The real reason I made my own baby food

I swore I was never having kids--ever. And then, ya know, life happened and I had a son cause it's what happens when you are making plans.

But my pregnancy wasn't the thing that really shocked people. What really shocked my family was my insistence on making the baby's food myself. No jars for me. The horrified reaction I got--from my mother in particular--really astounded me. She just didn't understand how, as a working mother, I was going to find time to make baby food on top of everything else. As a woman who had no choice when she raised her kids (there wasn't the options in the store there are now) she mashed away whether she wanted to or not and she didn't get how I would choose her fate when I had options.

I, on the other hand, had several very good reasons for thinking homemade baby food was the way to go besides the obvious "it is healthier" reason.

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When studies like the one recently released by University of Greenwich School of Science show that jarred baby food contains less minerals than homemade food, of course I feel relieved:

The research showed that infants given one meat jar and one vegetable jar on top of 600ml of formula milk would not be getting enough calcium, magnesium, copper and selenium. On average, the levels were below 20% of the recommended daily supply.

I could stand behind this as my reason alone for the hours of making baby food but really, this was only part of the story. A lot of my choice to make the baby food made MY life easier in several very selfish ways:

1) I didn't breastfeed: I couldn't breastfeed, I didn't breastfeed--it depends on the day how I explain it and how I feel about it but essentially my milk came in, but not out and that may or may not have had something to do with my own ambivalence towards breastfeeding. Whole, natural foods felt like a controlled way for me to give back some of what I took away with formula--including being praised for all the effort I was putting in to feeding my baby.

2) Jarred baby food grosses me out: My mother once said to me don't put anything in your baby's mouth you wouldn't put in your own and no matter how I sliced it, I would not put jarred meat in my mouth, or really for that matter, jarred fruit. I don't eat anything out of a can or jar except tuna fish--it really does gross me out and I couldn't deal. As a matter of fact the pre-made baby food I do use (I mean come on, no one is making their own prunes, not even me) comes from those squeeze pouches. Why this is better to me, I don't know, but it just is.

3) I was never going to win the recycling war: I live with the recycling police. I love him, but he watches everything I throw out and at my core, I don't understand washing trash. I could not imagine the hours of cleaning glass jars just so I could throw them away. The added bonus here is I wasn't one of those moms who loved all the baby products but I do like containers so I got to spend tons of time (and money) testing which container would freeze and hold the baby food the best. My kitchen is full of them. Yeah mommy toys!

4) The weight issues: I have one, my family has one. I didn't want to start relying on processed foods so early on, because if I couldn't steam and mash some carrots now, how was I going to avoid driving through McDonald's every night then. I needed to learn to find time to cook, despite my schedule, so might as well start now.

See, none of this was about the baby getting more nutrients, it was all about managing my crazy. And really it wasn't that hard, I just steamed a lot of food on Saturday mornings while the baby napped and froze it. It was cheaper, especially for things like sweet potatoes because one big sweet potato can get you like 4 2-ounce containers and I did manage to keep sugar and salt out of his diet. Ironically, I use more of the pouches now that he is a toddler and eating more solid food than we did when he was an infant but now instead of making pureed carrots, I make big pots of soup and freeze those in baby sized portions.

If we are under zombie attack, you want to find my freezer, I'm just saying. You could live for months on frozen sweet potatoes, chicken soup and meatballs.

Question: What did you do? Did you make your own baby food? Why? Answer in the comments field below

Image via trenttsd/Flcikr

Topics: child rearing  childhood obesity  feeding kids