Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saving With Baby

I was gifted a whole pumpkin last week that was going to go to waste on someones kitchen counter and they decided they just didn't have time for it. So I brought it home, toasted the seeds, roasted it up in my oven and pureed it to freeze for future baking projects.

All the pureeing and freezing brought back memories of the baby days. My littlest is 5 so I'm kind of sadly out of the baby stage but I remember being fairly newly married, very pregnant, getting ready to give up my job, and really broke.


I have no idea how we survived those early years, they are all just a blur; married one year...baby the next year...another baby the following year....trying to learn how to be a wife and mom...learn how to cook....more babies. But we did survive and I learned some ways to be frugal in the process.

Baby food is expensive....at least the good kind is. I decided to make my own by steaming and then pureeing fruits and vegetables. We didn't do fancy flavor mixes which I think made my kids much more open to food options now that they are older. They knew the taste of steamed broccoli so it's just not an issue years later. Then I would freeze the puree in ice cube trays for single servings to later be mixed with rice and oat baby cereals. This method helped me control costs and make sure that the kids were getting pure and healthy foods.

I also breastfed. It's the cheapest and most nutritious option we have for our infants. We never had the expense of bottles. In fact I fed each of the kids strictly breast milk and baby or table food until they were 10 months old and able to drink from a cup. Then we skipped the bottle altogether. Saved us a ton of money on bottles and liners and nipples and all that stuff. Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics website for their recommendations about going straight from breast to cup after the age of 9 months.


And of course, as we do now, we got lots of our baby clothes from resale stores. But it's amazing how many people want to dress up your baby. We also got lots of clothes as presents.

So if you are pregnant, or planning on being pregnant, know that there are ways to save AND produce healthier meals for your baby.


Now I'm off to make pumpkin muffins.

24 comments:

The Lewis Family said...

I make my own baby food, also. I've found it to be significantly cheaper. I breastfeed and we all know the good in that! I've found you can make almost everything Gerber does at a fraction of the cost and a million times better for baby. The website http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com is a great resource for those interested. Also, the book "Super Baby Food" is like a bible for me...I take it on all my roadtrips, just in case. I didn't do the ice cube method, though...I just spent $40 or so on 4oz containers. My almost 8-month-old can't stand to eat more than 4oz of the same thing right now anyway (a new phase...at least I hope!) so these work for me. I set aside an hour or two a month and make all her food for a month. I bought a $30 food processor, so my cost is $70, plus food. Sweet potatoes are .69/lb at Walmart right now. If I buy 1 lb, that's 16 oz. Subtract 2oz for peels, and you still have 14 oz, which is almost 4 4oz jars. 1 jar=1/2 serving for Audree right now, or 1 serving for a normal kid. So, .69/4=.17. Seventeen cents for a jar of sweet potatoes! Avocados are also a big thing. They're .99/lb at Walmart. Each avocado makes 2 jars, and 3 avocados equal 1 lb (usually). That's .16 a jar. The possibilities are endless. Bananas? Well, each banana equals 2 jars. Each bunch has about five bananas and is a pound and a quarter. That's 10 jars, and if they're .86/lb like they are here, that's .12/jar. I'm recalculating my math as I go along so I hope it's right.

I know this is long, but I'm trying to get my friends and bloggy friends as well, to do this for their little ones. It's certainly worth it and it's not that hard!

Janelle said...

I always made my own baby food, as well. It's so much better for them!! My youngest is 6, so it's been a loooooong time for me, too, but I remember having the teeny tiny food processor on the counter just to make dinner for my little ones.

As for the pumpkin, I have about 25 cups of pumpkin puree in my freezer that I made this year. My kids can tell the difference when I use canned pumpkin - they really prefer the fresh stuff, and it's so darn easy, too!

Have fun with the muffins!

Angel Reuther said...

I also pureed my pumpkins a few weeks ago and thought the same thing. Brought back memories of my baby days almost 5 years ago. :) Thanks for the great banana muffin recipe the other day. Tried them this morning and they were great!

Nicol said...

I did the same thing with my dd, now 21 months. I breast-fed and made my own baby food. I even ground up the rice and such for her cereals. I saved tons of money and I knew that I was doing something good for her. It also helped that these were things that I LOVED doing for her.

onemotherslove said...

OK, so now I need to know how to cook these pumpkins I still have from October & November's fall decorations! Are they all good to eat???

momstheword said...

We love pumpkin seeds. Yum!

I remember quitting my job after our oldest was born. I was making more money than my husband but we wanted me home so I quit. Life was tight but we made it and I have never regretted it!

Phoebe said...

I love fresh pumpkin and pumpkin seeds! This was the first year I have ever dealt with them, and I will never turn back. I'm growing my own this year though..I don't care for their price @ the grocery store.

In response to a PP...I would think that all pumpkins, other than the small deco ones..would be just fine to eat. I would just make sure that you get as much of the stringy goodness out that you can.

Halfmoon Girl said...

I will never regret breastfeeding my babies- my chest isn't big enough to sag much, or maybe I would a bit. The stretch marks I got AT 5 MONTHS because I have such sensitive skin, now that is another story. TMI, sorry- back to your post topic- I did the same as you- breastfed all my kids till at least 19 months of age- never had expense or inconvenience of bottles, and went straight to sippy cups. That being said, I had friends who went nuts trying to be breastfeeders, and the expense of formula and bottles was worth it to them...

Halfmoon Girl said...

btw, love your new look!

Anonymous said...

Gayle, this is something I REALLY struggle with: how baby had blown the budget. LOL! We have a 16 month old and another one due in July. Costs in our budget are enormous right now due to diapers and a very picky eating toddler. (We waste so much food that I cook and he refuses to eat. Uggs.) Breastfeeding wasn't an option for me due to some health issues I struggle with and with his dietary issues, we had to buy Nutramigen. $250 a month in formula alone!

So now with another coming, I'm starting to stress a little. I'm a working mom, so some of your suggestions I'd really LOVE to do, but I just don't have the hours in the day to do it. Am I just making excuses? Any other FT working moms out there that read this blog struggling with the same type of time constraints?

Terri and Bob said...

My "baby" is 23 and I did all of the things you did! It wasn't "in vogue" and I got some shocked looks going from the breast to the cup, but Ashley was the healthiest of all the grandkids and is the skinniest by far. So I am thinking it was a good thing!

trucksr4gurls said...

have you ever tasted commercial baby food? blech no wonder so many kids won't eat veggies.

making your own is a good way to gradually introduce them to seasoning too so that when you transition to table food it isn't as different as what they have been eating.

Kari said...

I have 2 little ones and one on the way and am totally on board with making my own baby food. I also breastfed my babies until at least 15 months old and plan to with this one too.
Does anyone have any wonderful ideas or tips for saving money on disposable diapers? I can't bring myself to do washable diapers, but it certainly blows the budget buying disposables!

Karen said...

It's funny when we look back and wonder how we ever got by! I had twins at age 39 and they're now almost 10. When I look back at those days, everything is still a blur LOL. Love your blog, added it to my favorites! Karen

Jordon said...

I'm in the baby food making stage right now! :) I still haven't got it down quite yet. I have to buy some ice cube trays!

Leslie said...

In response to diapers. We buy ours from SAM's as well as wipes. Best price I have found yet. Honestly I can't remember how many in a box (I stocked up with a gift card) but the price is $30 and is much better than any name brand diapers and wipes. I believe the huge box of wipes is $12. Also I do get some good coupons every once in a while so I check ads each week and if I see a good deal on the name brands then I will buy those as well. Just shove em' under a bed somewhere!!

Gayle said...

For diapers we always used store brand and were completely pleased with their ability to not leak. Store brand wipes are much less quilted than name brand but they got the job done.

Kari said...

I just found your blog earlier in the week and was wondering how you kept costs down with an infant. I was able to breastfeed only for a few months so we now spend $150 (or more) a month on formula, but I do make my own baby food and save so much. In fact, I just spent all of $3.38 on enough lentils, millet, and split peas to last for weeks as part of my little one's morning "Super Porridge" cereal (from the Super Baby Food Book) -- $1.99 for a pound of lentils; 62 cents on a half pound of split peas, and 77 cents for half a pound of millet. I plan to grind them up and rotate them around and give him oatmeal and rice cereal one day, millet and lentil the next, etc. Love your money-saving ideas. Happy New Year!

Betsy said...

We're huge fans of homemade baby food--it's so easy! I froze muffin-sized portions in a silicone muffin "tin" and those popped out nice and easy. Then I had bigger portions when the babies were older (and I had twins the second round). I can't recommend Fuzzi Bunz enough to those frustrated with disposable diapers--we love them and would do it all over again. They're easy enough to use that I cloth diaper my twins!!! (and my oldest was only 18 months old when the twins were born--they were all in the Fuzzi Bunz for a while).

Becky D. said...

Disposable Diapers-We mostly use store brands our preference is Kroger and Aldi brands. These two stores diapers are identical except Kroger carries more sizes. Since our littlest one is 2(long sleeper/heavy wetter) for overnight and for long car trips we use Pampers Cruisers. Slightly more expensive but much cheaper than washing a load of PJ's and sheets every day or a wet carseat. Not buying those little toddler meals is one of my goals this month. I never bought a lot but even two or three a week would be $20 a month. She loves grilled cheese and scrambled eggs add some fruit or veggies and that's a quick lunch too.
For the picky toddler give him just a few bites of what you're eating or something very simple like a piece of bread or a bit of fruit. Unless they are very underweight try not to worry and just offer something several times a day. They will eventually eat and you will probably find some things they adore. At that age I sometimes didn't worry about variety much if they liked the same thing for lunch and it was simple and cheap I let them have it. My now 21 yr old I swear spent months as a toddler eating only rye toast (rye bread had to have seeds this is how I discovered bread thrift stores) She is actually my most diverse eater loves veggies etc. She still not a big red meat eater but that is probably better health wise

Anonymous said...

My sister and I were just having this same conversation the other day-- re:babies and money. We came up with breastfeeding, making own food and cloth diapers as our huge savings. I spent a total of $25 to cloth diaper my baby-- TOTAL-- for 2 years up until potty training (and if I had a third kid-- I could have reused all those diapers). I did this because diapers were so expensive for my first and I was completely grossed out by all the garbage. That was the other benefit of cloth-- we dropped down a garbage can size saving another $120/ year. Anyhow, I would encourage the moms looking to save money to check out cloth diapers-- there are many good websites. I honestly found it not much work (an extra two loads of laundry a week), good for my environmental conscience and a HUGE money saver.

learningtobefrugal said...

Thank you for sharing. My husband and I hope to start a family in the next year, which would involve me leaving my job, and I plan to do many of the things you did (breastfeed, make baby food, etc.).

Allie
Learningtobefrugal.com

Anonymous said...

My Oster blender is 42 years old, and DD will be 43 in the Spring. I breast fed, and weaned her to a cup at 12 months--did brother the same way 2 years later.

I made all my own baby food and it was so expensive back then at 8¢ each. My food and household budget was $10 per week. I did use Pampers--this was mid 60s.

Check out Williams Sonoma baby food gadget because they sell a silicone holder that you can use to freeze multi servings of baby food. It has a lid that covers all the spaces. The WS cooker, blender, gadget is $150 and some might consider it. It does have a recipe book with it, but the public library probably has some too.

My children grew up eating what I cooked and I did not consult them either. They could eat or not, and they soon learned at an early age to eat what DH and myself ate. There were no special meals or foods just for them. DD loves green peas, and DS loves broccoli.

mamasandy said...

I make my own food and breastfeed as well. it's SO much cheaper. and the clothes thing...my daughter has a better closet than i do haha! i've bought her clothes yes but only on sale. like when summer ended i bought her some clothes for next summer. i got a bunch of shorts for less than $2 each and some shirts for less than $1. it was great but you are right about other people dressing babies...with christmas just passing she got 5 loads worth of clothes it's crazy! i found you through a friend's site and i think what you are doing is wonderful!