Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Math Facts: Baby Food Edition

If you recall from a previous post, I am all about calculating savings.  Many of the parenting choices I've made are aligned with a more natural parenting style (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, making baby food).  While I truly do believe those things are beneficial to infants, the truth is, I do it because I can't afford not to.  Triplets are not cheap, so I'll do anything I can to save a buck.

When it came time to introduce solids, I decided to experiment with making my own baby food.  I had to do a lot of research to determine how to cook and store the food, which foods should be introduced at what ages, etc.  I couldn't find any information on how much pureed food typical bags of produce would yield.  Here's what I ended up buying at the grocery store and creating:

Total Oz of Baby Food
# of 4 oz Jars Produced
1 lb bag of carrots
20 oz
5 jars
2 bags of sweet potatoes
$3.38 ($1.69 x 2)
48 oz
12 jars
1 bag of small apples
28 oz
7 jars
1 bunch of 8 bananas
32 oz
8 jars
1 lb bag of frozen peas
18 oz
4.5 jars
146 oz
36.5 jars

I compared prices for Gerber, Beech Nut, and Earth’s Best.  The cheapest price I found for a 4 oz jar of Stage 1 baby food was $0.89 per jar. I calculated my savings based on that price:

$0.89 x 36.5 jars = $32.49

$32.49 (store bought) - $11.59 (homemade) = $20.90 savings

Therefore, making my own baby food costs one-third of the price as store-bought baby food.

Since we only introduced solids three weeks ago, the babies are still eating a small amount.  However, they have already progressed from nibbling a few teaspoons of food to devouring small bowls of food.  They currently split a banana in the morning, a few ounces of rice or oatmeal cereal in the afternoon, and either sweet potatoes or apples in the evening. 

According to other triplet moms, the norm is to go through 12 jars per day.  If that’s the case, I spent my afternoon making enough food for three days.  Clearly, I’ll need to be making much larger batches!  I’m certainly not opposed to buying jars of food if I find a great deal.  I looked back through the blog and read that we bought dozens of 4 oz jars of Stage 2 baby food at Big Lots for $0.30 each. 
In another month or two, we'll be able to introduce table food.  I'll be more likely to toss our own meals into the food processor for a few quick pulses so the babies will eat the same thing we eat. Hopefully, that will eliminate additional expenses and will motivate Jesse and I to make healthy meals.

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