This is a question that many new parents face. Do you simply go to the supermarket and purchase the pureed veggies that are already made for you, or do you try to be super parent and make them yourself?
As I’ve stated many times in this blog, I’m not here to tell you what you MUST do. Rather, I’m here to give you some options and to normalize a variety of methods so that you can ultimately make the decision that works best for you and your family.
The first thing to remember is that it is your choice. Once you receive the clearance from your pediatrician to go ahead and introduce solids, you get to choose how you will proceed. As we previously discussed, the best way to introduce new foods is one at a time. So whether you are purchasing ready-made purees or making your own, when you are starting off, you’re going to want to stick to the single ingredient items. This way you will be able to discern immediately if your child experiences any kind of negative reaction or allergic reaction to the new food. Once you’ve cleared various foods, then you can begin to combine them.
The biggest benefit of store bought is the convenience factor. The time it takes to buy baby food is much different than the time it takes to purchase ingredients that you then go home and make into baby food. Additionally, store bought purees can be kept at room temperature until you open them (at which point they need to be refrigerated), and they frequently come in properly proportioned sizes.
If you choose to purchase pureed veggies, there are many brands out there to choose from. Which one is best? Honestly I don’t really know. Experts in the field today state that today’s baby food is very pure to begin with. I would speak to your pediatrician and then to your other mom friends to see what they used. Make sure you check the ingredients to ensure there is no added sugar or salt in the food. Regardless of which brand you go with, it’s important to use a spoon to feed your child. Don’t just hand them a pouch and think you’re set. (You can check out my blog on pouches to find out how I really feel about those).
If you decide to make your own food, the good news is that there are MANY products on the market now that make this extremely easy and fool proof. Of course you can go the way of steaming the veggies in a pot, pureeing them in your food processor or blender and then placing them in ice cube trays or specialty trays…this is what my sister originally suggested to me. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now…I’m a baker…not a cook/chef. My sister, the chef, quickly explained this all to me and I literally just sat there staring at her like a deer caught in the headlights.
I, instead, researched baby food makers online and selected the one that I felt would work best for me. We ended up choosing the Baby Brezza GLASS ONE STEP™ BABY FOOD MAKER, which steamed and blended my homemade baby food in as little as 20 minutes (and that was for a veggie that took a longer time to steam). I found this extremely easy and convenient. Not only was I able to make the exact food items/combinations that I wanted, but with the trays that I used (Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit, Baby Food Freezer Storage Trays) I was able to store them nicely in my freezer. Freezing the baby food is really the way to go if you want to make it last longer.
I would say that I probably made 3 varieties of food once a week. As we moved through the one item veggie varieties, we then began to puree the meals that we had eaten (pasta with pesto or chicken parmesan) and give those to my daughter. I know it sounds gross, who wants to eat pureed chicken parmesan? But she really loved it and it began to introduce her to the tastes that we as a family eat every day.
We still use the baby food maker with my daughter who is now two years old. We use it to make a veggie pasta sauce that she loves. So, even though she was really only on purees for a couple of months before she started eating table foods, the machine was not a waste as we are still using it a year later.
So the question still remains…which is better? To puree your own or purchase ready-made? The real answer is: whichever works best for your family and your lifestyle. You can even combine the two: use ready-made for eating out or on super busy days, and make the purees at home when you have the time.
Honestly, there is no wrong answer here. 🙂