Although many parents choose to feed their baby commercially prepared baby food, including brands such as Gerber, Beech Nut, Earth's Best, and Heinz, some choose to make their own baby food.
Why make your own baby food?
Proponents of homemade baby food usually cite the main benefits as being cost savings, avoiding food additives and preservatives, and avoiding added salt and sugar.
In reality, most commercially prepared baby foods do not have artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, added salt, or added sugar. For example, Gerber Pears contain:
- pears from concentrate (water, pear concentrate)
- ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- citric acid (a natural preservative found in citrus fruits)
Other baby foods, such as Earth's Best Organic First Peas, only contain organic peas and water.
Checking the baby food label and ingredients list can help you determine if any extra additives or preservatives are in the baby food you are buying.
Homemade Baby Food
But even if commercial baby food doesn't include additives or preservatives, that doesn't mean that you still can't make your own homemade baby food. Although some extra time is involved as opposed to the convenience of commercial baby food, many parents enjoy making their own baby food.
In addition to the cost savings, making homemade baby food allows you greater control over the texture of the baby food, which can be helpful for some infants. For example, if your baby quickly masters eating pureed baby food, then you can start to make it thicker, instead of having to figure out which commercial baby food to use as your next stage or step.
Do avoid making homemade baby food with beets, carrots, collard greens, spinach, and turnips. These vegetables can sometimes have high levels of nitrates, a chemical that can cause low blood counts (anemia).