Does making baby food save you money?

Nov 29, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. ET

As the mother of a six-month old who’s just starting solids, I’ve gone back and forth between making her food and purchasing it at the store. The time it takes to make the food is not an issue for me, so it ultimately boils down to which is better for her and cheaper for me.

baby eating baby food

Babies start eating solids between four and six months of age. Some moms choose to make their baby's food, due to health benefits and more variety, whereas others choose to purchase jarred food from the store because of the convenience. Neither options are correct or incorrect, but simply a matter of preference. When it comes to cost, though, is it better to make your baby's food?

Purchasing baby food

Most premade baby food sells for one dollar for every five ounces. Five ounces typically will last two feedings. Premade foods come in a variety of flavors, such as pears, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans and more. Once opened, the food will last two or three days in the refrigerator. Your baby will first begin eating Stage 1 food, followed by Stage 2. Most Stage 1 and 2 foods do not contain any fillers, so you really are getting your money's worth at first. Once your baby advances to Toddler Stage foods, there can be added fillers with no nutritional value in the store-bought selection.

homemade baby foodHomemade baby food

Let's take a look at making your own baby food, keeping in mind that price will slightly vary due to location, store choice and sales. Sweet potatoes, for example, typically sell for one dollar each. To make baby food, wrap it in foil and bake for one hour at 450 degrees, or until tender. Once cooled, puree sweet potatoes in a food processor until smooth. Scoop into one-ounce ice cube trays and freeze. On average, one sweet potato will make six ounces of baby food. It’s cheaper.

Let's take a look at carrots. One pound of carrots is roughly three dollars, meaning a third of a pound, or four carrots, is one dollar. To make baby food, cut the carrots into small pieces and steam until tender. Again, place in food processor and puree. Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze. On average, four carrots will make six ounces of baby food. It’s cheaper.

Here’s a full tutorial on how to make your own baby food >>

The final verdict

As shown above, making your own baby food is cheaper than purchasing jarred food, but not by much. For every dollar you spend, you will get one extra ounce of homemade food. If you're on a tight budget and you have the time to make the food, it's worth it. Though store-bought food will not harm your baby, homemade food is healthier and there's a bit more variety in what you can make. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but yes — making your baby's food will save you money.

More on baby food

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Transitioning baby to first foods