Friday, November 4, 2011

The Truth About Making Baby Food VS Buying It

If you're breastfeeding, I don't really think making baby food will help you SAVE money unless you already have the tools. Over the course of however many babies you choose to have (the more you have, the more you'll save), you may end up saving money but the start-up costs are quite hefty.

This is what you'll need, in order of importance.
1) Baby (they are expensive - haha, it's a joke.. if you didn't get that, stop now)
2) Vitamix (yeah, you can get a baby food maker but that's useless after your baby grows up, the Vitamix has a useful life of 7 years and cost about $400 at Costco and acts as a food processor, smoothie maker, ice cream maker, bread dough mixer, shake maker, baby food maker, peanut butter maker, hummus maker, sauce maker, and apparently I learned it also grinds wheat. It is truly amazing and the one kitchen appliance I use almost daily. It's also easy to wash and makes baby food making a cinch!)
3) Steamer - I use my old school Chinese rice cooker because all I have to do is add some water on the outside of the bowl, put the veggies on turn it on.. don't have to watch for it as it will just turn to warm when done. I say old school because the new kinds out there make it easy to steam rice but useless for anything else besides rice. The brand I use is the Tatung rice cooker which runs for about $75 on Amazon but don't cheap out and get the tiny one (which my mom gave me in college and is too small for anything except a prop on your shelf to indicate you are Chinese)
4) Ice cube trays - These run for about $2.99 at Target
5) Ziploc bags -$7 for about 52 per Amazon
6) Saran wrap - $6.25 for a roll of Kirkland Stretch-Tite
7) Permanent marker - $3 for 2 markers
8) Pam or equivalent spray - $2.99
9) Tupperware containers - bite sized baby ones work the best, I got Nuk ones with caps but any small Tupperware will do, or you can save the glass or plastic containers from store bought baby food and reuse those. These cost me $5.99

Estimating about $5,550 for all costs in, minus the baby you're looking at $550 which is conservative because the Vitamix, rice cooker, saran wrap ziploc bags and ice trays can be used for non-baby stuff too! Baby food costs about $1.99 for a pack of 2 which can last my 6 month old baby about 1-2 days. Assuming he eats at the current amount for 3 months, that is about 45 days at $2 or about $90 to buy.

To make, I calculated the following: Food costs of $6 bucks a week (for veggies and fruits I'd make into baby food) over the course of 12 weeks or 3 months which is $72 bucks plus an amortized $15 / month if I assume my start-up costs can be spread over 36 months which would be $45 for three months which turns out to be a total of $117 to make my baby food.

So $90 to buy versus $117 to make... equals a difference of $27 bucks for three months or $9 more per month. Why in the world would I make my baby food, right?

I started to think about how weird it was that unopened baby food can just sit out unrefrigerated until opened. What are they putting in it that enables them to let it sit out at room temperature? Who knows?! But it can't be good! The whole point of homemade cooking for the family is so we know what we're putting into our body and why we only eat out once a week. So why in the world would I give my son baby food that is $9 cheaper per month and not really know what is in there? Why not just feed him what I know are real vegetables plus water (decided not to use my frozen breastmilk because then the food made might not last as long in the fridge)? So that is why I decided to start making baby food. Truth be told, the stuff above makes it very easy to do. And I feel good knowing my son is eating what I made versus something labeled as peas but probably filled with who knows what!

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