There is an article on Slate.com today all about how homemade baby food is better for babies than commercially prepared baby food. The author, a mom herself, has done exhaustive research and shares a lot of really great information about what goes into commercial baby food and how it’s made. It talks about all the concerns people have about nitrites and arsenic in baby foods and the appropriate levels of various nutrients. It’s a helpful article and you should probably read it if you’re interested in such things.
However, I could barely bring myself to finish reading it because all I could think is “Really? We’re doing this? The Mommy Wars have branched out from breast versus bottle to jar versus Cuisinart? Is this the next thing? A intricate breakdown of how the veggies get from farm to baby? I don’t think I have the energy for this.”
Look, there are upsides and downsides to everything you do as a parent and we all make our choices. Then we all second guess our choices. Then we make peace with our choices. Then magazines and websites write articles designed to get us second guess all over again and we end up living in a constant state of anxiety and develop inferiority complexes because our babies will only eat that one particular flavor of baby food that we bought that one time and rejects every bite of the nutritionally superior fresh organic veggies that we lovingly made with our own hands.
Let it go, folks. Let it go. Feed your kids. It’ll all be ok.
I’ve had two kids who survived the puree stage. My first would only eat the jarred food. The second was happy to eat fruit and veggie purees I made myself. Then they started eating finger food and the jars and food processor were out of a job. See, that’s the thing about baby food: it’s a transient diet phase. It only lasts for a few months before kids, if they’re anything like mine, would rather pick up their own Cheerios and small pieces of chicken and cheese and feed themselves. Your choice of baby food type is ultimately not major. It will not have massive impact on the rest of your child’s life.
The big thing about baby food is to get babies used to eating something other than milk or formula and to acclimate their systems to other foods. You introduce items one at a time so you can monitor the baby for reactions to certain kinds of food. Where the food comes from and how it’s prepared is secondary. Sure, read labels on prepared food and make whatever homemade foods you feel comfortable making. Talk to your pediatrician about what constitutes a good balance. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Save your strength for when the kid is three and only eats cantaloupe for a month.
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