All my friends make their own baby food so I assumed we would do the same. At the grocery store I picked up a package of Gerber’s pureed green beans to see all the chemicals we avoid by skipping commercial baby foods. The ingredients were green beans, and water.
I then had to google why it is better to make your own baby food which I’ll list here to save you the step. These are generalizations and there are always pros and cons, but after reading a few articles I now feel confident that it is better, at least a little, to make your own at home.
Pros to making baby food:
- Companies have to boil the veggies and fruits at a really high temp to ensure bacteria is killed; this removes a lot of nutrients in the product
- It is more economical (the articles all swear this, which makes me think the authors are not shopping at Whole Foods)
- It is easy – just cook and blend/mash
- Selection – you can choose fruits and veggies outside the norm like papaya and avocado
- One study suggests that children given homemade fruit and vegetable baby foods consumed a higher amount of fruits and vegetables when they were seven (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
Noteworthy from HealthyChild.org:
- Wait until your child is 1-year old to introduce honey, dairy, eggs, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus, and nuts. Honey can contain botulinum spores that, while harmless to older children and adults, germinate into botulinum toxins in the immature digestive tracts of babies, causing infant botulism. The other foods are common allergens whose effects can be minimized when introduced at a later age.
- Beets, carrots, turnips, spinach and other greens can all contain nitrates. Nitrites are converted to nitrates when ingested and can cause anemia. Since nitrites come from the soil where vegetables are grown, check your area, in some regions (like the San Francisco Bay Area) local produce doesn’t face this problem. If your area does and you want your baby to try these foods, buy commercially produced baby foods (which are tested for nitrites) for those foods.
- Commercial ground beef is a worrisome source of e. coli. Yet children do love it. If you want to feed your child ground beef, invest in a home grinder ($30-50) and grind your own. Wash and dry the meat before grinding. To further reduce risk of contagion, bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the meat for 30 to 60 seconds before grinding to “sterilize” the potentially contaminated exterior.