Apart from diapering your baby, feeding your little one can be the most expensive aspect of having a new bundle of joy. Even if you’re breastfeeding, taking the next step into foods can add up. There are a lot of things to consider when feeding your baby as well. Your choices inevitably can make or break your budget, so it is important to consider your options before you make a decision. Luckily, there are ways around the high price of baby food, no matter which way you choose to feed your family. So, if you have a little one to feed, you might want to check out these ten ideas to save you a bundle on food.
One of the easiest ways to save money on food of any kind is to use coupons. You may wonder how you can save a lot of money on coupons for baby supplies though. Many companies will readily send you coupons if you ask for them. Sometimes, this means actually emailing the company, whereas other times it means signing up for a rewards program. Many of these coupons can also be used as reward points too, which will entitle you to freebies. Many stores will even set out their own coupons for foods, which can help you save money on top of your other savings. This is certain to help cut back on your budget and ensure your child has plenty of food.
2. Don’t Over-Do It
Many people often spend too much on baby food, because they are actually over-feeding their child. This can be incredibly common, so if it’s happening to you then don’t stress as it is an easy fix. Guidelines for your child’s dietary needs can easily be found online. You can also talk to your pediatrician about what your child needs. Most children, particularly those under 6 months can survive on formula or breast milk alone. So, if you’re feeding this age group a lot of baby food then you already need to cut back. Other babies shouldn’t be going through several containers of food in a sitting, especially if they are under a year as formula or breast milk should still be a big part of their diet. You should also save any excess food you don’t use. This will help stretch the food further, so you won’t have to shop for food as often.
3. Use Your Blender
A lot of people will tell you that you need to invest in a special baby blender for all of your child’s homemade food. However, this certainly isn’t the case. If you already have a decent blender or food processor in the home then you are all ready to go. All you have to do is make sure the machine is cleaned well before you blend your child’s food. This is especially important in the early days when you are introducing your little one to new foods. Of course, you can even make things easier on yourself by just using a fork to mash up some of the items. Simply cook foods like squash, sweet potatoes, bananas and more then squish them up and you’re ready to go.
4. Freeze It
When it comes to making your own baby food, your best ally is actually your freezer. All you have to do is blend up your food and then deposit it into a container or even an ice tray for storage. This will allow you to shop more efficiently, so you can have a lot more flexibility with your child’s meals. This will also prevent your produce from going bad. Freezing foods allows you to food prep for an entire month in advance, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by the extra work. Not to mention, it will allow you to give your child more variety every day of the week as you won’t have to worry about finishing off a container of food that you’ve already opened. Using an ice tray to freeze makes portion sizes a lot easier to handle too. All you have to do is thaw out a cube of what you need and you’re ready for your child’s meal time. You can even offer them more than one food, without worrying about overdoing it.
5. Ditch Pre-Made Foods
Many parents tend to opt for the pre-made baby foods to make life a bit easier. This can really add up when it comes to the cost of your child’s food though, especially as your little one relies less on breast milk and formula and more on food. These premade foods tend to also have other ingredients in them, so your child won’t purely get the item you want them to eat. This could lead to problems with some children. Worse of all, some baby foods even showed high levels of lead when tested, which could make your child gravely ill. Not to mention, this adds to the amount of items that you’re throwing away, which doesn’t help the environment.
6. Look Up Recipes
Making your own baby food might seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Luckily, with the internet, there are lots of great places to look if you’re curious about how to maximize your child’s nutrition. Many parents love to start blogs when there little one begins to eat, so they can share their amazing baby food recipes with the world. These can help maximize nutrients while teaching your child to eat vegetables at an early age. Your pediatrician and dietician are also valuable sources when it comes to whipping up baby food. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or recipes, if you’re really not sure where to begin.
7. Start Simple
Some parents want their children to dive into the world of food straight away. This can be a huge problem for your child’s present and future though. You should always start children off with stage one foods. These foods are less likely to cause an allergic reaction and are easy on your child’s developing digestive system. You should also only start your child on one food at a time. Each food should be given five to seven days before a new food is introduced. This will allow you to find out if your child is allergic to the item or not. This should help you gain a basis as to how your child can eat in the future. Foods that are high allergy should be introduced much later, this includes foods like strawberries and nuts. Ice cream, crackers and even juice should be delayed until much later too. This is especially true for items that contain cows’ milk as children should not be introduced to this until they are one year of age.
8. Buy in Bulk
When it comes to shopping, the best way to do is to shop in bulk whenever you can. This can really come in handy with formula as it is so expensive as it is. However, you can also benefit from buying produce in bulk too. Many warehouse stores will offer larger bundles of these items for less, so you can make baby food for cheaper than you’d expect. You might want to try your farmer’s market as well as many tend to offer foods for less. If you are using premade baby food then you can grab this in bulk too to save.
9. Go Generic
If you’re buying your child’s food in store then one of the best things you can do is try to keep it to generic brands. This is especially the case when it comes to formula. Not all formula is made equal though, so make sure you check on the ingredients before you make a purchase. You will also want to look at reviews to ensure other people have had success with the brand. Every child is different, so your baby may take to one generic brand and not another. Supplements and jarred baby foods are also great to purchase in generic brands. Just like with the formula, you may want to check out the ingredients before you choose to buy it. All in all, this could cut your budget in half.
10. Share Your Food
One of the biggest ways to relieve your budget is to actually share your food with your child. Of course, you won’t be able to do this until your baby is a little older, but once they have adjusted to different foods then you should be able to feed them items that you cook for yourself. This will cut down on food substantially, especially since you won’t have to make anything different for your child. This will also give your little one a wider range of foods to taste, which will help them develop an interest in more foods faster.
Feeding your child doesn’t have to put a huge dent in your budget. These ten tricks can really help you cut back on spending so you can enjoy putting the money towards other things. Before you know it, you won’t even have to worry about budgeting for extra food as your little one will be begging to try the items you make for yourself.