Feeding Babies and Toddlers: No Tiny Jars Required

Little mouths often create big expenses for parents who’ve been led to believe that baby food is a necessary part of life. Even worse, companies cleverly market toddler cheese puffs and sugary yogurt as healthy – all while marking up the price – to make parents think that such “toddler-friendly” snacks are required for their children to be healthy. Not so. Feeding babies and toddlers should cost only a fraction of feeding adults, assuming that no formula is involved. (For my post on breastfeeding, click here.) This post focuses on solid foods.

Making Baby Food

For my first 2 children, I spent about $10 a month making my own baby food. I’d never considered it until I received a little food mill as a baby shower gift. Soon, I realized how easy and quick it was with some help from this website.

I started giving my kids purees at 6 months, skipping over rice cereal since neither of them liked it. (I can’t blame them. It tastes like wet paper.) Truthfully, they weren’t fans of purees for a long time either and switched to finger foods by 8 months. I ended up with some leftover purees that I sneaked into our regular food. (Don’t tell my husband!)

Finger Foods

At 8 months, I started giving my kids whatever they could chew with 4-6 teeth, and they loved it. They enjoyed eating fruit, bread, cheese, eggs, or whatever the rest of the family was eating. I never saw my grocery bill go up significantly enough to give me a heart attack.

Snacks

As I mentioned before, there are many toddler snacks available that are ridiculously overpriced. I avoid all of them and stick to really simple, cheap snacks. To this day, our staples include saltines, pretzels, and fruit. If you are truly hungry, these simple snacks taste good. I’ve never found myself gorging on saltines like I could with Goldfish or fruit snacks. Sticking to the boring, cheap snacks helps me stay healthier, too!

Baby-Led Weaning

With my last 3 children, I skipped baby food and did baby-led weaning. It made my life even easier than before.

Feeding babies and toddlers only costs a little, and it doesn’t take much time if they eat the same things as the adults. Though children can be expensive in many ways, their food definitely doesn’t have to be.

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