4 Icky Things Hiding in Store-Bought Baby Food

Yum! 13

baby foodDo you feed your child homemade baby food or store-bought baby food? The answer could say a lot about what kind of parent you are! Just kidding -- we're not going there today. I fed my baby homemade, but mostly out of laziness. It was just easier to mash up whatever was already on our plates (within reason) and feed that to our son. But in case you're looking for an excuse to buy that expensive Babycook, science is on your side. There are some significant reasons why homemade baby food is better, and they're all in the form of icky additives found in prepared baby food. Here's what you probably don't want to feed your baby.

Sugar: A 71-gram serving of banana puree may contain up to 13 grams of sugar. Compare this with the same amount of mashed-up fresh banana, which has just 8.7 grams of sugar. Baby food manufacturers may not add sugar, but since most are made from reconstituted concentrates, you get more sugar anyway.

Sodium: Looking at the banana puree again, the bottled version may have 5 milligrams of sodium. Fresh banana has less than 1 milligram of sodium. Again, this is due to the process of making commercial baby food. By the way, that process also removes some of the helpful fiber you do want.

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Fillers: While many baby food makers don't add sugar or salt, they may still add starchy fillers that make it less nutritious per volume than homemade.

Preservatives: Some baby food manufacturers "fortify" their baby food with vitamin C, but babies already get plenty of this vitamin from breast milk or formula. And it's a little suspicious that vitamin C also happens to be a preservative. Why does it need to be in there at all, really?

Just keep in mind, baby food when your baby is under a year old is less about actually feeding your baby and more about getting them used to eating solids and experiencing new flavors. So if you're interested in making your own, don't over-think it. Start small -- you know, take baby steps.

Do you make your own baby food?


Image via Steven Depolo/Flickr

baby first year, natural parenting, solid food


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nonmember avatar Tania

Yes. If you are unsure of how to make baby food go to wholesomebabyfood.com. Make a big batch and freeze in ice cube trays, then put the cubes in ziploc bags in the freezer. Have a little stockpile of different fruits and vegetables and you can have baby meals for months. Super easy and cheap.

Sirena Robinson

We made our own baby food. I got a $25 steamer and used our blender. I went once a month and bought fruits and veggies, spent one day steaming and blending and the only thing I needed was tupperware and purified water. You can do a lot of cool flavorings and mixtures making your own. And it's MUCH cheaper. For example, at Whole Foods, you can get organic bananas and sweet potatoes for ~$1/lb. One pound of each of those makes 20 jars of baby food AT LEAST. $2 for 40 servings, which would cost you a MINIMUM of $15-20, and up to $40 for the expensive organic stuff in the store. Granted some are more expensive, like avocado, but it more than evens out. You spend less, end up with more and it's healthier. No brainer.

Jespren Jespren

Why in the world would you bother with baby food? Baby led weaning, otherwise known as 'how babies have eaten for thousands of years'. Take family meal food, cut or tear into bite sized or easily held pieces (sometimes bigger is better so they can hold and chew at firmer stuff), give to baby. No extra cooking, boiling, shopping, freezing, kitchen gagdets, or prep (past what you'd do for your own food anyway) and baby learns to eat regulalry prepared food. You know, the kind you'll have to teach them to eat after you're done fussing with 'baby food' purees anyway. Baby food it a completely unnecessary and annoying step.

jenni... jenniferpcrum

baby food is a marketing tool to get people to spend money.
whay would you feed babies all that crap? 

"Baby Led Weaning" is a great way to go. everyone eats together.  :)

faes_... faes_mommy

My older 2 ate store bought and homemade baby foods, but I didn't want to with this one. I only fed my baby any baby food because WIC and my pediatrician noticed baby's iron was low and mine was fine they told me after around 6-7 months babies need their own source of iron so I gave her baby meats. I'm tarting to think even the Dr.s don't always know what they are talking about, if a baby needs so much iron why doesn'tmore of it cross through the breast milk? Now she has teeth so she eats most of what we eat.

Eddie... EddiesMama83

Their is nothing icky about sugar, unless of course you're afraid of getting fat.

nonmember avatar M

Baby led weaning purists are so judgmental!

Knitt... KnittyTina

I mostly made my own and bought some of the prepared jars from time to time.  It's just easier to blend things up in a food processor or mash soft foods like bananas and avocado with a good old fashioned fork. 

I didn't listen to the pediatricians and fed my baby solids starting at around 3 months. They both had full tummies and got lots of nutrition and grew at a normal rate. 

Rebecca Allen

The articles list the above as additives.  They are all things that occur naturally in our foods.  The milligrams she is listing are so small they do not make a difference.  Just another article to scare mothers or to make them fell bad about how they are mothering.  I talked to a registered dietician about this subject and she said store bpught food for a baby is just as good as home made.  Especially if poeple are feeding baby table food which is too salty for adults as well as baby. 


nonmember avatar Michelle

I have no idea why people think homemade baby food is so difficult and time consuming...seriously? The bigger problem is not necessarily store-bought baby food, but those "kid meals" parents buy...one commenter mentioned the differences in sodium and sugar are minimal. Read the label on these kid meals...HORRIFYING. If you can't share meals with your baby/toddler, maybe YOU need to start eating better.

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