Do 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.
More from The Stir: 'Baby' Snacks Are Junk Food in Disguise
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
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside