I personally decided to make my own baby food. What I enjoyed about this is that I knew exactly what was going in it. I also felt like it allowed Gabriella to really taste the food at its freshest. (I've tasted commercial baby food and it's sometimes not that scrumptious to me.) I also loved that I was actually making her food. I just found pleasure in that process. It was fun to explore different vegetables and fruits to try. I felt that I was able to offer a lot of variety in that way. I also think that my homemade baby food offered a lot more variety in textures than that smooth commercial baby food. Lastly, I see this as an opportunity to also prepare your infant to eat with the family by eating what the family is eating. Oh yeah, and it's actually cheaper to make your own.
While my personal preference was to make and offer homemade baby food, it does not mean that commercial baby foods are not safe or nutritious. I think there are advantages to each. Commercial baby foods can offer some convenience over homemade foods, especially when feeding an infant away from home. If you check out the ingredient list for many commercial baby foods, you will find them to be quite simple...the vegetable or fruit and then water. However, combination foods, which combine grains or vegetables with meat, etc. may contain additional ingredients such as sugar or sodium, which infants don't need in large quantities and can produced learned preferences for these tastes. Again, my personal opinion is that it is best to modify foods that the family is already eating so that the infant learns to eat what the family eats anyway.
As far as whether or not to go organic, you may want to check out my blog post about organically produced foods. If you have the funds to do so, I suggest going with at least "The Dirty Dozen". These are the top 12 vegetables/fruits that are most likely to be contaminated with detectable levels of pesticide residue. I say this because the little ones are at greatest risk from the potentially harmful effects of pesticides since they are smaller in size and their organs are still developing. If money is no object, you may want to consider going organic with other items such as bread, cereals, or pastas. If budget is a concern, then I suggest these tips to reduce exposure:
- Locally grown produce (fewer pesticides or other residues used)
- Peel or wash produce with tap water and scrub with a brush, if appropriate
- Offer a variety of foods