My daughters are five months old and although they are showing no signs of being ready to start weaning, I feel that I need to prepare myself for when the time comes. One of the things that I am passionate about is cooking. So, I thought to myself, why not make my own baby food?
It’s a great way to get the whole family to eat together and also means that nothing goes to waste as anything left over can be frozen.
The biggest obstacle that I, along with many other families, face is finances. Being on maternity leave, my monthly income has taken a bit of a nose dive! However, I’ve found that making my own baby food needn’t be expensive. It’s actually cheaper than buying those little glass jars that you see in every supermarket, plus it is so easy to do and it tastes even better on a budget!
With this in mind, I paid a visit to my local supermarket. I found that one small jar of branded baby food was around 80p. Taking a wander down the fruit and veg aisle, I picked up a broccoli (335g), a bag of parsnips (750g), a bag of apples and a bag of bananas, all for £4.39.
When I arrived home I washed the broccoli, steamed it for around 10 minutes, puréed it, then added three tablespoons of my babies’ milk. Out of one 335g broccoli, I was able to make 10 small baby meals for the freezer. That’s 10 meals from a £1.19 Broccoli!
I did the same thing with all the other items that I bought and in total I was able to make just under 50 frozen baby meals, all for under £5.
But it’s not only the cost of baby food that can be a challenge. In fact, knowing when to wean your baby isn’t easy.
There is a lot of information around and everyone seems to have their own opinion – from parents and friends to the internet and health professionals. The Department of Health recommends that you start weaning your baby from six months and not before 17 weeks; however, with a premature baby does this still apply?
One of my neighbours had a little girl, *Rose, who is 12 and a half weeks old. Like my twin daughters, she was born six weeks early. This means that Rose has an adjusted age of six and a half weeks. The big difference between Rose and my daughters, is that Rose feeds 6-8 ounces, every 3-4 hours. My daughters on the other hand feed around 3-4 ounces in the same amount of time. Due to the amount of milk that Rose is consuming, her parents have been advised to start weaning her at 12 and a half weeks old.
On the other side of the coin, I recently asked my twitter followers (@twinmumanddad) when they first started weaning their babies. One woman, whose baby was born eight weeks early, didn’t start the weaning process until six and a half months old. As you can see, the difference in the advice families received varies hugely.
Knowing when to wean and what to feed your baby isn’t easy, but I’ve saved myself money by making my own baby food using minimum effort. I also know exactly what my babies are eating and with the leftover money, it means I can put it towards my babies’ future or maybe buy myself a new pair of shoes!
* Names have been changed
Twinmummyanddaddy is a 25 year old mum of twin girls, who were born six weeks premature. Her family are her world.