Is baby food a rip-off?

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I am a first-time parent. This makes me both naive and gullible. Before my baby starting eating solid foods, I was totally confident that I could make his food for him. But then I started reading up on it, and I got confused. Take peanuts, for instance: Are you supposed to wait until he’s 5 years old to introduce them in order to prevent allergies, or do you introduce them at 6 months to prevent allergies? Would I be able to make food myself that wouldn’t be a choking hazard? What about this notion that you’ve got to introduce one food at a time — does that mean he gets nothing to eat but sweet potatoes for a week?

Then I was in the grocery store, and I had an epiphany. My son loves oatmeal mixed with applesauce, and I happened to notice that the gigantic jars of applesauce were on sale. I checked the ingredients: apples and water. I checked the ingredients on the baby food jar of applesauce: apples and water. The big jar was $2.19; the tiny baby food jar was $1.15.

I am being ripped off.

So I have decided not to buy any more baby food. Yes, it is convenient, but I simply don’t like the feeling that I am being taken advantage of. My son is now eating scrambled egg yolk, toast, cooked pasta, shredded cheese, roasted sweet potato rounds with olive oil and herbs, and cooked apple slices with cinnamon, among other things. Babies are little humans, and as long as I attend to choking hazards, I think he’ll be fine eating the same foods I like.

One thing I have learned, much to my chagrin, is that we don’t eat enough vegetables around here. When I am making dinner in a hurry, I am used to skipping the vegetable side or trying to make one-pot meals that incorporate veggies. So I need to get in the habit of cooking more vegetables, particularly on the weekends, and freezing them, or just buying frozen veggies. Then I can defrost them and run them through the food mill, if necessary, before giving them to baby throughout the week.

At least I never shelled out for “gourmet” baby food.

Here is some more commonsense baby-feeding advice from Parenting Squad.

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4 thoughts on “Is baby food a rip-off?

  1. Lars@grydeskeen | opskrifter 26 November 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Yes, most baby food is a rip off.

    They do come in conveniently sizes for bringing on tours. I guess thats why they charge multiple the cost. The small glassjars must be very expensive to produce.

    My experience is that anything babyrelated should be looked at twice, as theres usually some (often better) alternative, which comes in bigger packages.

    As for applesauce, we usually bought a stack of apples when in season, make a bunch of sauce, and freeze most of it.

    Whenever we have leftovers of baby-friendly dinners, we freeze them in small portions. Then when we want something less babyfriendly for dinner, we can always thaw one of the little bags for the baby.

  2. Shannon 26 November 2008 at 3:06 pm

    All good suggestions, Lars. Thanks! I am getting in the habit of making extra baby-friendly dinners and freezing small sized portions.

  3. craftycookieskitchen 2 December 2008 at 9:45 am

    Made baby food is a rip off – a gigantic rip off.

    Did you know that in some shop bought foods a common ingredient used is also used in the glue on the back of postage stamps!!!

    Like Lars I always made my own baby food because I knew what went in it, especially with regards to salt and sugar contents.

    As my son got older he started to eat the same food as us at the same time as us and at the same table, which he loved and they do love eating the same as the grown ups.

    Today (he is 16) he looks forward to the Sunday roast, adores fruit and vegetables and most importantly dislikes MacDonalds food.

    It is really well worth the extra work believe me. Good luck, hope everything works well for you.

  4. Shannon 2 December 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks, “Crafty.” I appreciate the support. As I write, he is now enjoying the same butternut squash soup that I had for lunch.

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