Homemade baby food has been a topic circling the internet for quite some time as an alternative to buying commercial baby food. However, there are many conflicting opinions about whether making your own baby food is the best option for your little one.
Many people rely on baby-led weaning as their main approach to introducing solids. Baby-led weaning is the process of introducing solid whole foods when your baby is around six months of age.
However, there are many disadvantages to using baby-led weaning as your approach to introducing solids. We talk about it more in these blog posts, Baby-Led Weaning + Gut Health and Baby-Led Weaning + Nutritional Deficiencies.
On the other end of the spectrum, making homemade baby food by pureeing fresh food is actually the healthiest option for your baby to start eating solid foods. And even further, homemade versus store bought commercial baby food is the way to go! We’ll explain why down below.
If you’re a new parent and you’re trying to figure out which route to take when it comes to introducing solids, listen up.
This article covers:
- The main advantages of making your baby’s food
- How to make your own baby food
- The difference between homemade pureed food and solid food
Curious if your baby is developmentally ready for solids? Be sure to check out our post Developmental Signs of Reading for Solids. We share the signs of readiness and common myths.
6 Advantages of Homemade Baby Food
1. Lower Cost
There are many advantages to making your own baby food. For example, making your own baby food comes at a much lower cost than buying commercial baby food. When you make homemade baby food, you’re only paying for the ingredients you put into it. You’re not paying for the company to manufacture and distribute the product.
In addition, you won’t need to go out and purchase separate baby food to feed your little one. You can just use the foods you’re eating, as long as it’s safe for your baby, and puree it into their own portion.
2. Creates Healthy Eating Habits
The next advantage of making homemade baby food is that you start to create healthy eating habits at a young age. Your baby isn’t stuck eating pureed mush in a jar or pouch. When you make it yourself, you get to control the texture and way in which your baby consumes it – spoon fed, self-fed, etc.
You’re exposing them to fresh, healthy ingredients blended in a way that they enjoy, so they’ll learn to love eating healthy! Plus, you’re exposing their taste buds to a variety of different foods at a young age, leading them to make healthier choices as they grow up!
3. Provides Essential Nutrients
Another advantage of homemade baby food is the difference in vital nutrients. Baby food manufacturers use high temperatures to kill bacteria in baby food, killing essential nutrients. Consequently, not getting enough essential nutrients can cause digestive issues later on.
However, by making your own baby food, you’re not getting rid of any essential nutrients; you’re just blending nutritious foods and feeding them to your little one. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!
4. Less Toxins
Probably one of the greatest advantages of homemade baby food when compared to pre-made store bought options is that you have greater control over the potential toxins in the food your baby consumes. Manufactured baby food is often laden with heavy metals and dangerous toxins. By making your baby’s food at home, you get to control the inputs by purchasing fresh, organic and high quality ingredients. You can read more about this in our post, Heavy Metals in Baby Food.
5. More Convenient
Making homemade baby food is also more convenient. You don’t need to make a trip to your local grocery store to buy jars or pouches of baby food. All you have to do is use fresh ingredients that are safe for your baby and blend!
Making homemade baby food works wonders for busy parents who don’t have extra time to head out to the store. In addition, you can meal prep homemade baby food ahead of time instead of on a daily basis!
6. Helps Your Transition to Finger and Family Food
In addition, making homemade baby food helps your baby wean off breast milk and transition to finger and family foods with ease. For example, once your baby is ready for solids, introducing delicious textures and new flavors will make weaning much easier.
Similarly, giving your baby the same foods you’re eating but in pureed form makes transitioning to adult food a breeze. Plus, your baby will be so used to trying new foods that they most likely won’t be picky eaters!
First time making baby food?! Make sure you check out our course Starting Solids: A Gentle Approach to Introducing Real Food. It’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to starting solids in a gut friendly way that supports long-term health, immunity and a positive relationship with food.
How to Make Your Own Baby Food
Making your own baby food is super easy. All you need is a blender or food processor to blend organic food, fresh fruits and veggies, and any other whole foods with bone broth or water. For example, you can incorporate sweet potatoes, green beans, and seasonal produce.
You can even combine different varieties of nutritious food and make healthy food combinations! When blending food, adding new flavors is an excellent option for spicing things up if you run out of ideas.
Babies learn to adjust to certain foods reasonably quickly, so adding different flavors or textures can enhance their eating experience and make them excited for mealtime!
Remember, there are certain foods and flavors you can introduce to your baby during the first 6-12 months, but other types of food need to wait until they’re older. We go more in-depth about what kinds of solids you can start introducing to your baby in our Starting Solids Course.
What’s the Difference Between Homemade Pureed Food and Solid Finger Foods?
During the first year of their life, your baby’s digestive and immune systems are still developing, which means they still require essential nutrients. When you start weaning your baby off of breast milk or formula, they aren’t exposed to as many vitamins and minerals as before, which means you need to supplement with real food.
Babies also aren’t getting as many vital nutrients if you start introducing solid foods in chunks or finger foods rather than purees. Your baby’s digestive system can’t readily absorb the nutrients as easily from chunks as they can purees. Therefore, pureed baby food is a much more viable option for maintaining a healthy diet for your baby.
However, as mentioned above, commercial baby food purees don’t have the same nutritional value as homemade baby food. Making your own baby food out of natural, healthy foods is the best way to obtain all the essential nutrients your baby’s diet needs.
Check Out Some of Our Favorite First Baby Foods
Some of our favorite first foods for baby are linked below. They are our favorites for their nutrient density and gut friendliness.
- Gut Friendly Baby Broth (First Food For Babies)
- Baby Butternut Squash Puree (Stage One + Stage Two)
- Protein for Babies (Protein in Purees – Stage 2 + 3)
In our Starting Solids course we tell you exactly what to introduce, when and how to prepare it, taking much of the guess work and confusion out of this exciting milestone!