A Beginner’s Guide To Making Baby Food
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Maytag. The opinions and text are all mine.
Let me preface this post about baby food with two points.
Number 1: I am not an expert when it comes to making homemade baby food. I’ve done very little research, but instead, figured out what worked for our family. That being said, I feel confident that if I can figure it out, SO CAN YOU! And spoiler alert: it’s not very hard and you can save a chunk of money by making your own baby food.
Number 2: I understand this is a topic that will not apply to all of our readers. I hate to isolate anyone by even posting about such a specific topic, but I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this. I figured sharing a beginner level post may help others who want to try, but may be too intimidated to start.
If you’re one of those people, I’m here to share this beginner’s guide to making baby food and prove that if I can do this… so can you!
A Beginner’s Guide to Making Baby Food
As I mentioned, I’m not an expert in the world of baby food. You can easily look up information about making your own baby food and read lots of research about it. I could have done that too- but becoming an expert in DIY baby food is not my goal.
My goal is to try and control what Ben is eating while saving a little money along the way.
Has he eaten pre-packaged baby food? Absolutely! Do I think jarred baby food is bad? Not at all. Have I personally found DIY baby food to be cheaper? Yes. Would I do it again for baby number two? For sure.
Do I recommend other moms DIY their own baby food over buying it? In motherhood and in life, my motto is “YOU DO YOU!”. I’m just here to share my experience and hopefully inspire others who may be interested in trying it out. So, if you’re that person, this post is for you!
What Will You Need?
- Sweet potatoes
- Mixer (hand mixer or food processor could work, but we tend to use a blender)
- Ice Cube Trays or Baby Food Trays
- Freezer Bags
- Washi Tape + Marker
How Much Time Will It Take?
Let’s be honest here, making baby food definitely takes more time than throwing the baby food jars in the cart at the grocery store. BUT, we’ve found that it doesn’t take nearly as much time to prep as we envisioned it would.
To make one “batch” of baby food probably takes about 20-30 minutes (and that includes the cooking time). BUT, that 20-30 minutes could yield enough baby food for your little one to eat for the entire week… or longer, depending on his or her age and how much he or she eats per meal. 20-30 minutes never seemed like that daunting of a time commitment when Matt and I realized how much food it produced for Ben.
How Much Money Will I Save?
This is hard to quantify because there are so many variables when it comes to comparing the two. What brand are you buying? What sizes are the jars? How much does your child eat per sitting? Comparing the two can be a bit challenging. BUT for the sake of this post, I wanted to share an example to give you a very general idea. Again, don’t hold me to this exact equation because there are lots of factors to compare.
Storebought Baby Food: When Matt and I buy a jar of baby food, the kind we buy costs us $1.29 per jar. Let’s say that 3.5 ounces (approximately) covers Ben’s entire meal. So for us, one meal of store-bought baby food equals $1.29.
DIY Baby Food: Matt and I can buy a pound of sweet potatoes for 98 cents. Say we can get about 12 ounces of baby food from that sweet potato. So, approximately, one 3.5-ounce meal would cost about 29 cents.
Again, it’s hard to make a blanket statement since there are so many variables to consider (and every meal will be so different). But I do think that it’s a fair statement to say that making your own baby food provides the opportunity to save money… and probably a significant amount of money if you’re a savvy shopper.
What Do I Do?
Last, but certainly not least, let’s dive into how the heck you even DIY baby food! It’s actually pretty easy as long as you have the supplies you need to stay organized.
Today I’m teaming up with Maytag to share how to make simple baby food, using only one ingredient (and more about why I chose each one of these appliances in this blog post).
Once your baby grows, you can mix the ingredients for more “sophisticated” recipes. Our neighbor actually let us borrow a few baby food recipe books, and I was shocked at all of the creative mixtures! In all honesty, though, we don’t get super creative using these gourmet recipes and usually stick to 1-2 ingredient combos.
Steam, Boil, or Bake Food
It will depend on what you’re making, but for sweet potatoes, we always boil them using our Maytag counter depth range, which we are loving. If possible, steam the fruits/veggies to save the nutrients from being “boiled away”. In the case of the sweet potatoes, we boil them. But you can also bake them!
Drop the whole sweet potato in when the water boils, usually keeping the sweet potato in the water for about 10-15 minutes. I typically set the timer right on the range and keep myself busy doing other things until I hear it go off.
Let’s Get Mixing
After the sweet potato (or whatever food item you’re using) is done, it’s time to transfer it into a food processor, blender, or immersion blender (or whatever tool you have to blend it up). I remove the skin and mix it up until it gets to my desired puree consistency. We don’t have to blend our sweet potatoes too much anymore since Ben is older.
But when he first started eating food, we made sure the baby food we were making was puree consistency. Heck, now we can probably skip the blender step altogether and just mash up the soft sweet potato since it can be a lot thicker.
Add Cooking Water Until Desired Consistency
As needed, especially when Ben was really young, we would add some of the cooking water into the blender to make it more of a puree. We like using the water from the pot rather than fresh water because it salvages some of those nutrients that we previously “boiled out”.
Add to Trays, Cover, & Freeze
Once the consistency is perfect, we add the baby food to the trays. We borrowed our trays from my sister so we didn’t have to invest in anything. If you don’t have access to something like this, ice cube trays are an affordable alternative… or something you may already have in the house!
Once we scoop the puree into the trays, we pop them into our Maytag refrigerator’s freezer. The drawer in this freezer makes storing these trays super easy and convenient. We only made two sweet potatoes this time, but some days we prep so much baby food in advance that the entire drawer is full!
Our trays have caps, so we never have to transfer them to another container. We simply label the tray with a marker and washi tape. If you’re using ice cube trays, you will have to transfer the frozen puree. Simply pop them out of the ice cube tray. You can then store them in a labeled freezer bag until you need them.
Defrost and Enjoy!
All that’s left to do at this point is to defrost the food and give to your little one to enjoy (or spit out, depending on the flavor… ha!). To do this, we simply take a few cups out of the freezer and pop them into our refrigerator.
That way, we always have several in our refrigerator so we are ready to feed them to Ben or put them in his diaper bag as we head out. You can find the best Maytag refrigerator for your family here!
We never have to worry if Ben spits (or throws!) food on our Maytag appliances, as they come with the Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel finish. All we have to do is wipe away tough smears with water, and they look good as new – it’s such a game changer with little ones!
Overall, we’re very happy with our experience DIY-ing baby food. It saves us money, it’s not extremely time-consuming, and leaves us feeling like we have a bit more control over what we are feeding Ben.
Our new Maytag appliances help make the process super easy and even keep us extra excited to use these gorgeous appliances. I do get it, DIY baby food is not for everyone, and that’s okay! If you are thinking you may be interested in giving it a try, I’d encourage you to do so! I promise it’s not nearly as intimidating as it seems.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.