Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Making Your Own Baby Food!

Between the two of us,  Hilary and I have two seven month old boys who have just started solid foods! You heard me right. Not only are our four year old daughters only nine weeks apart, but our sons have a whopping seventeen days between them. So you can imagine we spend a lot of time comparing and sharing tips on how to pay for baby necessities and still be frugal. One of the ways we have both found that works for us is to make our own baby food at home!

Making your own baby food is so much simpler then most people would think. Sometimes it's as simple as thinking outside the box (literally)! You don't need a fancy baby-themed food steamer/puree-er. You just need a food processor or blender, maybe a few pots and your stove. Sometimes you even need less then that.

Below we will outline four of the ways in which we save on baby food, and we show you the cost difference between buying them in the store and making them yourself.

Baby Oatmeal

Baby oatmeal is something that is shockingly simple to make. I was blowing through this stuff when my son was about nine weeks old, because he has acid reflux. That's when I discovered that I could make my own for a fraction of the cost. Here is your ingrediant list:

1 lb of bulk quick oats, or Quaker-style quick oats from the grocery store.

That's it.


Baby oatmeal is simply oats that have been ground down so that they are fine enough for a baby to eat and not choke. All you need to do is put your oats into your food processor and set it on puree until it looks like fine grain sand.

homemade baby food

The cost breakdown
2 Boxes of Gerber oatmeal (16 oz): $4.98, or $0.18 per 5 Tbsp serving
1 lb quick oats from Winco (16 oz): $0.59, or $0.02 per 5 Tbsp serving

That's like saving $4.39 total, or $0.16 every time you feed your baby. I was buying at least 4-6 boxes of this stuff a month at the height of my son's reflux, so by switching I saved up to $8.91. That's two lattes!


Pumpkin is another area in which I began to think outside the box (or can). I LOVE pumpkin. Every year around thanksgiving I stock up on canned pumpkin while it's cheap, and use it all year when I need a pumpkin fix! My son is truly my child and loves him some pumpkin just like his mommy. Last time I got out a can of pumpkin to make pumpkin butter, I realized something surprising. Check it out:

homemade baby food

The ingredient list on baby food pumpkin and canned pumpkin is exactly the same! Pureed pumpkin.

So here in a single picture is how I make my pumpkin baby food:

homemade baby food

(The Starbucks cup is optional.)

The Cost Breakdown
8 containers of pumpkin baby food (about 30 oz) $3.96, or $0.49 per serving (a single 3.5 oz container is considered one serving)
1 huge can of pumpkin (30 oz) $1.59, or $0.19 per 3.5 oz serving

Overall you save $2.37, or $0.30 per serving! The bonus of this is that if I break out a giant can of pumpkin puree and use some for my son's dinner, I get to make pumpkin butter out of the rest.



This is such an easy food for your baby!  No prep at all, just one giant container of applesauce.  We always buy the unsweetened or natural applesauce since packaged baby applesauce does not have a lot of sugar, so the unsweetened is more comparable to the baby stuff.

homemade baby food

The Cost Breakdown13 1/2 containers of applesauce baby food (about 47 oz) $6.54, or $0.49 per serving (a single 3.5 oz container is considered one serving)
1 huge container of applesauce (about 47 oz) $2.44, or $0.18 per 3.5 oz serving

Overall, you save $4.18, or $.30 per serving!

Sweet Potatoes

I LOVE mashed sweet potatoes.  We eat them at every major holiday and we use a little bit of butter and brown sugar to prepare them (vs. marshmallows and a lot of sugar).  So I am an old pro at making mashed sweet potatoes and since they are so easy, they make a great baby food.  In fact, after I steam several pounds of sweet potatoes or yams, I put half in a bowl with butter, milk and brown sugar and leave them for us, then mash the rest with water and put them in baby food containers for my little guy!
Normally, I use sweet potatoes, but the last time I went to the store, yams were only $0.78 a pound and sweet potatoes were $1.48 a pound, so I grabbed the yams instead.
To make, peel the yams or sweet potatoes, chop into quarters and throw them in a huge stockpot of boiling water.  Boil until they are mushy.  Drain them, then take a electric hand mixer (or a stand up mixer) and puree them.  For baby, add water until they are smooth.  Ta-da!  Super easy.

homemade baby food

homemade baby food

homemade baby food

(And this is after several days of feeding them to my son!)

The Cost Breakdown: For this round, I bought 5 giants yams for $5.20 (6.66 pounds at $0.78 a pound).  It made 12 cups of baby food, or 27 1/2 servings (3.5 oz)!

27 1/2 servings of store bought food (96 oz total) $13.33, or $0.49 per serving
6.66 pounds of yams (96 oz), $5.20, or $0.19 per serving

Overall, you save $8.13, or $.30 per serving

These all seem like small amounts, but if you replace two meals a day with one of these easy baby foods, you can save $18.00 a month!  When you are trying to save money, even that makes a difference!  And these are all easy with little or no prep!


What baby foods do you make yourself that are fast and easy?

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