We all know kids aren’t cheap, but I have to be honest, I was a little astounded when we were looking at store-bought baby food only to find out a very small 128ml jar was almost $1.00! Individually, not super expensive, but if you consider how many jars you’ll buy over the months that your child will eat non-table food it adds up!
Introducing Solid Foods with Baby Led Weaning
I have friends introducing solid foods via baby-led weaning (BLW), where from the very beginning, around six months, the child feeds themselves; no spoon-feeding by mom or dad, no jars or baby food to buy or food to mash at home. You hand the baby bite sized pieces of family foods and allow them to self feed.
The logic behind BLW is that babies learn how to chew first, then swallow. Where introducing fully pureed food first teaches the baby how to swallow, then chew.
People who are against BLW usually are so because of choking risks, mess, wasted food or not meeting nutritional needs.
DIY Baby Food
If you aren’t comfortable with the concept of BLW and can’t justify spending the extra money for jars of baby food, make your own! This is the main route we have chosen when it comes to introducing solid foods. In terms of price difference, I bought a 750 gram bag of frozen broccoli for $1.99. A far cry from $0.75-$1.00/ 128ml jar of baby food!
To prepare frozen fruits or veggies I simply steam, let cool, then puree in the blender. Once pureed, I re-freeze in ice-cube trays for portion size. I have also used canned fruits (canned in water only) and followed the same methods minus steaming. If the fruits are fresh and soft (ie. banana) you can simply mash it up prior to feeding. Meat is a little trickier because it requires adding water to thin it out while blending, but certainly not difficult. There are other protein sources if you’re choosing a vegetarian diet such as lentils, not only are lentils arguably more nutritional they are significantly cheaper, win-win!
People against this method argue that it requires a lot of work (though I would argue this) and as mentioned, teaches the baby to swallow before mastering chewing which can lead to gagging issues in the future as more solids are introduced.
Whatever method you choose, remember that when time comes to introduce solids to your baby, don’t feel like you’re restricted to the few jar options at your local grocery store. Once you’ve ruled out allergies (which are significantly decreased if you wait until six months to introduce solids) there’s no reason you couldn’t quickly blend whatever the family is eating for supper or, should you choose, cut it up and place in front of them!
What methods have you, or will you use?