Two of the biggest expenses for a little one are diapers and baby food. While I have never attempted to cut costs in the diaper area by using cloth diapers, I did make my own baby food–at least most of the time.
Making baby food is easier than you might expect. When I first started out, I did it the hard way, mashing cooked foods with a fork and pushing them through a sieve. It didn’t take me long to decide that saving money was not worth that much time and effort. I looked around a little and ended up buying a small baby food mill from Babies R Us for about $10. The one I bought is a manual mill, and small enough to pack in a diaper bag. It has saved me a good deal of money. Not only have I made baby food at home, but I also took the mill with me whenever we went out for a meal. When my baby was a little older, I could simply turn whatever I was eating into baby food. Another advantage to making your own baby food is that you can use breast milk or formula to thin the food and make it even healthier. The jars of food you buy in the store are thinned with water instead.
There are other mills than the one I got available at baby stores or even Target. Just by looking online, I found a regular manual food mill (not just for babies) at target for $20 and an electric one at Babies R Us for the same price.
Once you have a mill, you’ll need some steps for making baby food:
1. Cook firm vegetables or fruit until tender. Obviously, most fruits (bananas, peaches, etc) will not need to be cooked before you use them.
2. Process the food with a food mill or blender. If you use a blender for a small baby, make sure to press the food through a sieve to make sure there are no chunks. Later on, when the baby can gum some small pieces of food, you do not need a sieve, just stir the food to look for chunks that are too large.
3. Add breast milk, formula, water, or juice until desired consistency.
4. Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze until firm. Take cubes out and store in a freezer bag in the freezer until ready to use
5. Defrost in the microwave.
As your baby gets older, you can make other things for him or her to eat besides fruits and vegetables. Soups or casseroles are great baby foods. These too can be blended or milled and frozen for later. To get other ideas, look at the jars of baby food sold in stores.