have two boys 8 and 3 and a baby girl 8 months and it
seems like I am spending a lot on baby food these last couple of
had three young children so far, I'm no expert when it comes to
parenting, so I'll just share what we've done with our girls (Silas is still nursing exclusively). Each
child and family is different so please do what works best for your
family. However, since you asked, here's what has worked for us:
1. I nurse exclusively for the first six months. For me, nursing is easy, simple, a great post-pregnancy weight-loss program, the best nourishment for my child, and it's free. (Well, it is unless you count all the extra food I consume while nursing!) I know some women would love to be able to nurse and have been unable to do so and I feel very blessed that nursing is something I've never had troubles with.
2. I start introducing a few foods here and there at around six months.
This is normally in the form of just giving the child a couple of
tastes of banana or vegetables a few times per week. I usually mash up
something that I'm already eating and offer a few bites. Nursing
continues like usual.
3. I start encouraging our children to eat small meals three times per day at around a year old.
We stick with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains first and then
gradually add in other foods. By this time, a child can easily eat soft
table foods (or fruits/veggies mashed in the baby food grinder) so
we'll just offer the child whatever fruit or veggies we're eating at a
meal plus some homemade bread or other wholegrain finger foods.
our child catches on to eating more, nursing is, in turn, gradually
reduced to only 3-4 times per day (usually once in the morning, once in
the afternoon, and once before bed) and will continue to be replaced
more and more by table food over the next six to twelve months. (I
weaned Kathrynne at 18 months and Kaitlynn at 19 months.)
4. I rarely ever buy or make my own baby food. I personally see
store-bought baby food as one of the most overpriced items ever, so I
don't buy it except on the rare occasion when I can get it for free with a coupon.
I've made baby food up ahead of time and frozen it in ice cubes before (see more information and ideas on doing that here),
but I found that didn't work very well for us.
Instead, I've found it to be much simpler to just
offer some of whatever foods we are already eating. Since I normally make
homemade bread every few days and we eat a lot of fresh or frozen fruits and
vegetables, it's been quite simple to have something for the baby to eat
from what we're already eating.
I do recommend you invest in a simple bay food grinder (I like the Kidco Baby Food Mill which is about $15.)
and then just make sure you plan fruits and
vegetables into your menus that your baby can eat. If it's something
which can't just be easily mashed with a fork, stick a small bit in the
grinder when you sit down at the table, grind it up, and
you're good to go!
So that's how we keep our babies nutritiously fed without spending a lot of extra money. I'd love to hear what works for others: do you make your own baby food, buy baby food, or just feed your baby mashed up table food?
Helpful Resources: If you are interested in making your own baby food, you might check out this post here or see if you can check out Feed Me I'm Yours
or check out some of the books listed here from your local library.