In the end, making Lily's baby food did save money. One dollar buys a pound of green beans, which then becomes 16-1oz. servings of baby food. Two dollars worth of sweet potatoes made pounds of baby food! We also bypassed the preservatives and, at this point in her life she loves fresh fruits and veggies. Also, after reading labels I found that many of the baby foods at the store were not as nutritious as the high fiber, vitamin-rich foods I was making at home. The homemade food also made us more more comfortable with giving Lily the (nutritious) foods we were eating and helped her enjoy herbs and spices we would not find in the big name baby foods. Oh, and it worked wonders on the mommy guilt.
The surprising part? It was not as time consuming as I had anticipated. I would cook 4-5 pounds of sweet potatoes in the crock pot while I was at work during the day, then puree them and have them in the freezer. The actual time I spent preparing the sweet potatoes amounted to about 15 minutes. Halved peaches and a pyrex dish with a little water perfectly prepared peaches for baby food prep. Purees freeze very well in ice trays, and each cube in the tray is about 1 oz. When the purees have frozen, you can pop them out and store them in freezer bags labeled with each type of food. They thaw easily in the microwave and can be stored in the freezer for several months.
There are lots of cool baby food gadgets on the market, but you can prepare homemade baby food with just a few items that can be found in most any household. Once the food is cooked in a way that is appropriate for that food, you only need a blender to puree the food, ice trays to freeze the food and freezer bags to store the food. If you are like me and preparing food for the people you love is equivalent to actually telling them you love them, then preparing homemade foods for your baby will be totally fulfilling. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section. Also, check out http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com for great health guidelines, food recommendations by age, recipes and more!