Baby & Toddler Food: An Introduction

As a new parent, staring at the wall of baby food at the grocery can be overwhelming. Plain banana, banana with mango, or banana with squash? Organic or conventional?  Jars, squeeze pouches or plastic? What ingredients are in these? How many for the week? Good grief, can we afford how many I need for a week? How much waste is this creating? Am I a failure as a parent?!? Whether this is the first time you’ve considered making baby food or it has been your plan all along, this series is for you! Here at OAMM we have proven making baby food at home is cheaper and simpler for both family and baby.

Will it save me money?

We’ve done some digging during this series production on the pros and cons of buying and making your own. A 3.5oz pouch of organic sweet potatoes for baby is about $1.49. Organic sweet potatoes in the produce section are about $1.29 per pound. Comparing cost per ounce, $0.43 per ounce of pre-made baby food versus $0.08 per ounce of homemade. When baby can go through sometimes three pouches in a day, making your own can trim as much as $25 a week from your grocery budget. Now you’re wonder, “How long will the food keep?” According to the FDA homemade baby food could be kept in the freezer for up to three months. The store bought food had expiration dates out as much as seven months. What you make may not keep as long, but being able to have up to a three month supply in the freezer can be plenty especially when you want to give baby variety over time.

Will it be worth my time?

Baby Food Sweet Potato Puree (4-6 months)

Baby Food Sweet Potato Puree (4-6 months)

Now, it won’t be as fast as grabbing several pouches off the shelf at the store, but your grocery budget can certainly benefit. It comes down to cost versus convenience. Cost wins for most OAMM staff and readers. You also have control over what went goes into the meals. Citric acid, a common preservative in packaged baby food, can cause a nasty diaper rash. No fun! Baby and Toddler meals aren’t as technical as baking a soufflé so you don’t need a lot of experience or effort. Plus you can do as much or as little as you want at a time. There are no set rules, so you can experiment and find what works for you. OAMM Baby & Toddler Food Intro - Broccoli Face

What about the next stage?

Throughout this series, we will have a segment for the typical age ranges with new recipes to introduce to your child:

Within each segment, except Early Starters, the menus will be divided by season to highlight the more economical produce. Keep in mind, is as your child grows so does your list of options. A twelve month old can heartily enjoy the apple purée from the 4-6 month menu as much as any five month old. Do what works for you and your little one. Each menu will be available as a PDF  download to OAMM Members. The serving amount will be set to a single serving, if you need a menu customized for multiple servings let us know and we would be happy to send you a version to suit your needs. Keep your eye out for these icons on additional OAMM recipes indicating what stages we recommend the recipe for:

early start baby foodfirst foods baby mealshelp myself baby food

Please note, we are not health professionals, doctors or the parents of YOUR baby. Only YOU know when to start your baby on the path to eating real food and what works for your family. If you choose to start at 4 months or 10 months, it’s up to you. We’re big on follow your parental instincts and going with only what you feel is right!  Here’s to helping our littles explore the crazy fun world of food!

More questions or ready to move on to the next stage?

We have more posts to come that we’ll link here below to help you get started in the kitchen or make more meals for those littles getting home from school!


Join the discussion
  1. To get to know what a toddler can eat I read a guide by Susan Urban from which I can surely recommend as a starting point. I’m not a fan of ready meals, but when you are a working mom you have to calculate time and cost of preparing a complete menu for your baby. I think your guide is also a very good starting point in this matter. Thanks!

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