opinion. Once they're frozen, I'll pop them out and put many of them down in a ziplock or other storage container. Each little cube is 1 ounce, which will make it easy for me to know how much the little one needs and is eating at each meal. They're also a bit sturdier (and have a lid) than regular ice cube trays, so I'm hoping that means the frozen pureed rutabega will pop out a little more smoothly.
All in all, it was a great experience. AND... in a bit of selfishness (or maybe just to see what happens), I can also borrow a couple of those cubes to mix into other foods for the adults in my house... popping a couple down in some mashed potatoes or a little bit of spaghetti sauce means that hubby is exposed to a few more vitamins than normal... always a goal of mine. And in a small volume, he'll never taste the difference. Shhh...
Any experienced moms out there have advice about home made baby foods for me?